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What its like being a first time Volunteer

Danielle is a 20 year old student from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Just last month Danielle returned home after a month long volunteer project with Cheap Impact, where she worked at the Korando Educational Center, a free school for over 200 students in Kisumu, Kenya.

We asked Danielle to share a little about her experience with Volunteer Alliance. And seeing as how I’ve never visited Kisumu or Cheap Impact, it really has to come from Danielle.

Over to Danielle.

My name is Danielle. I’m 20 years old and I’m currently studying English, Civic Engagement and Program Development at the University of Massachusetts Amherst - with the goal of one day travelling and working internationally with youth, education, recreation and sustainability.

My decision to volunteer abroad actually is the result of an abandoned dream to live and intern in California over the summer. Last winter I began envisioning a plan to move across the country and intern in Northern California once school let out. After discussing the plan with my parents, they eventually convinced me out of going. However, I wanted an adventure. I worked an office job from 9-5 for most of May, and as my skin grew light and California took over my daydreams, I knew I had to do something.

My passion for helping others and working with people took full flame during an Alternative Spring Break trip in March, and I decided that if I wasn’t interning in California, I was going to volunteer abroad.

I began by looking for volunteer organizations that are well known in the United States. The cost of all of the programs was huge, so I began searching for cheap volunteer opportunities - that’s when I found Volunteer Alliance. The reason why I chose to use Volunteer Alliance was that I could filter my criteria and compare different organizations. As soon as I found CHEAP TRIP BIG IMPACT, I knew it was the program for me. I submitted my application on May 26th and received my acceptance shortly after. I could not believe they had accepted me!

My experience is difficult to put into words - the people I met were welcoming and kind; the landscape was breathtaking; the children are hardworking, intelligent and loving. Overall it was absolutely incredible and one of the greatest things I have ever done in my life - I cannot wait to go back and see the kids and my Kenyan family!

My trip to Kisumu put a lot of things into perspective for me and I feel incredibly grateful for the life I live - filled with opportunity and resources. It is also an amazing feeling to know that there are people all around the world with kind hearts, joyous laughs and special stories.

I know that a lot of Volunteers, like I was when I started looking, will worry about security. I felt safe volunteering through Volunteer Alliance, without question - everyone ensured my happiness, offered assistance and provided suggestions for volunteering abroad, which created a reassuring and caring environment.

I would 100% recommend Volunteer Alliance to anyone who wants to volunteer and I will definitely use them again!

I have never worked with a Volunteer Placement Organization so it is difficult to compare Volunteer Alliance to a Volunteer Placement Organizations. However, I think I will continue working with Community Based Organizations, like Volunteer Alliance, because of the personal connection and individualized communication it provides. Volunteer Alliance and CHEAP TRIP BIG IMPACT connected with me personally and ensured things were going smoothly for me throughout this entire process. I worked with a person who treated me as a human being, rather than an applicant. Both Cameron and Torsten responded to my messages personally and showed genuine interest in my volunteering. If it wasn’t for their hospitality and assurance, I do not think I would have volunteered abroad.

We have filmed an 8 part Video playlist with Danielle. Watch Danielle's full Volunteer testimonial Video playlist here.

Click here to contact Danielle and learn more about her experience.

Click here to contact Torsten at Cheap Impact and Request to Volunteer