Green Summers is a Vietnamese organization that organizes small group community service projects for international students to help improve the quality of life for poor villagers living along Mekong River while instilling important life lessons for participants.
Students live in the village and interact on a daily basis with the very people they are supporting, witnessing first-hand how small acts of kindness and generosity can transform an entire community. In a very real way, both volunteers and villagers are changed for the better.
Building sustainability through community service is at the heart of our mission.
Our Community Service Projects are easily completed in a short amount of time so that both the volunteer and the community feel the immediate impact. We are involved in a range of basic community improvement activities that will help sustain a family or a village for years to come. We focus on activities that help children avoid danger and disease, support the economic development of a village, build harmony between the fortunate and less fortunate, and to create new opportunities for people to survive very challenging living situations.
Our focus is to expose students to a variety of community service and social action projects, workshops and placements. We enable students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development through a powerful experience in an unfamiliar land. A good Community Service program is both challenging and enjoyable. It provides the opportunity for a personal journey of self-discovery in a safe yet completely distinctive environment. We understand that each student has a different starting point, and that what they get out of our program will be different as well. But all of our students leave their Vietnamese experience changed for the better, and with a profound understanding that they can make a difference.
Our Community Projects aim to develop students who are:
- Reflective thinkers. Students will gain a better understanding of their strengths and limitations, identify goals and devise strategies for personal growth.
- Willing to accept new challenges and roles.
- Aware of themselves as valuable members of a global community that has a responsibility for each other and the environment.
- Balanced. Students will enjoy and find significance in a range of activities involving intellectual, physical, creative and emotional experiences.
- Open to change. Students will be presented with a unique opportunity to explore how their place on the planet can be defined by their actions, and how these actions can lead to change within themselves and within a community that lasts well beyond the few weeks they spend in Vietnam.
The projects we sponsor center around building bridges among diverse groups of people both physically and interpersonally. We foster learning through community work, creating value for local communities long after students leave for home. We pride ourselves that both the giver and the given are profoundly changed for the better, which sustains our spirit of sustainability.
Green Summers’ mission is to provide a bridge between those giving and those receiving.
Why we give change: We were all were born equally in this life, but fate and circumstance has made it much more difficult for some to enjoy a life that of minimal comfort. People living in poor villages along the Mekong River struggle on a daily basis in ways that are literally unimaginable for most of us to imagine. The smallest contribution of labor to build a toilet or repair a crumbling schoolhouse can life the spirit of an entire community.
Who benefits from change: We carefully select communities who can best benefit from the completion of small easily doable project. Many villagers in the communities we target earn no more than fifty cents a day. Laborers often walk to work on muddy and slippery trails with inadequate footwear, or cross wet canals using just a bamboo tree branch. Families often send their young children to help in the fields because they have no other choice. In a country where child mortality is among the highest in the world, Green Summers volunteers are investing in the future of Vietnam by giving these families a decent chance to survive.
How we do our good work: Green Summers volunteers come in small groups, and are assigned minimal labor tasks such as fixing the leaking roof of a house so the family can sleep in a dry place at night during monsoon season. We build concrete roads and bridges between communities to support business growth for poor families and to provide safe passage for children who often fall into canals when traveling on slippery bamboo as they walk to and from school. To learn more about other projects we have completed, go to Community Services Projects tab of our website. Understanding further activities of ours can be done by viewing what we have done and what we will do with YOU
How we change: We provide a meaningful experience that teaches our student volunteers that it is impossible to separate giving from getting. They learn the value of helping others, and how it feels to be an agent of change. They also learn that even the smallest act of kindness can result in a lifelong ripple effect of change. And that this kind of change can come back to you in the most unexpected and wonderful ways later in life.
Who can participate: Green Summers is perfect for anyone who is looking for an opportunity to change the lives of others less fortunate. Currently, we are organizing projects for school students from the United States who want to explore how their small contributions can profoundly change the lives of others.
To learn more, please explore the Q&A tab of our website.