In August 2014 Matt and Anita Wells along with their four children Eliza, Madeleine, Nathaniel, and Lydia took part on a service program here in Malevizi, Greece. They, along with thirteen other volunteers ranging in age from ten years to 64 years, split up into small groups, chose their class assignments, and got to work helping the local children with conversational English.
Take a look at the wonderful letter below written by Madeleine reflecting on her service program experience and how it has changed her life!
August 25, 2014
This summer, I worked with my family to teach English in Greece. We did this through an organization called Global Volunteers, and they provided the opportunity for us to live and work in a community near Gazi, Crete. We worked with a group of other volunteers, and throughout our two weeks there, we all learned a lot. My sister and I worked with a college student from California and a psychologist from Michigan to teach eleven third-graders conversational English. We didn’t speak any Greek at the beginning, but by the end we had learned three phrases: “thank you, ” “you’re beautiful, ” and “I love you.” Those words are the sum of two weeks of teaching and two weeks of learning.
“Thank you.” I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. The Global Volunteers program helps all around the world, and I am grateful to them for the work they do in communities that need it. The Global Volunteers philosophy is about promoting peace and helping communities to become self-sufficient, and so their volunteers work with the local people rather than for them. We were able to be a small part of helping these children eventually pass their English exam, which is the only way they can get a university education in Greece. As they grow, they will be able to give back to their community.
“You’re beautiful.” Everywhere I looked, there was something new and different. The flowers in the yard under my balcony were a kind I’d never seen before, and the ocean nearby was a gorgeous shade of blue. The smiles on the kids’ faces when they finally mastered a new concept, or their intense concentration during a game of Bubblegum, or the way they called to each other in rapid Greek: beautiful. The experience of service was beautiful too, and the feeling of having learned was amazing.
“I love you.” I loved my two weeks of teaching. I loved the Global Volunteers group and I loved the kids I worked with. I loved even the small classroom and the long walk to school. I grew closer to my family and I grew more confident in myself. The experience that I was able to have through Global Volunteers was unique and invaluable, and I loved being able to learn more about Greek culture and about service. I think that this is a good cause and I ask for your support.
Madeleine Wells, age 15