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A letter from a volunteer

Below is a letter written by a student from Loyola Marymount University about her experience volunteering with Journeys Within Our Community.

“Joining Journey’s Within Our Community for two weeks was one of the best experiences I have had in a long time.  From the moment our plane landed in Cambodia, I immediately knew I was in for a different
experience.  For two weeks, we visited several of the JWOC projects and got to know the scholarship students overseeing the various projects: Clean Water, Language Schools and Micro-Finance program.  I
was so impressed with the scope of programs that address such crucial areas in Cambodia.  One of my favorite volunteer placements was teaching at Wat Thmei.  Working alongside the teachers, we got to read stories, practice grammar and pronunciation.  The best part of classes was just getting to know the kids, sharing our stories and hearing about theirs also.  Before we knew it, we were alternating words in
Khmer and English.  I really looked forward to going to Wat Thmei in the afternoon.  One of the students won the hearts of all the volunteers.  She brought us personalized bracelets with our names on them.  She said it was a gift for us.  Witnessing the grace and dedication of the students was the best gift I could have received. For me, it represented that JWOC time and resources were invested in the right place:  the people of Cambodia, the youth that can pass on the information and work ethic for future generations.   My experience volunteering through JWOC has undoubtedly changed me and I plan to
keep in touch with the organization.  I’m excited to see how it will continue to develop. “

Laurette's Volunteer Experience at Wat Chork

This past February, Dr. Laurette Poulos Simmons volunteered to lead a week long ESL Workshop for the Journeys Within Our Community Language School Teachers. All 12 language school teachers attended, learning how to create dynamic powerpoint presentations and engage their students in many activities. “I was so interested in her teaching technique and how she explained the lessons to us. All the lessons were simple and easy to understand for the second language learners”, said Chorm Ley, one of Wat Thmei’s English teachers.

One of JWOC’s newest language school teachers, Sann Tola also said, “She had given us the experience that is very important for our job as English Teachers and that also we had lacked before. I am most interested in her methods of how to get the students’ attention in the lesson.”

With the generous sponsorship from Laurette, Chamm Sela, a teacher at Wat Chork, will be attending the annual Cambodia TESOL Conference in Phnom Penh in 2009. Laurette is excited for Sela to attend.

posted by Melissa 4/21/2008