I’ve had the privilege to see guests of honor at our Community Outreach events light up with smiles and tell stories of hope over the years. It changes you to see transformation take place. But I was also changed by the powerful testimonies I heard recently in Fresno, Calif. What’s interesting is — many of these powerful stories came from our dedicated volunteers.
In 2013, we began implementing compassion experiences in select cities for our incredible volunteers the night before the Community Outreach. I had the honor of planning and directing this experience for our outreach volunteers and what an incredible experience it has been!
I believe in our volunteers. I believe in them because they spur us and move us forward. Convoy of Hope could not do what it does without people who selflessly serve our guests of honor all across the country. As I thought about honoring them in return, I wondered what their own stories might be.
This idea led to the creation of a story booth where volunteers could pull away in a quiet place and share about a time in their life they felt helpless and what was the hope that kept them going.
We heard so many compassionate stories from volunteers who’d experienced highs and lows in life and wanted to give back and help others in need. The 1,900 volunteers that served in Fresno told incredible stories of transformation that fuels them to serve our guests of honor with compassion and love.
Sonya grew up in the neighborhood where the outreach took place and wanted to give back to a community that helped her family when times were tough.
“I’m a product of this neighborhood,” says Sonya. “I’m thankful I’m here today and that I’m participating in something that was given to me that I can give back.”
Volunteers at all of our Community Outreach events share stories similar to Sonya’s and it’s often that our volunteers receive just as much love and hope that our guests of honor do. To all our volunteers out there, thank you for service to help the less fortunate!
Along with Fresno, we also recently held our final Community Outreaches of 2013 in Las Cruces, N.M., and El Paso, Texas. Here are some numbers from those events:
Guests of Honor: 6,450
Guests of Honor: 6,397
Guests of Honor: 5,094