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One of our Community Impact Project volunteers- Blessing from Pérez Zeledón, San José, Costa Rica- shares about her experience building community on a virtual platform and the speaking English regularly with native speakers! Learn about the Community Impact Project here.

 


Community Impact Project Volunteer Blessing
I decided to join the AMIGOS Community Impact project because I was in mid-term vacations from high school, and due to the pandemic, I was having too much free time, so I wanted to spend it doing something meaningful. 

One day, a former teacher from my English course sent us some information about the Community Impact Project. I checked it out, and it seemed like everything I wanted to do!

 

The course was the perfect length and mostly English-speaking, and I wanted to practice my English skills. I would meet people from different countries, and I wanted to meet new people and learn about their cultures. I also really liked the idea of developing a project, because I wanted to benefit one of my communities! And the CIP was all virtual, perfect due to the situation we´re living these days.

The organization running this project was AMIGOS, an organization that I didn’t known very well, but as I learned more, I had some great expectations.  

My favorite moment from the Community Impact Project was the very last day when we did an activity called “Warm and Fuzzies.” We had a group of categories and we had to pick someone and type a nice message for them for each category.
The categories were things like:
  • Someone who we had learned from,
  • Someone who´d made us laugh,
  • Someone we admired,
  • Someone who was smiley,
  • Someone who was positive,
  • Someone we were going to miss,
  • Someone who speak up first, and more!
The funny thing was that we couldn’t look at ours until our mentors sent it to us, which was like 2 hours later (the longest two hours ever), but when I looked at mine and saw all the kind and lovely messages my peers had typed for me, I felt so nostalgic and I almost cried. At that moment I realized that I had made new friends I was going to miss that I had shared the last 6 weeks with.
I feel like whenever I´m down I just have to look at that list, and I remember that there are people who think I´m a great person and remember all the great things about the CIP and I´d feel better. Knowing that you’re going to do the CIP virtually might give you low expectations at first.

But AMIGOS is a community where you can feel the sentiment of belonging to something whether virtual or face-to-face. Everyone warmly welcomes you and you really feel a part of something important quicker than you think. 

English isn’t my first language, and this was my first time talking in English with native speakers for that long! I got to see the real world and laughing when saying the wrong words or wrong pronunciation made it very funny. Although I wasn’t the only one who made mistakes, because my peers didn’t know how to speak in Spanish very well. We all giggled with respect at other’s misspellings.
I did some tongue twisters for practice, and sometimes when I spoke I sounded different than what I had imagined in my head. But I learned lots of new words! It was nice when my peers helped me with some words I didn’t know how to pronounce or with some meanings.

In the Community Impact Project, I learned that everyone is willing to learn and teach. 

 

  
For my service project, I focused on improving and beautifying ACCESS, a local organization where my friend Valery and I had done an English course. When we were there, we noticed that the place had some damage and things that could be improved and fixed. When we started doing the CIP, we acknowledged it as an opportunity to make the changes happen. Now we are just making the last adjustments to start implementing the project!
After learning and experiencing those six weeks, I want to tell my closest friends about AMIGOS and what the CIP is about! I´d like to tell them all the things I learned, how nice everyone was, and that you can find a new community to belong to. The CIP is a growth process for many areas, so I´d definitely recommend my friends to join this amazing community.  

 


Thank you Blessing for sharing your experience! Learn more about our Community Impact Project here.

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