Below is a piece shared by Arleen Rosenthal, Guidance and College Counselor and a great Friend who has helped the Southeast Friends of the Orphans office in Miami, Florida connect with many high school students who are passionate about making a difference.
Several years ago, I read about Friends of the Orphans in a feature article in my local neighbor’s section of the Miami Herald. I was struck by the organization’s mission, particularly in sending orphans who have grown up in one of the homes to college, thus opening a world of opportunity for them. This resonated with me because I have spent the majority of my professional life working with high school students as a Guidance and College Counselor. What I have noticed throughout the years is that volunteer work is perhaps one of the most significant ways that a student can begin to feel empowered and see themselves in the adult world, use their talents to enrich the lives of others and find a venue to explore their own interests and passions. And so, I began referring some of my students to our local Friends office to see how they could help this worthy cause, and in turn, grow from the experience. I must say that the devotion, creativity and enthusiasm of Sherman Humphreys, the Regional Manager of Child Sponsorship has been contagious and that each student I have referred has benefited from their volunteer efforts. Like ripples in a pond, the impact of their projects on behalf of Friends of the Orphans has involved others in our community from the home schools of the students to their own circles of family and friends. For example, the very first student I sent to Mr. Humphreys ended up involving the Language Department Chair of her high school in a letter translation project. Several orphans were sponsored by students at her school and her parents became donors as well. There are all kinds of ways to help Friends of the Orphans and volunteering provides a wonderful experience for personal growth and self-fulfillment for the volunteers while contributing to a very admirale cause.