I arrived in the USA in June of 2016 and moved to Old Saybrook. My husband was going to be working out here for four years and we didn’t know anyone! We had had an orientation visit two months before, which lasted for seven days, and we literally had time to find a house and a school for our thirteen-year-old daughter.
My daughter is ‘horse crazy’ and when we were looking for things for her to do in the summer someone mentioned High Hopes. We arranged for her to attend a volunteer training and I went with her because she was a bit nervous. I should mention at this point that I am allergic to horses, so I didn’t think High Hopes was an option for me. I was keen to find a volunteer position; I was not allowed to take paid work because of the type of visa we had come to the US on. It turned out however that I didn’t have to look anywhere else. Before I knew it I had completed the volunteer training and was signed up to work at the front desk … far away from any horses! So from not knowing anyone, within weeks, a whole new world opened up for me. I met so many wonderful people – staff, volunteers, participants, and their families. We usually think that by volunteering we are benefiting others, which of course is absolutely true; I have felt an immense sense of happiness and pride whenever I tell people I volunteer at High Hopes because the benefit we bring to others is immeasurable. But for me, and I’m sure for many others, volunteering has brought huge personal benefit – I made friends when I knew no one. At a time when I wasn’t sure what my life was going to be like, I found a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
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