Michael and I are about to return to Thailand. We will once again spend our time teaching English to the students at the Redemptorist Vocational School for People with Disabilities. We have found volunteering for the Father Ray Foundation to be one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives.
Our days are busy but not difficult. The students we work with, and, in fact, all of those we come in contact with at the organization, are friendly and appreciative. While our primary responsibilities at the Foundation are to teach English, we find that enjoyable conversations and forms of play are the most effective ways to make everyone comfortable using English. As it is for all volunteers who show loving friendliness and compassion, we find our students respect and love us in return.
While we each only work directly with a small number of vocational students, we find that all the students know who we are. Friendly, lasting relationships form quickly and we continue to stay in contact with past students—some of which have gone on to work or study in universities in Thailand and abroad! Through such avenues as email, Facebook and Skype, former students continue to share their ups and downs, work on English, and just pass the time of day.
Working at the Father Ray Foundation has given us a way to grow while we help others. While knowing some English opens up more opportunities for those the Foundation serves, we benefit also: our world of friends (students, local staff, and volunteers) is so much larger and international than before. We look at the differences and see how, in fact, working together and caring for each other is the same no matter who we are, where we are from, or what we look like. We, the people of this world, are one family and that is really all that matters. This is why we are returning for our third year.
Ronda and Michael – United States of America
Volunteers – 2013