Team 215 Arrived in Kunming!

Team 215 has arrived in China! Here is the team journal entry for Sunday, the team’s day of orientation and preparing to serve the students and teachers of Kunming:

Message of the day:

To be a volunteer, it takes…
Generosity, a willingness to give your time to others
Understanding, because their lives might be very different from your own
Empathy, an ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and feel what they must feel
Compassion, to truly care about making someone else’s life better
Patience, because the process doesn’t always go as smoothly as it might
Dedication, to stick with the project and see it through

You’ve shown these qualities and so much more, so thank you for all that you do.


Agenda for the day – OrientationChina Day
1. Introductions
2. Global Volunteers in China
3. Global Volunteers – Philosophy
4. 12 Essential Services
5. Team Building Exercise
6. Global Volunteers – Policies & Guidelines
7. Health & Safety
8. Work Project

1. Team Leader BaoLi led the introductions followed by participants Linda Neal, Errett Schmid and Jack Schmid.

2. BaoLi described the history of Global Volunteers in China starting in 1996 with conversational English. Volunteers came to Kunming in 2005 working with students, teachers and even villages. A recent thrust starting in Xi’an in 2007 was directed to children with special education needs.

3. BaoLi enumerated the essential points in the Global Voluteers philosophy including:
• Serve only where invited
• Listen and work with local leaders
• Do whatever one is asked to do and only what one is asked to do
• Locals are always in charge
• Involve locals as a priority with collaboration for an ongoing relationship
In effect volunteers learn to share their skills, learn how and why to volunteer and build a lasting friendship with the host city and country.

4. The 12 essential services are built around the triangle of Health, Hunger and IQ.

5. Team Building Exercise. Each member of the team identified three things each wanted to get out of the time together. Those were summarized for the team.
Team goals:
• To improve the English skills of the students (& teachers)
• To learn about China and its people
• To be a positive example of Americans to people of Kunming and the students

Further, the group identified a number of characteristics of an effective team to include:
Characteristics of an Effective Team:
• Timeliness
• Collaboration/Sharing
• Flexibility
• To be supportive of the teachers
• Respect/Collegiality
• Positive Attitude
• To listen and learn

6. BaoLi summarized the policies and guidelines for team members.

7. Health and safety thoughts were discussed and Linda Neal was appointed chief Health & Safety person.

8. The balance of the day was spent identifying the assignments for the forthcoming two weeks. It was suggested that following each day a critique be held summarizing “what worked” and “what didn’t work.” Also insights garnered from both class and non-class time be noted for future Global Volunteers workers.

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