As we shared before, Global Volunteers has recently been invited by the Municipality of Miraflores to partner with them in various human development projects. We asked the Miller family about their experience to learn about this new volunteer opportunity for families.
What led you to join in this new volunteer opportunity for families?
Irene: I wanted to do a family volunteer trip. I started to research and narrowed it down to several organizations. But I found I could relate to Global Volunteers’ focus on the children. I thought we could relate to that as a family; that’s why I chose Global Volunteers.
Hannah: I think that this is the best way to volunteer and travel. When you volunteer while you travel you get to know the community, actually. When you volunteer you really see the community and learn the culture.
“I wanted to take a vacation that was meaningful. I wanted to learn about another culture. I found I could relate to Global Volunteers’ focus on the children.” Irene.
What projects have you been working on?
Irene: We’ve been working on a variety of projects according to our skills. My husband has a painting company, so he is working on maintenance projects, painting and repair projects in the community center.
I’ve been working with the elementary school children teaching them conversational English through games, books and other activities. My youngest daughter, Grace, is 11, and she’s been working alongside me in the classroom.
Hannah: I was working in the classrooms in the mornings. We have small groups of 5 or 6 kids, and we do basic games, like bingo or word games, where we teach the children basic English. One day I also worked in the library, organizing books by genre.
Irene: The work changes based on the needs of the community, for instance if a teacher is absent we go and help.
How do you think this is helping the community?
Irene: We bring a different culture to them; they have the chance to learn another culture. They are learning another language. Right now, we are working at the community center, we are helping repair and fix the community center. This sends a message of worldwide peace. It’s important for them viewing us coming here.
Hannah: It’s important that they see that people care about them and want to help.
Irene: The children don’t have much. But they have a lot of love to give. We’ve experience that. We are leaving and the one girl is crying.
“There is this one boy, Adrian. He has down syndrome. I only saw him the first day for about an hour and a half. He said he was cold, so I gave him my jacket. And then on the last day he just comes running up to me and says: ‘Bye! Adios! Adios!'” Hannah.
Irene: The community organized a welfare party. There were about 300 kids. And they said bye, we love you. It was very moving. I think we showed we cared about them, that they mean something to us. I think that as much as they got something out of this, we got something out of it as well. Besides, it’s a good bonding experience for our family. We also got to make new friends. And our team leader, Maru, was excellent.
“As much as they got something out of this, we got something out of it as well. Besides, it’s a good bonding experience for our family.” Irene.
Check out the whole interview: