My name is Meira Levi and I have been a full time volunteer at the Save a Child’s Heart house for 2 weeks now. My last day is quickly approaching and I am dreading the last moments when I will have to say goodbye to the people I’ve come to know here. When I arrived two weeks ago, I made my way to the arts and crafts table, trying hard to make this first interaction as least awkward as possible. I introduced myself, knowing quite well that the children could not and frankly, would not care enough to remember my name. That “new volunteer on the block” feeling quickly dissipated, as I began to realize that the kids weren’t focusing on me. The goal of the SACH house, as I began to understand, was to provide a comfortable, care-free environment for the children. This was their home and I was just fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of it.
As a full time, live-in volunteer I stayed long after the tour groups, part time volunteers and office staff. I was able to interact with the kids and their mothers on a more intimate level. Not as a counselor or authority-type figure, but as a friend. Me and the 19 year old member of the house, Mati, would play endless rounds of chess, to which I remain the undefeated champion(!) And that’s just the thing! I can beat Mati in chess every time and not feel like I should let him win a match. Because I don’t look at Mati as a kid who I have to “go easy on.” He’s not my camper and I’m not his superior. We see each other as friends, as equals. We’re sarcastic with each other, we joke around, we chill like old pals. And it’s exactly that aspect that makes volunteering at the SACH house so special.
I feel as though I’ve really developed a relationship with each and every child here. Because of the small number of kids here at the moment, I got to know each of the kids and their mothers on a very personal level. Each has a unique story and I feel so lucky to have heard them firsthand. A new group came in at the end of my last week and it actually felt kind of strange. Not because I didn’t want the new children here, but because over the past week and a half, I have come to regard the group in the house as one big family! We’ve forged a bond that is difficult to sever. The kids opened up to me as I did to them and I can now describe every kid here in detail- nicknames, personality traits, quirks and all!
Like all good things though, my time at SACH must come to an end. It’s hardest to say goodbye to people when you’re pretty sure you won’t be seeing them again. But I know that I will not forget them and I can only hope that they will not forget me. If more people in the world had the opportunity to experience the work that goes on here, I can promise you that this world would start looking a heck of a lot brighter! People told me I’d enjoy my time here, I just never could have believed I would enjoy it this much. Volunteering for Save a Child’s Heart was an experience unlike any other and I feel privileged to have been a part of this incredible project.
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