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Juvianne, 19 years old Iraqi Chaldean from New Haven, USA

The reason I chose this program in Italy was, because I always dreamed about coming to Italy and to learn about its history and culture.  I fell in love with Naples. It made me love life more. It made me feel to never take life for granted.

 

I think it's very important to have volunteers in Naples, because at the after school program where I was placed, the kids really need someone they can truly look up to. The teachers there are amazing! And, they do such an amazing job teaching them and caring for them, but I also feel like the volunteers make a big impact because the kids see how much we truly care and want to help. Also, they trust us, and I feel like we help them to be better kids in everyday life.

 

The story I'm about to tell you really changed my life and how I view things now. Before arriving in Naples, I really wanted to bring a gift with me from America for the kids at the after school program. I played soccer (football) my whole life and I already knew football in Italy is their religion, so I said to myself: what's a better gift then a football! I finally arrived at the after school program, and I was just so excited to give them the gift! The teacher in the classroom told me to surprise all of the 28 kids when they come into the classroom! I waited... I came in with the football and told them I got a football for them from America! They all screamed and ran to me hugging me so tight! It was the best moment ever. Then, these 3 boys came up to me while crying and said, "We never thought we would ever get a real football in our life". My heart melted..

 

My eyes got so teary I had to leave the classroom so that the kids wouldn't see me cry. The teacher came running to me to see what was wrong. She told me this gift is the most amazing thing I could ever have given them because a lot of their soccer balls in Naples are bouncy balls. I had no idea! And, to see the kids get SO happy over a ball, made me realize how truly blessed I am, how we are so ungrateful sometimes, and how we complain over the smallest things in life. And, these kids are just so grateful for a ball. It really touched my heart. Coming to volunteer here I was hoping to change a kid's life, but honestly all of the kids there changed my life. I'm so blessed I got to volunteer here, and meet all the amazing people in Naples. I truly fell in love.

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