Volunteering, in any capacity, has beneficial effects on one’s physical and emotional wellbeing. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of Research and Policy Development, “volunteering leads to better health” and…”[t]hose who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who don’t volunteer”.

HasNa volunteer, Pat Talmon, giving a tour of the National Air and Space Museum to Program Managers from Turkey.

HasNa relies on its dedicated group of volunteers to make every program a success.  Our volunteers make a positive change in people’s lives and communities and they have fun and improve their own lives while they’re doing it! They work with us on every program to make the experience unique and meaningful for our training participants.  They guide our trainees through Washington, DC and surrounding areas for training sessions and cultural outings.  They also translate training documents and sessions for the participants and even volunteer to host dinner parties for the trainees. Our training participants from Turkey and our Cyprus Friendship Program (CFP) members value getting to know the people they meet and experiencing the warmth of the spirit of volunteerism in the U.S.

Volunteer CFP Host Dad, Joe Drozd, with CFP teens at airport upon arrival in U.S.

We had an incredible group of volunteers for this year’s CFP. In addition to our host families, the CFP volunteers planned the farewell dinner, pool parties, museum tours, and assisted during the Bikes for the World community service activity. Their motivation and belief in the program helped to move CFP forward. At the CFP farewell dinner each pair of teens and their host families spoke about their experience with the program.  The teens’ respect and gratitude for everyone that helped during the program was evident during their heartwarming and inspiring presentations. Each host family expressed how they were forever moved by the teens and the experience of CFP, as one host parents said, “I want you to know that every one of you has touched every one of us…Thank you for coming over and opening your hearts and your souls to us.”

Volunteer CFP Host Mom, Christina DiMicelli, with CFP teens touring parts of the East Coast.

The experience of meeting volunteers in the U.S. is always a meaningful one for HasNa trainees and volunteers.  It is really no surprise that volunteering has positive effects on one’s health.  Our CFP volunteers finished the program feeling the love and excitement of the teens and thankful that they had participated in the program. We hope that if you are interested in adding to their experience and contributing to peace in our world, you will contact HasNa to get involved!  We’d be happy to have you!

To volunteer with HasNa: https://hasna.org/Volunteer.htm

by Ciara Masterson