Bella Holckner

Walking through the front gate of the Save a Child’s Heart home meant embarking on a new journey. Regardless of cultural background or religious affiliation, everyone is treated and greeted equally with open arms. I didn’t even make it to the front door before I was flooded with children, all smiling, all welcoming. It doesn’t matter who you are or the reason you are visiting the house, the children will always run out with smiles that light up the world.

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Bella with a fellow live-in volunteer and Rose, Kenya.

Volunteering at SACH was the best decision I ever made, I have learnt so much from these children. Being in the house has taught me that no matter where you come from if you embrace the challenge with a smile anything is possible. While I was in the house we had children from Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania/Zanzibar, Nigeria and Romania and every child played together. It’s easy to forget the reason all the children are in the house, always smiling, greeting others, playing with one another and embracing every moment.

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Bella with (clockwise) Mati, Ethiopia; Denis, Kenya; Kennedy, Kenya; Sean (on her lap), Kenya; Faith, Kenya; Rose, Kenya

Reality struck me when I had my first visit to the hospital, seeing children from all over the world gather together in one place for a sole purpose. I was amazed at how positive and willing these children are whether in the house or at the hospital, it is truly a blessing. During my time here at SACH I visited the hospital a couple of times both completely different experiences. My first visit was accompanying children post-surgery with their mothers for Eco checkups, the smiles on each child’s face walking out of that room knowing they can officially go home was something I’d never seen before, the joy that it brought to both the mother and child.

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Bella and Bikombo, Zanzibar waiting for Echo

Most of the children that come to SACH are always leaving something behind: a mother, a father, a sister or brother and that’s the hardest thing to grasp. These children from the age of 5 years old can be accompanied by a nurse to Israel for months at a time without a family member, yet, they live every day to the fullest. Seeing these children play all day like there isn’t another worry on their mind astounds me.

The relationships that I have formed over the past 4 weeks with everyone in this family are truly special and will never be forgotten. The hardest part for me now is realizing that my time is almost up and wow time flies, it feels like yesterday when I was just beginning. The experience and journey speak for itself, words can’t describe the feeling that being here has given me. After spending so much time dancing, playing games, sitting in the sun, going to the park, eating meals together, doing activities and just being in the presence of one another – the goodbyes are going to be most difficult.

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Bella with Barira, Khalid and Tigest, all from Ethiopia

Knowing the joy and positivity that I have helped contribute to these children’s lives is a bigger footprint to leave than anything else. These children have impacted my life so much and taught me that anybody can make a difference and that is what I will continue to do.

To learn more about being a full-time volunteer, check out our website.

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