Volunteering in Action

When you go on a short term China Team visit, you not only impact the precious lives you encounter but they find their way into your heart and take residence there.

When Helen Gates first encountered ICC and the children on a China Team trip, she was extremely nervous and very unsure what, if anything she could contribute. But a little boy named Yuan captured her heart and she’d remember him for years to come. 

As the first day drew near I could feel my anxiety level rising. Prior to coming to China I had not cared for disabled children in any capacity and had no formal training. I was not an occupational therapist, a nurse, a dietician or a physiotherapist and so felt somewhat inadequate on arrival. These are all reasons why my first meeting with Yuan Yuan was so special, he was the first child I had the privilege to care for and what a completely amazing and beautiful experience that was. Yuan Yuan was just seven years-old and really quite shy so at first he was so quiet I wondered whether I was getting it right and doing what was needed or fun. 

I will never forget Yuan Yuan ensuring that I had my chopsticks and my bowl was ready, ahead of himself, before food came. I remember spending time feeding him and helping him to eat well. It was a very happy and rewarding time. We then got to swim together, something which was a real joy as it was a yearly event rather than now where the pool is on site and children can go every day.
Helen returned to Hengyang in 2012 and 2013 and though she was working with different groups of children she did see Yuan Yuan a little. But on her last visit this past summer, she wasn’t sure if she would get to see him. 

I was led into a classroom to play a game of Uno, and imagine my joy when I saw Yuan Yuan! Of course he won every round!! 

 Yuan Yuan asked his carers if Helen could take him swimming so they arranged for that to happen. And you can tell by the photo the joy they bring to each other! 

One of the really positive aspects of working with ICC is the partnership that every team member undertakes with ICC as a whole but also with each child that we are entrusted with for whatever time we are given. This goes beyond the actual time of a team visit and spreads over the years and across the continents. It makes it a special experience to join and engage in and one which enriches many lives, especially as we tell our stories and share the love, hope and opportunity which each child has been given. 

Thank you to Helen and all of our China Team volunteers for pouring out your love and prayers for the children and young people in our care. You have made an impact on their lives and an imprint on their hearts!

To learn more about becoming a China Teams member or long term volunteer for ICC, visit our volunteer page!