Susan Chevalier is an incredibly kind and passionate woman from Texas. She is a successful business professional, and has traveled extensively throughout the world. Destinations she has visited include Thailand, Singapore, Haiti, Israel and countries throughout Europe and South America.
She is also active in local service, having taught elementary school children and mentored in a juvenile detention center.
In April she spent two weeks in the Elementary School Teaching project in Cape Town, South Africa. We are thrilled to introduce you here to this wonderful UBELONG Volunteer.
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
It’s been on my heart to participate in an overseas volunteer project for several years. In researching various organizations, I found some programs with long project time-frames considering my work schedule, and too expensive. One evening I decided to do another online search and came across UBELONG. After reviewing the website, programs and costs, I knew UBELONG was the right choice for me.
What was your impact on your project?
I had the wonderful opportunity to serve third graders assisting the class with reading and math lessons. I also substituted for the teacher while she was absent due to illness. At the end of my assignment I had the privilege to meet with the principal and staff to offer suggestions on how volunteers could better serve the children at the school. For example, a volunteer task force can work specifically with local community volunteer leaders to tutor one-on-one those students requiring special assistance to improve their reading and math skills. There is an emphasis on third and six graders due to testing requirements. I witnessed immediate improvements when working individually with a student.
Volunteers, along with student participation, can also be recruited to work on special projects designated by the school such as painting murals, building improvements, etc. And, I also suggested a quarterly or semi-annual newsletter be sent to past volunteers to keep us abreast of progress at the school. I believe this opens the door for future volunteer recruitment and long term support.
The principal and staff were receptive to the feedback.
What were your major challenges?
The only major challenge was not having or allowing enough time after my assignment to experience more of South Africa.
What is your favorite memory?
My favorite memory was on my last day when the children gave me hand made thank you cards. Several kids stood in front of the class to sing and dance for me as well. What a treat!