Project Help: The Importance of Volunteering

Project HELP – Hearts and Dreams Ranch and Retreat in Florida - March 2024

Every year, ISE exchange students participate in community service projects with the purpose of showing appreciation for the communities that open their hearts and homes each year. ISE’s community service program, Project HELP, provides an opportunity for students to get involved in their host communities while providing valuable support for local residents.

In past years, we’ve had students volunteer at community food pantries, animal shelters, community clean-up events, senior homes, and much more. In addition to the satisfaction of giving back to their host community, many students find that these volunteer experiences introduce them to new activities, friendships, and passions.

But why does ISE believe in instilling a dedication to volunteerism and service within our students? Here are 5 reasons…


1. It Opens Students Up to New Experiences and Perspectives

Volunteering allows exchange students to connect more deeply with members of their host communities and learn new skills. Also, they develop technical, social, and academic skills that couldn’t be learned in a classroom environment. As a matter of fact, it also places our exchange students in situations that force cooperation and communication in a friendly, appreciative environment thus allowing them to make new friends that much easier! The benefits of volunteering is endless.

Project HELP - Lifeline Christian Mission - February 2024

Regional Advisor, Craig McKenzie and his team of International Student Exchange students showed their true volunteer spirit by giving back to their community to help feed the hungry through Lifeline Christian Mission.


2. It Helps Exchange Students Establish New Connections 

No matter the situation, the ability to build relationships with people is crucial. Volunteer work not only shows who you are as a person, it also reflects the many positive character traits that people will remember you by. In the realm of cultural exchange, this means creating and promoting real, positive relationships with people from all around the United States and the world. In summary, these personal interactions reinforce our mission of bringing the people of the world closer together through!

Project HELP - Lost But Not Forgotten in Roseville CA - December 2023

Regional Advisor, Heidi Cser and her team of ISE students volunteered at Lost But Not Forgotten in Roseville, California. This organization’s goal is to help teenagers and kids in their local communities who are experiencing a temporary hardship that doesn’t allow them to have a normal Christmas.


3. It Gives Exchange Students the Ability to Support and Help Others 

We believe that volunteers create better environments for their local community. They create healthier communities, promote friendship and cooperation, and brighten lives all through problem solving and physical activity. Our program is made possible due to the volunteer spirit of the families who host an exchange student, so encouraging that same sense of giving in the exchange students we sponsor just makes sense!

Project HELP - May 2024 - DEN PTO Spring Carnival

ISE exchange students, Carla from Spain (in the front) and Daniela also from Spain (in the back), enjoyed painting faces at the White Pine High School’s DEN PTO Spring Carnival.


4. It Provides Exchange Students with a Sense of Accomplishment

Volunteering isn’t always easy or glamorous, but it is one of the most rewarding things a person can do. All things considered, volunteer work makes us feel good, builds self-confidence, and lifts up the spirit! Volunteering is great for our mental and physical health!

Project HELP - Hearts and Dreams Ranch and Retreat in Florida - March 2024

Regional Manager, Sandra Testo-Michaud and her team of ISE students volunteered at Hearts and Dreams Ranch and Retreat in Dade City, Florida. This ranch raises and breeds animals for other local ranches, as well as provides practices of agricultural education to homeschooling children.


5. It Brings About a Sense of Gratitude

Charity work gives exchange students opportunities to thank the communities and the individuals that welcome them. They are given the opportunity to demonstrate their appreciation of the exchange experience in real, tangible ways. This also allows them to reflect on the kindness that has been showed to them and the experience that they’ll never forget. Many studies have proven that the key to happiness isn’t money or material things; it’s gratitude!

Project HELP – Shine and Purpose - February 2024

ISE exchange student, Paula from Spain organized and volunteered at Shine with a Purpose to help fill Easter eggs and write Valentine’s Day cards for pediatric cancer patients and multiple care homes throughout the local community!


Global friendship starts with local action. Volunteer to host a student today!


Change the world, one family at a time. Apply to become an ISE Area Representative!


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