Since 2007, Cora Thompson has served with Global Volunteers annually, first in Peru with her husband Verlon, and then individually in Romania and Ecuador. Drawn to service since her youth, Cora says she “strives to give to others physically, emotionally, and spiritually,” and has done so on14 Global Volunteers programs. Inspired by these experiences, Cora donates to Global Volunteers knowing that in the hands of our resourceful community partners, her contributions are multiplied several-fold. Read Cora’s recollections here:
by Global Volunteers Alumna Cora Thompson
Verlon and I started out volunteering initially with Habitat for Humanity, building houses all over the USA and Mexico. We tried other non-profit organizations where the focus was NOT on working with local people but almost staying removed from them, learning Spanish through classes and seeing the sites as a team or group. This approach didn’t appeal to us, but did appeal to younger team members. We kept searching — Verlon on trips to Haiti with medical and construction teams and together with Global Volunteers in 2007 and 2008 in Peru at two orphanages, PPA and Ciudad de Los Niños, where we were most pleased. I continued to serve with Global Volunteers three times each in Romania and Ecuador. But, it was in Peru where I finally found my niche with Global Volunteers, teaching conversational English at Universidad Nacional Agraria de La Molina (UNALM) in Lima. My next five visits were to that country – whose people I adore. Peru is color, vibrant color, in its trees and flowers, in its people, in the Pacific Ocean and the Andes Mountains. With Global Volunteers I have always felt safe, my personal needs are met, and my efforts are clearly appreciated by those people I meet and serve.
I look forward to serving at La Sagrada Familia in Ventanilla, Peru, a children’s community which survives solely on donations. I have experienced time there vicariously through other volunteers’ stories and videos featuring Sr. Miguel Rodríguez and his dreams for his children. Look at those children in the video! They are loved, fed, educated, prepared for adulthood, and have the structure so many are missing at home, all because of Miguel’s vision. If my donations help one child, the money is worth it. Global Volunteers has given me this opportunity again and again.
When COVID struck the world, and especially Peru with a lengthy lockdown, the children at La Sagrada made bread, the staff of life, which they handed out to people in their community at no cost. I would like to believe a donation I sent helped them purchase the flour for this generosity. When La Sagrada put together oxygen delivery systems for the people in the community where oxygen supplies have been totally depleted, I would like to think my donation helped them get the equipment needed. These children are learning a lesson many of us learn through volunteer service…to do for others as we would have others do for us.
Global Volunteers is my conduit for donations, and as such, a percentage helps them manage my contribution and make sure it’s appropriately spent. I am okay with that. I have personally seen the benefits Global Volunteers does in these countries. Some of my favorite people are the country team leaders, and I hope my donations encourage and enable them to continue their excellent work.
Verlon and I regularly support several local and national organizations including the local Senior Citizens organization and libraries; Convoy of Hope, which has international disaster relief and children’s feeding programs; and St Jude Children’s Hospital as well as our church and church missions. We have been given so much in our lifetimes and want to share this bounty, this blessing with others.
I became an RN in 1965 and a nurse practitioner (NP) in 1974. As an NP I specialized in acute care, emergency care, dermatology, women’s health, and, my favorite, pediatrics, until my retirement in 2009. I then continued weekly volunteering at a clinic for those without health insurance or limited health insurance until my knee replacement in 2015. Because of my experiences with Global Volunteers, I began volunteering to tutor primary grade students in reading and math as well as local Honduran restaurant employees in English. With COVID, the only outstanding accomplishment has been my auditing Master’s level theological studies online. A future plan I’m praying on is becoming certified in TEFL aka ESL to provide more local Hispanic people with an opportunity to learn English, again prompted by my totally remarkable experiences at the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina (Peru).
I always appeal to others to reflect on where you have served with Global Volunteers, and consider giving more. What might be simply the cost of a good dinner in some restaurant might help to feed children in a shelter, a daycare center, a school. I always tuck away funds for my return trip with Global Volunteers, and this past year there was no returning, so what better use of these funds than to help the countries and the people I love and admire. My contributions, no matter how small or large, reach those people via Global Volunteers.
I’d love to talk with you more about my service experiences in Ecuador and Peru. The Global Volunteers staff can put you in touch with me – deep in the remote Ozarks! Call or email anytime. I look forward to it!