For almost every little decision an individual makes in their lifetime, there is always that one person who asks why you made that decision. Whether it’s explaining why I decided to attend university to major in English, or why my future career goal is to teach, I find the easiest question I had to answer this year was why I chose to apply to Youth Challenge International. The answer is because I want to do something more with my life and make a positive change in the lives of others, one step at a time, using the skills and lessons I have learned this far in my own life.
I was very excited when I received an email in early January congratulating me on being chosen as one of the volunteers for July in Guyana. The first thing I did was call my family to inform them of the good news, and then right away, I began brainstorming ideas for fundraising $3,000 for YCI’s programs. At first, I was very nervous about reaching the fundraising goal, but once I started a letter campaign to my friends and family explaining where I was going and what YCI is all about, I was fortunate to have a great response from people who donated to me in a heartbeat.
Along with the letter campaign, I decided to hold a benefit event to allow my friends to understand more about YCI and how they can help make a difference. The night consisted of donations at the door, plenty of socializing and several games that the guests could participate in to help raise money.
The most popular game of the night was the “Penalty Box.” The rules were that you could donate $1.00 to send someone to the “Penalty Box,” where they have to sit for five minutes or pay their way out with .50 cents. Thankfully, I have very open-minded friends who enjoyed every game, making the night a great success. I ended up raising close to $200.00 towards my fundraising goal.
Now that my departure to Guyana is only two months away and fundraising is almost complete, the reality of the whole experience is starting to sink in. As I get closer to the date, I keep asking myself what else can I do to ensure that I will be prepared when I arrive in Guyana? The Pre-Project Learning Program really opened my eyes on what to expect while I am in Guyana and what kinds of things I should be researching before I leave. As of now, I do not have exact expectations of what my placement in Guyana will be like, because I know no matter how I envision my experience, it will most certainly be different. I can say, however, that I am looking very forward to meeting the people I will be working with in Guyana, including my fellow volunteers.
I anticipate that my time in Guyana with YCI is going to be an amazing life experience and opportunity. I know that I will definitely arrive back home in August with new insights about myself and the evolving world around me. I know this will be an experience that I will never forget.
-Kaleigh Lundy, YCI Preparing Volunteer, Guyana 2010
Want to learn more about YCI’s preparing volunteers? Check out the volunteer preparation category. Want to get some great fundraising ideas? Learn what YCI’s volunteers are doing by checking out our fundraising category.