Featured Volunteer of the Month – Bia Fortes
It’s an honor to be the featured Heart to Heart volunteer this month. I don’t think I deserve this honor because I could help much more than I do, but I would like to use of this opportunity to tell about my experience and encourage new volunteers.
The first time I heard about H2H was when I moved to another apartment in Shanghai. The person from the moving company gave me the H2H leaflet saying that if I wanted to donate clothes to H2H, they would make the donation. Coincidentally, in the same week my friend Poi invited me to be part of the H2H sewing group. And then I started to attend the sewing group at Marie’s house. From that moment on, H2H became part of my life.
And so I started helping the sewing group. I always liked to sew. I learned it at a young age with my grandmother. But I had never used a sewing machine, so I am very grateful to Marie who opened her house to teach volunteers who did not know how to sew with a machine. That made a big difference for us and increased the clothes’ production.
During the Christmas season, which is the best time to sell the bears at the markets, the baby bears’ sewing group came to my house. And so, on every Tuesday we delivered dozens of baby bears to be sold in the city. Each of the volunteers brought their positive energy to the group and made our working hours unforgettable moments with new friends.
Another gratifying moment that I wanted to share was welcoming the children (who were going to have heart surgery) from Tibet and their families at the airport. Some arrived with a dad, a mom or a grandparent. All of them were still a little bit insecure as they were arriving to have the surgery in the big city, but at the same time finding comfort in the smiles of the Heart to Heart volunteers who were there to welcome them.
It also brings me a lot of joy to see post-op children playing in the hospital playroom and getting ready to have a normal and prosperous life. All this is only possible thanks to the work of H2H volunteers. In these times we see that all our efforts are worth it. Heart to Heart literally saves the lives of those who would not be able to undergo a heart operation if it weren’t for Heart to Heart.
Finally, it’s important to say that it’s great to be able to meet dozens of other people with the same purpose as you. Most of them are in the same situation as me, spouses of executives who came to work in Shanghai with free time to help those in need. They are people who love to do good for others and who end up becoming great friends that China has brought together and I will forever carry in my heart. Many thanks to Heart to Heart; you made my time in China much more meaningful than I ever imagined. Thank you and let’s keep working together to give a normal life for more and more kids!
我第一次听说心连心是我在上海搬家的时候。搬家公司的人给了我心连心的传单，说如果我想给心连心捐衣服，他们会提供帮助。巧的是，在同一周，我的朋友 Poi 邀请我加入心连心的缝纫组。然后我开始参加玛丽家的缝纫组活动。从那一刻起，心连心成为了我生活的一部分。