At 18 years, Joseph is already a veteran traveler. Born in Korea, Joseph has crossed the globe several times. With family in Ilsan, Korea and in Annandale, Virginia, Joseph grew up bi-culturally. “I attended second grade here. That’s where I learned English.” By 5th grade, Joseph was back in Korea (this time in Seoul) and he returned again to the States as a teen. Although his residence changed several times, there was a constant in his heart…the desire to help people.
“As a child I had no thing I could offer…but I could listen. And, people often shared their hearts with me.”
Residing with his uncle in Annandale, 16-year-old Joseph, decided to stay and explore his passion for helping “in this country called America.” Joseph has a mentor who helped homeschool Joseph and has worked to “draw out my flavor.”
Joseph’s “flavor” continued to be one of wanting to help people. Last year he enrolled in classes at Northern Virginia Community College to study social sciences. One day, this past July, Joseph (now 18) saw a Meet Up post for a Volunteers For Change orientation. In an attempt to explore how his desire to help could work in the “real world” he took the bus to the meeting.
Joseph has hit the ground running! In his first month as a member of VFC, he has already volunteered at Food for All packing and delivering food, at Shelter House Kids’ Night and at the Claude Moore Colonial Farm Book Sale. In just a few weeks, Joseph has already made an impact! “I was nervous at first (walking in to the volunteer site) but quickly I became comfortable with the people. They were very open with me.”
Joseph does not have a car. So how does he get to all of these activities? “I ride my brother’s bike. Or I take the bus.” “How long does that take, on the bus?” “It can take 2 – 3 hours…”
Volunteering, it has become a part of Joseph’s American Life. It helps him feel connected to his adopted country. “And, I want to do what I can do.” One day Joseph hopes to run a nonprofit organization. More helping in America!
Volunteers for Change is the flexible volunteer program for busy adults that offers opportunities for service, connections and possibly fulfillment of your personal mission. Orientations are held every month. Go to www.volunteerfairfax.organd click Community Calendar to find the next meeting.