Tag Archives: volunteer

WHY I GIVE: Meet Nelson

We’re so excited to share our new blog series with you, WHY I GIVE! In these blog entries, you will meet donors and volunteers who support our projects, and learn what inspired them! 

First up, meet Nelson, an avid runner who has been supporting Good Neighbors projects since 2013.

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Running for Team Good Neighbors at the 2014 LA Marathon

“It’s good to help out. And it’s even better when you help out without expecting anything in return.”

My name is Nelson, and I am from El Salvador. I’m an assistant manager at an oil change shop, where I have been for the past 9 years. I first heard about Good Neighbors through my cousin, who was working at a cafe in the same building as the organization. She saw a flyer advertising that Good Neighbors was running the LA Marathon, and told me about it, so I contacted them. I was really excited for the opportunity to run it because I had been wanting to run a marathon for a couple years but still hadn’t had the chance. I quickly joined their 2014 team to support their Project Cookstoves. In 2015, Good Neighbors was running the LA Big 5K, so I joined that team as well, in support of Project Good Sisters!

Through running with Team Good Neighbors, I soon learned about their Child Sponsorship program. I was very interested, and I’m so happy that I now sponsor Juan!

Juan Pedro, the child Nelson sponsors

The Child Sponsorship program interested me because I was raised by a single mom, and she always taught me to be generous with other people. My mom is an amazing example, because she has been sponsoring my nephew for quite some time, and the help that she has provided has helped him to be the boy that he is now. I want to be an example for Juan, just like my mom is for my nephew.

Since I’m on my own, I thought I might as well do something good. If you’re able to help out anyone else less fortunate than you, then you have to. I believe in helping your brothers and sisters; and they don’t have to be blood-related. I like to help by giving with the little bit that I have.  It’s not a sacrifice, nothing mandatory, it’s just from my heart. I feel good doing it and I’m blessed.

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Nelson and his family

People ask, “why do you do it?” Well, because  it’s good to help out. And it’s even better when you help out without expecting anything in return. Also, knowing that you’ve actually made a difference in someone else’s life is amazing, because hopefully that person will grow up and think, “I had help once.” And later on, since he had help once, he may be able to help somebody else.

My favorite part of sponsoring Juan is when I receive his photos and letters.  He seems really happy, and that makes me happy.  You never know where he was before being sponsored, how he was living, or whether he had something to eat. It makes me happy to know he now gets food everyday, and goes to school.  It feels amazing to help other people, especially someone that you know can never repay you. But as long as you know they’re having a good life for themselves, you feel happy.

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I would totally recommend the Child Sponsorship program to my friends. I really value what I am doing for Juan’s future.

Thank you, Nelson, we know Juan appreciates you too and because of you, he will get a childhood full of education and happiness! Are YOU interested in learning more about our Child Sponsorship program? Visit our website here

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The Water Project: Spreading Awareness Through Bake Sales & Pizza

Written by Joy Gursky, President of the Water Project Club at Zoo Magnet High School, Los Angeles, California

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Club members Maddie, Joy, Yanelyn, and Ruby all set and ready for their bake sale

Last summer, a viral online challenge known as the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” began circulating online. People who participated in the viral challenge had good intentions, but every time I watched a video of someone dumping ice and water on themselves, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the fact that Los Angeles was- and still is- experiencing one of the worst droughts in the city’s history. Furthermore, there are 783 million people around the world who do not have access to clean water.

So, instead of complaining about the injustice of the situation, I decided to at least attempt to do something to make the slightest dent in the issue. I established my school’s Water Project Club to support  Good Neighbors’ Water For Life Project. The goal is to raise money to build wells in developing countries where local people have no clean water. Did you know that 80% of illnesses in developing countries are linked to poor water sanitation? That’s a scary fact!

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Derrick and Virginia support the Water Project!

I founded the club with fifty-five dollars worth of pizza to get the ball rolling (thanks, Mom) and an overwhelming fear of public speaking. The first few meetings were painful, but I stuttered my way through them. Surprisingly, my personal chapter of the club has been very successful from the beginning. We’ve raised $400 through bake sales, created our own t-shirts, and managed to spread awareness surrounding the global water crisis.

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Delicious goodies!

Overall, the Water Project Club has been a phenomenal experience for me. It’s taught me that I want to center my life around serving other people through international travel and aid. In some ways, I really feel like the club has helped me grow up because I’ve learned how privileged I am to live in a place where I never need to worry about where to get something that’s absolutely essential to survival: water.

Thank you for starting such an important club at your school, Joy; and huge thanks to your mom for the pizza and support!  Learn more about how YOU can help people get access to clean water by clicking here

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