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.
I have been watching and walking through the grow of ETA4 over the past 3 years. That marked an enormous effort of all ETA4 team members. And more enormously, our effort greatly benefited the future of all local children/students. As a humble helper while ETA4 in VN , I would like to call all individuals/ organizations support us - under any means to bring a brighter future of the children, especially the underprivileged one where ET4 comes to.
It's not easy to find a non-profit ozg being professionally operated by the young girls and guys who are just under and over 20. ETA4 work dedicatedly on donator's behalf to transfer their kindness to the right children at the right place.
And I myself also grew a lot thanks to ETA4's presence in Vietnam.
Feel free to contact me at email@example.com to hear more about the great grow in terms of the academic aspect as well as memorable time with ETA4.
I first heard about ETA4 in 2008 when the founders were still in the process of getting their non-profit status approved. They shared that they wanted to implement a more innovative way of teaching English to kids who pretty much had enough of English during the school year. How were they going to successfully teach it over the summer while making an impact? When they had gone to Vietnam, they had seen the textbooks and the homework but no passion within the students. To tackle this obstacle and show that there was much more to learning, English Through Academics, Athletics, and the Arts was created. While ETA4 may seem like an organization similar to any other teaching program, it defines itself through awareness of the universal affinity for arts and athletics and incorporates those interests into its everyday curriculum.
Back then, the website was nothing but a simple blue and white with segments of text here and there ... mostly "Under Construction". Today, just a little over 2 years, eta4.org has evolved into a website colored with photos from trip after trip, media, sponsorships, and detailed proposals of its mission and day to day contributions. The website is a tremendous example and personification of the growth ETA4 has witnessed during these last few years. Over 30 volunteers have taught abroad and thousands of dollars raised by the effort of the community have brought smiles and an English education to over 1500 children across 4 cities in 2 countries. This summer, ETA4 still continues to uphold its new but standing tradition of spreading goodwill to thousands more in the rural areas of East Asia.
I was recruited to join ETA4's program in 2008, when the organization had not even kicked off with any events yet. However, what I did see, were two young individuals about my age, excited to contribute to a progressive change for underprivileged students around the world. Immediately, I felt connected to the founders, Victor Wilson and Christopher Ta, in wanting to make a difference in the world. I was inspired by the idea of creating a fun environment for students to learn English, as it is an important skill to have in developing countries like Vietnam. Throughout 2008, we continued to fundraise through car washes and asking for donations by those who supported our cause. By the Summer of 2008, we were able to have our inaugural program in Hue, Vietnam--- which resulted in over 300 students who attended our program. With 9 volunteers in Vietnam, we were able to repaint playgrounds for children at orphanages, replant gardens for local orphanages, as well as supplying boat village children with school supplies to encourage them to attend school the following Fall. We came back from the program in 2009, more enthusiastic than ever to make ETA4 "blow up"! Coming back with a success story, we were able to recruit additional members onto our Executive Board and Staff, and from there-- have gained so much experience in fundraising, recruiting the right volunteers, as well as effectively expanding our program to three different cities by the Summer of 2010. Now, at our third year in progress, I personally feel our organization has grown tremendously in terms of running our non-profit. We have learned a great deal on how to mobilize our volunteers so that they feel ownership in our organization. Our staff, which started with 3-4 individuals, have grown into a staff of over 10 individuals who are all passionate and dedicated to the cause of ETA4.
3 years ago, Chris Ta and I started this Organization with an idea. Since then, it has grown to over 60 volunteers, 3 countries, and over 2000 students - all thanks to the hard work of an all-volunteer board and staff. Since 2008, ETA4 has succeeded more than I ever thought it could, and we are close to making the dream of a fully connected world a reality.