Community Service: Mariia Makarenko

Convoy of Hope
Boys and Girls’ Club
Ronald McDonald House

Volunteering is one of the most important parts of my life in the USA. While volunteering, I have an amazing opportunity to communicate with different people, share my culture, see American life from different perspectives, and most importantly, compare everything I see with the Ukrainian culture. I hope it will help me to overcome challenges in my community when I am back home.

Currently, I volunteer in three organizations: Convoy of Hope, the Ronald McDonald House, and the Boys and Girls’ Club. All these organizations have very different specifics, but the main aim is to help people. Convoy of Hope is an organization which helps people throughout the world by providing food, water, shoes, and other things. Volunteering at the Convoy of Hope gives me mixed feelings of sadness and happiness at the same time. There are a lot of people who suffer from hunger, poverty, and disaster, but I can help them through this organization. My work is packing, making boxes, counting, and writing addresses on the boxes. Also, volunteering gave me an opportunity to make new friends. I understand that this little help can bring enormous happiness for those who receive them.

The next organization is Boys and Girls’ Club which provides me with a great chance to work with children. I teach them Ukrainian words, show them photos of Ukraine, tell them about the Ukrainian education system and show them different games, dances, and songs which kids have never heard of before. Truly, I can come back to childhood and forget about daily adult life while volunteering in this center. For sure, there are different children there, and sometimes they are very naughty and cry. But I try to be strong and overcome these problems easily. Moreover, it gives me a great practice how to be a wise mother in the future.

Ronald McDonald House is the home for people whose children are in the hospital. I clean this house and communicate with families. Also, my friend Loren and I help to do some office and secretarial work, such as sending emails about upcoming events. I like sending emails the most because it helps me to develop my professional skills. Also, I like cleaning because sometimes my roommate and I have some funny stories while doing this, which we will remember for our whole life – the famous proverb says, “Teamwork makes people closer.”

To sum up, my biggest aim now is to do as much volunteer work as possible, to help as more people as possible, to show my strengths as better as possible.  I am sure that it makes my soul cleaner, body stronger, and mind smarter.

Written by Mariia Makarenko, 2018-2019 Global UGRAD student from Ukraine at Missouri State University