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ETA4
April 28, 2011

Before volunteering with ETA4, I never fully understood the magnitude of joy rewarded in helping others. Now, however, I can't imagine something more amazing than just that. I traveled to Taiwan, a country of a different language and culture, last summer with ETA4. In the time I spent there I fell in love with a hundred children, a whole country, a entirely new culture, and most importantly, the act of teaching others. ETA4 embraces teaching English as a means to not only help others to achieving their own goals but as a means to understanding another culture and making new relationships. The work ETA4 does then is so much more than English lessons. ETA4 opens students and volunteers to an entirely new way of viewing the world, themselves, and their own capabilities.

One of my students Annie, a shy student hesitant to speak English in class, helped me realize this about ETA4. During a class break, looking over class journals, Annie began asking me questions about where I live, what I like to do, and what "America" was like. The next day, in her journal Annie wrote about our conversation. It was reading her entry that made me understand why I had come to Taiwan. She explained how she never talked in class because her English was "bad" but that talking to me made her really happy, that she wanted to try to speak in English more, and that, perhaps, she could even come to America sometime to visit me and speak more English. It seems so simple and maybe not even anything special to the average person reading this, but to me this is the essence which makes me come to tears when I think of 'my kids' in Taiwan. To volunteer with ETA4 is to make relationships like these. Ones that encourage students who believe they have so little realize they can dream and be anything they set their minds to. They can speak English, they realize. They can travel to another country, they realize. They can, they realize, do so much more than they ever imagined.

A similar realization dawned on me too during this moment. I began to realize that I can, along with every other individual, offer so much to others. That I can truly make a impact on the lives of others. I think sometimes that many people feel they don't have the means, the aptitude, or the special skills to truly make a difference in the world. But thats so untrue. I believe ETA4, which emphasizes passion to help others more than anything, embraces this. As an organization it provides an overall greater understanding for both its volunteers and students about their extraordinary capabilities.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My everyday life. I now have a greater appreciation for my surroundings and own personal abilities. Each time I think of my students in Taiwan, I am not only brought to tears by memories of them but I am motivated to do my best because I know that's what they are doing themselves. I have become more aware of the precious opportunities I have been given in my life and I appreciate them more fully than ever. Most importantly, I believe in helping others as the most precious gift to oneself and the others.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

ETA4 is still a very young organization and as a result, has some structural issues to still be smoothed over. Improvements can be made by improving communications with volunteers, delegating tasks among members, and solidifying certain details of the various projects. Overall, these improvements will help ETA4 grow as an organization as it already has the passion and soul necessary for success.

More feedback

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

How did you learn about this organization?

A friend from my college-dorm who was attending an ETA4 program.

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

Improve the overall organization of the projects, member development, and delegation of tasks.

What is its top priority in the long run?

Help students in other countries learn English, reach a higher level of cultural understanding, and form relationships that will last forever.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
Board Member & I taught with English to students with ETA4 in Taiwan.