From Costa Rica to Arizona – A Volunteer’s Perspective

Submitted by Juan José Rodríguez

I did not have any idea about how much the United States cares about refugees until two months ago. I am an international student from Costa Rica and currently enrolled in Scottsdale Community College as part of a scholarship from the State Department. I knew about WTAP through my project coordinator, and I am very grateful to her.

I have participated several times as a volunteer, delivering furniture to refugees in Arizona. It is always hard for me to explain my overwhelming feelings of happiness and empathy every time I volunteer with WTAP. This organization does a magnificent job helping refugees by providing both emotional support and different types of practical assistance.

As an international student, I understand how it feels to arrive in a different country, but I did not have any idea about all of the difficulties that refugees have gone through. Can you imagine what it’s like to leave your country or your family and all that you know, to travel to a completely different country and try to start a new life? It is definitely hard, but organizations like WTAP make it easier.

In my country, one of the most important matters is human rights, and The Welcome to America Project promotes equality and compassion for others. It does not matter what language you speak, where are you from or how you look, we all are human beings, and WTAP is concerned about helping people in need. Being a volunteer for this organization represents so much for me. I definitely encourage people to volunteer with this organization; WTAP has many kinds of opportunities for people who would like to give back to the community and take part in quite a rewarding activity.

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