My first summer volunteering with Heifer was a game-changer. Prior to my experience, I had little direction in life, besides knowing that I had to help the world somehow. As a sophomore in college, I was looking for something to do between school years, when I remembered that Heifer Ranch offered volunteering opportunities. I had been a participant at the Ranch on four different occasions, and I decided that it would be great to see the other side of things here. Little did I know, my decision to be a Heifer Ranch volunteer would shape the rest of my life.
My second summer at the Ranch is now coming to a close, and the knowledge and experience I have gained here has made an unimaginable difference in my life. Not only have I learned how to milk goats, identify different types of grass in a pasture, make goat cheese, and how to grow my own food, but I have also touched the lives of countless participants and visitors, and they have touched mine.
As a part of programming at the Ranch, we push an idea called “Take Action.” This takes place at the end of a group’s experience here, and encourages them to make a difference in the world because of what they have learned here. Taking action can be as simple as recycling in your home, or going back and educating friends and family about Heifer and its impact on world hunger and poverty. The initiative can also consist of organizing fundraising events at a school, or church, or starting a community garden.
There is one thing that I always tell my participants - the easiest, most important way to help Heifer is to share their experience with others. Let your family know that one in seven Americans are chronically hungry. Tell them that North America makes up 5 percent of the world’s population, but makes up for 31 percent of the world’s private consumption. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the recognition in people’s eyes when they realize that there is something they can do to aid in the effort to end hunger and poverty. If you have ever considered being a volunteer for an organization you believe in, do not hesitate any longer. Volunteering at the Heifer Ranch has easily been the best, most rewarding experience of my life.
I know, without a doubt, that I have impacted the way many people view the world; in turn changing the world in a small, but important, way. Volunteer and “Take Action” into your own hands.
- Abigail Stokes
Editor's note: Find out about volunteering for Heifer International now.