#4 “Cultural Immersion”

Be The Change – Episode #4

Continuing with an inside look at local culture, three of our storytellers return to reflect on life from a new perspective. Each volunteer sites how Global Volunteers programs immerse them in daily life, exposing the true nature of a community.

Lynn returns in this episode to describe the generosity of people in Crete who, although they owned little themselves, gave generosity to help Syrian refugees at a time when it was very unpopular to do so. “They said, we’re going to help these people, because they’re human, and it’s the right thing to do.” She enjoyed an equally engaging spirit of unity in Cuba, living with local people – and basking in their hospitality and genuine appreciation for the team’s contributions.

Evan continues her story about volunteering in Romania.  She notes the lasting impression that volunteers make in their host community:  “It’s very much a relationship business,” she says. The impact is obvious to local people, she continues:  “It breaks down the barriers.  They realize these people keep coming back…it sends a huge message of love, quite honestly.”

Jeff tells about how a community reciprocates on International Women’s Day, as local people spontaneously poured out appreciation and fondness for the women volunteers on his team. “Once again, it was a sign that our Global Volunteers are so welcome in their community.  They were made to feel so special.”

Episode storytellers: Lynn, Evan, and Jeff


#3 “Stand-Out Moments”

Be The Change – Episode #3

In our third episode, each of our storytellers recalls one moment in service that they carry with them still today. These are singular perspectives gained in Cuba, Crete, Romania and Tanzania that turned their heads and made them think about how important one individual can be on a volunteer team.

Our first storyteller is Jeff, who talks about service as a channel for understanding and friendship, and says one seemingly ordinary moment pulled it all together for him in a most extraordinary way.

Lynn tells a touching story about helping a young, withdrawn student blossom by taking a personal interest in his musical skill.  The personal connection that resulted typifies the mutual benefit of genuine service.

Caring for abandoned and disabled babies and toddlers has become Evan’s calling. But, in a pediatric hospital ward in Romania, Evan said a breakthrough moment between an autistic child and a talented volunteer left her breathless.

Lisa returns with a follow-up to her story in episode one.  In this episode, she recalls a moment that taught her how true communication occurs when we shed our own conventions and find a common language.

Episode storytellers: Jeff, Lynn, Evan, and Lisa

#2 “Flip The Switch”

Be The Change – Episode #2

Our second episode looks closely at the way a single moment – or a stream of moments can “flip the switch” in our minds  – leading to life-altering awareness.  “Why are people in America and Europe discovering a lot of things, and we’re discovering nothing?” he asks.  “One volunteer brings a lot of change,” he asserts.

This episode begins with Kate, who describes the emerging consciousness that occurred on each of her service programs – beginning with a new perspective on a transition period in her own life, to “trying out things bite-sized” to help define what’s waiting for her ahead.

The second story is from Ken, who looks back over the first week of each of his service programs to see the ways his teammates “are really different people” than they were at the beginning of the program.

Stephanie, our third guest is a self-described “go-getter” who learned that sometimes the best way to help is to go with the flow.  A great change in her personal “style” leads to surprising realizations!

Don’t miss our final story… Tim, a veteran volunteer, talks about a deeply personal experience he shares with a little girl of two years.  It may be the most unforgettable volunteer experience he’s had on 14 service programs!

Episode storytellers: Kate, Ken, Stephanie, and Tim

#1 “Deeper Dive”

Be The Change – Episode #1

What happens when you take a risk and dive deeper into experiences, testing your boundaries or challenging your assumptions? We inaugurate this podcast series with the vision of our long-term host partner in Tanzania, Bishop Dr. Owdenberg Mdegella, and his open invitation to to help him serve his people in ways that might seem like a leap of faith.  “Why are people in America and Europe discovering a lot of things, and we’re discovering nothing?” he asks suppositionally. What is missing in the equation that we can change together? “One volunteer brings a lot of change,” he asserts.  It is his life’s work, and our partnership with him for over three decades, that inspire us to share these stories of service.

This episode begins with Lisa, who with her daughter Maya, pursues an ambition to “replace talking with doing” to help children who struggle, and returns home with a changed perspective of her role in Maya’s developing world view.

In our second story, Bishop Mdegella counsels us to change how we think about our own abilities to make permanent, real change in the lives of children.

“Sometimes, you just have to jump,” says Kenneth, our third storyteller.  After admitting to himself that his fear often stands in the way of personal growth, he decides to embrace this new experience and discovers he can truly make a difference in an unfamiliar setting.  Now, he says, he “thinks about all that I could have missed” with gratitude.

Episode storytellers: Bishop Mdegella, Lisa, and Kenneth

Music in this episode:
Blue Dot Sessions & Podington Bear
From the Free Music Archive

Be The Change – Series Preview

Series Preview: All About Changes on Life’s Path

Once thing that unites people of all ages, beliefs and backgrounds the world over is change.  Change is constant. It’s been with us since the beginning of time. Change happens quickly, or takes its time. Sometimes, change occurs right in front of us – a “before and after” we recognize only upon reflection.  Be The Change podcast presents snapshots of the change experienced by Global Volunteers on journeys of the heart around the world. It’s a conversation about the expected and the unexpected; the active and the passive; the exhilarating and the daunting – what impacts people who come together for a purpose beyond themselves.  It’s reflection, reporting and resonance with the change that brings deeper meaning to our lives.