My favorite part of volunteering is the people and sense of community
November 07, 2021 18:24

70 years ago Youth for Understanding started as a volunteer initiative and still today that is the core drive of the organisation! YFU exists and thrives because of determined and caring YFU volunteers all around the world! To celebrate our amazing volunteers, the Anniversary Celebration team will be highlighting volunteers by sharing some inspiring stories.

We are delighted to share the story of our long-term volunteer Marie Ravnholt Sannes from YFU Denmark.

"My name is Marie and I have been a member of YFU Denmark since I came back from my exchange experience in 1996. In my early years I worked primarily with our outbound program and public relations. In 2019 my family and I volunteered as host family which became the start of a new YFU journey.

In 2020, when YFU Denmark was facing severe economic difficulties due to COVID-19 and as a consequence considered closing, I headed a group of volunteers determined on saving our beloved organization. And that’s how I now have the privilege of being chairman of the Danish board.

My favorite part of volunteering is the people and sense of community; the many smiles and the encouraging and thankful culture we create together. We build friendships and bridges across cultures and keep the vision of Rachel Andresen alive and relevant.

When I was young, volunteering was about creating and maintaining friendships in an intercultural and understanding setting with like-minded people while developing myself as a young adult. As a 42-year-old parent and volunteer it’s still about those things, only now I too can contribute to teaching and facilitating learning as I can draw on the experience of time. YFU truly is a life-long learning experience!

“It just goes to show, you won’t ever know until you try”

Today my primary driver is giving young people the opportunities I was given; to give back to the YFU community; and to work for a better, brighter and still peaceful future for my kids and their peers.

Seeing our students and volunteers grow and realize their potential is rewarding and humbling. I feel very honored to be part of the YFU and thankful that even 25 years after my return from Michigan, USA, this is still a relevant learning experience for myself as a volunteer, as well as for the students we send and receive.

The success of YFU Denmark is the result of the many amazing volunteers – some of whom have even dedicated their work lives to YFU in addition to their spare time – and I am grateful to be part of our organization and to know all these wonderfully inspiring individuals.

In an ever-changing world with increasing intercultural misunderstanding, harsh words and growing tendencies toward nationalism I truly believe we – the global YFU community – can make a positive difference in the world; The vision of our founders and our raison d'être is perhaps more relevant than ever, hence, I am immensely proud to be part of the YFU! 💜”