Our international partners accomplish amazing things with volunteers. Read their stories.
Volunteer assistance is critical to enabling our international partners to create change in their communities. Many of them have shared the work they were able to accomplish with the help of international volunteers. Read their stories below.
Thank you Mrs. Fornoff print story
July 24, 2012
Changes for New Hope, Peru
There are many heroes in the world. Some folks like Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. are famous. Others like that Chinese guy standing in front of the tanks in Tianeman Square, not so much. Then there are some heroes that do what they do, everyday, without as much as a thank you. It isn´t the thank yous that motivated them but simply that it was a work that needed to be done.
Enter Mrs. Fornoff. She was my first grade teacher. Creeping up on retirement about the time I showed up in her class, she had been teaching children entering school for the first time for over 40 years. We didn´t know anything much more than our own names at the time. Mrs. Fornoff was going to fix that. She patiently showed us how to color inside the lines. How to play nicely and share our things with each other. We learned colors and shapes and self control. While it seemed like a total waste of time for a professional to be there with us just ¨babysitting the kiddies¨, what she was doing was developing our young confused minds into thinking machines that will one day be used to manage companies, develop vaccines to heal the sick, argue in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and lead communities, and one particular boy created an NGO in Huaraz Peru that is changing the lives of children. But to an insensitive and uncompassionate observer she was just ¨babysitting and playing with kiddies¨. A pity that anyone would be so self absorbed.
Mrs. Fornoff was a hero on so many levels but was an elementary school teacher whose success couldn´t be measured for another 30 years or more. I think back on how silly she looked hiding all of us under our desks with her during something called the Cuban Missle Crisis. Strange words that our uninformed young minds couldn´t comprehend at the time. It was hard to appreciate her then. I remember her fondly now, while teaching my own children at Changes for New Hope. I use her loose structure and easy going attitude everyday and make inroads into young minds which I hope to see developed into fine young adults in another 20 years or more.
Heroes don´t do it for the thanks yous. Many times we aren´t understood or appreciated. It doesn´t matter. It is the work that needs to be done. Silent foresight. Those who understand it will come along and share our joy. They become the new heroes that these children will be writing about 40 years from now, thanking them for what they and become as a result of the love, patience and compassion.
I don´t expect everyone to understand what we do here. Not everyone is adult enough, compasionate enough or caring enough to see it as anything more than glorified playtime. But when you are one of those children in the mountainside of Peru, and this is the highlight of your week, and perhaps this is all the attention, love and caring that you will get, it is a golden moment. I am so proud to be here to do this work with my dedicated volunteers.
Thank you Mrs. Fornoff, from all of us whose lives you have touched in such an incredible way. We hope we have made you proud. P.S. It was Eddie Simon who stole your chalk that day, not me.