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When It Comes to Impact, Small Things Live Large

When challenges arise, it’s easy to overlook the small things that can bring meaning and ultimately joy to any situation. In fact, it’s often in these small things where the true impact lies, giving us a fuller picture of what really matters.

Listen to three World Relief Chicagoland staff share stories of how these small but impactful events brought about a sense of belonging, growth and resiliency in the lives they touched.

Holly’s Story: A Simple Invitation

A lot of preparation and detail goes into welcoming new refugee families and individuals when they first arrive in the Chicagoland area. But this past March proved to be particularly challenging. World Relief Chicagoland saw its highest number of refugee arrivals in the last six years.

Trying to keep pace with this activity, there were days Volunteer Director Holly felt burnt out and exhausted. And it got discouraging when plans fell through – such as a family’s last-minute travel cancellation.

But Holly finds meaning, encouragement, and a renewed vision from the testimonies she receives from volunteers who walk alongside her. Here, she shares an encouraging reminder from one volunteer transportation assistant after he picked up a newly-arriving family from the airport.

Marlina’s Story: The Mini-Celebration

Walking alongside Good Neighbor Teams as they grow from the high and low points of their experience always encourages Volunteer Teams Specialist Marlina. One of these moments came from a gentleman who was excited about leading a team from his church – eager to connect with a refugee family who moved into the neighborhood.

Yet upon building a relationship with the family, his frustration grew when he realized the many barriers they were up against – and there was nothing he could do to fix them.

But he learned there was one thing he and his team could do for this family: recognize the small things worthy of celebration. Marlina highlights one important celebration that left an impact on the group.

Ashley’s Story: A Resilient Advocate

After fleeing Ukraine with her family, Tania* found herself in the class of ESL Instructor Ashley, determined to learn a new language and adjust to a new culture. But it was easy to feel overwhelmed and intimidated by her new situation.

After the class resumed from the holiday break, Tania returned and shared a terrible situation that happened while she was away. Her son had broken his arm.

Yet when Tania told her story, the class noticed something different in her demeanor. She was confident and her words were filled with joy. Tania accomplished something much sooner than she thought possible. She advocated for her son by navigating a complex healthcare system with her own English words.

Ashley shares Tania’s story of resilience when pushed to become an advocate for her family.

*Name changed for privacy.

Make an Impact. Get Involved.

There’s no small part at World Relief Chicagoland. Whether you serve as a transportation assistant, Good Neighbor Team member, or ESL tutor, the “small” things will continue to live large in the lives you impact as a volunteer.

Read more about the impact you can make as a volunteer:

How to Have Impact as a Volunteer Tutor

Summer Camp: Fun, Fellowship and First Responders

A Reflection During Volunteer Appreciation Month

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