Written by: Leona (Student Leader – Alberta)
I remember when we sponsored our first child with World Vision. It was at a Christian event when they did a call to action at the end. I walked by the sponsorship table and a young Thai girl my age caught my eye. Her kind smile immediately told me “we can be friends”. And as a friend, I could not allow her to live without the basic human needs that I take so easily for granted. I knew I wanted to help her. Grateful for the next 12 years because my mother helped me provide the finances need to cover the sponsorship, but that was my first exposure to World Vision and the work they do to change lives all around the world.
Since I was young, my mother has planted a seed of justice in my heart. She would point out the right thing to do in situations. She made me return a stolen toy and apologize to the store owner even after we had returned home and I hadn’t been caught. She would teach me to stick up for people who were bullied at school—whether or not I had the courage to do it was another topic. I do not know when I became aware of this sense of justice in me, or even when I became fearless in stepping out and speaking out, but I can credit my mother and Father for watering that seed and never giving up on me.
After a 3 week trip to rural China, I became filled with this compassion for people and curiosity for the work of many non-profit organizations do to help people in developing countries. I was inspired by the sacrificial love of one person for the life and joy of someone else. Amazingly, just as I was organizing a 30 Hour Famine event with my youth group, the West Regional Coach at the time, Alexandra, contacted me telling me of this internship opportunity. I bubbled with excitement –what a great opportunity to work for one of the largest relief and development organization in the world! Even more amazing was that I was chosen to be a Provincial Leader for not one term, but two terms in a row! It was the perfect experience for me because I wanted to contribute to overseas development work but due to my commitment to University, I was stuck at home. Without leaving my schooling, family, and friends behind, I participated in changing lives of children, families, and entire communities. No other part time job I was looking at gave the same experience and circle of influence. I gain nothing but money punching in orders at a fast food restaurant or folding clothes at a retail store. While on the other hand, every hour doing work for World Vision was time and effort given to bring life and joy to people—and nothing was more worth my time.
Throughout this internship experience, I was given freedom to creatively impact my local community. It was an open work environment where you were free to share any ideas, confident that the people you work with share the same values and goals. Although we were all separated by provinces across Canada, we had a strong sense of team spirit because we were working together for children, for change, for life. The trust and kindness among co-workers are at a level I had never experienced before with previous jobs. Their encouragement was a boost every week. I built lasting friendships with the people I work with and with many awesome young justice advocates and famine leaders. I also received one on one care and mentorship from one of the most awesome, real, beautiful teacher in the world, my coach Alexandra. I am grateful to serve with a team full of passion and compassion, and to give with the resources that I have—however big or small. This internship was a big contributor to developing my skills and capabilities as a leader, and for watering the seed of justice in my heart.
At first, I thought it was all about how I can do this job well, but as the internship is coming to a close for me, I realized it has become more than a job. The things I did in this internship have already became part of my life and everything I do; my desire for social change grew so much. It opened my eyes to so many more injustices in the world, but I also witnessed all the compassionate people spending every second and energy in their day to work for change, inspiring me to do the same. I do not know where life will take me, but I will always carry a part of my World Vision experience wherever I go.
If you want to get involved and make a difference contact the youth team at World Vision: email@example.comRead other posts from The Voice.