Volunteering Changed the Way I Live

This story was written by Guatemalan volunteer Gaby Chour, in reflection of her volunteer service with Safe Passage.

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My decision to become a Safe Passage volunteer was, for many reasons, easy to make. Safe Passage serves a population with scarce resources that lives around the Guatemala City garbage dump. They provide valuable programs for children and their families including education, health services, food, nutrition, and social support.  Most importantly, Safe Passage strives to change the reality in Guatemala by empowering their students with hope, education, and opportunity for growth. Lessons learned at Safe Passage provide students with the tools they need to achieve their dreams, and a chance at a better life. 

Truly, my time spent at Safe Passage was special, unforgettable, and altogether awesome. The students that I worked with taught me many valuable lessons, lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life and that I would like to share with you.

Smile. I remember that the students were always smiling, no matter their life situation.

Appreciation. Appreciate more the things that you have, for you don’t know when you may lose them. Each day I spent at Safe Passage I was truly happy with the time I had with the students.

Always bring love.  If you feel loved, you can love.

Value humility. Be content with what you have. The students taught me that you can be happy without material things and, even if you don´t have a ball to play with, you can find many ways to have fun.

Give thanks. I learned to be more thankful for my life and my family. I now have a better understanding of the importance of appreciating each moment I have with my family.

Childhood is incredible. Safe Passage students laugh frequently, have insatiable curiosity, and do not mind what others may say about them. My experience reminded me of my own childhood and how special it is to be young, inquisitive, and courageous.

Gaby Chour, Safe Passage volunteer, with her studentsMy volunteer experience changed my life. I have grown and matured personally and have watched these unique children grow and mature before my eyes. This experience has also helped me realize something else about myself: social service is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It is one of the simplest ways that I can contribute to my country, by making a difference in the life of a child and their family.

I’ll always be thankful to Safe Passage for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something so incredible, something that not everyone can have. I am most thankful, however, to the students. I now know each of them very well and they will always be in my heart.

-Gaby Chour, Guatemalan National Volunteer with Camino Seguro