Stories of Hope

Volunteer Story: Joyce

Sep 20, 2019

My 7 months at New Hope were some of the most memorable and rewarding of my entire life. I arrived in September 2017 jet-lagged and relatively unaware of what I was getting myself into. Although I was a total stranger to them, the kids were so excited to greet me with open arms.

During my time there, I was one of the preschool teachers for many of the children; my duties included teaching the kids during daily class times and coming up with crafts and activities for them. I also had the pleasure of helping put together scrapbooks for their future families; these books help give families an idea of what their child’s life was like at New Hope. Although I faced many challenges during my time there, including homesickness and loneliness, the bonds I developed with the children were worth every second.

Herakles, one of the older children here at that time taught me a lot of Chinese and he also taught me the joy of teaching another your language.  Every day in preschool class for a few minutes he would love to take over the teaching role and teach me Chinese.  Simon and Margot, especially, both taught me that you can always find joy and love in life no matter the hardships you have been through. Much like many of the other kids, they would always run up to you with open arms and love you instantly. There was a smaller boy, Jay, who was too young to attend preschool but would want to come every day; he was so eager to learn that he would try to come into the classroom each day between classes. Trace loved to play with everyone in the room and always knew how to take charge with the kids; she loved trying to be a helper to the nannies. If she saw another kid upset, she would go over and try to cheer them up. One of the most memorable children to me was Kevin who was always full of laughter and joy.  He loved to hide then peep out and say “boo” at you.

Leaving everyone behind was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do because I fell in love with each kid in such a unique and meaningful way.