Ricarda Scholz, 2015
My name is Ricarda Scholz and I live in Freiburg, which is a cute little city in the South of Germany. I study English and History to become a high school teacher.
Since my studies are almost over, I wanted to continue gaining more experience in fields I probably will not be working with in the future. I took part in an international work camp in Germany a couple of years ago with an organization called IJGD. And when I found out that Sprout, an American partner organization, was looking for volunteers in New York, I got very interested because I have spent a year as an au pair in New York after my A-levels. I fell in love with the city and since I already knew my way around in New York, I thought that this could be very helpful when dealing with people with disabilities.
But not only had the location influenced my decision to work as a Sprout volunteer. Another reason why I wanted to take part in a volunteer project is because of the good experience I made volunteering in different projects in the past. Besides gaining new experience and insights, I would be able to give back and help others who might not be able to do things on their own. Secondly, I would be able to create connections with people all over the world. Volunteering isn’t the most easy and glamorous of jobs, but I believe it is one of the most beneficial and uplifting.
Although the participants on my first trip were sometimes really demanding, I had sooo much fun with them and my co-leaders from America and France There were mostly female participants in the group and I thought that this could be very challenging. And sometimes, e.g. the first evening, when I had to shower four participants, it was challenging but also rewarding because afterwards these participants knew me and I was their first contact person, which I liked because I love to take over responsibilities.
Looking back I think that my best Sprout experience was not one of the trips – although I did enjoy myself a lot – but the Sprout Film Festival. I have never encountered such a festival before and love the Sprout Film Festival’s mission “to inspire audiences, promote inclusion and support transformative filmmaking as an integral part of social change” and the effort the whole Sprout team put into this event. I loved how one could see people’s different ways of reacting on the movies: with joy, happiness, laughter, but also with sadness, tears and tranquility. All in all, I do believe that the Sprout Film Festival definitely helped to make the invisible visible for a great audience and I am happy that I was part of it.
There are so many things that changed after being a Sprout volunteer. I was able to get insight into a totally different field of work, I got to know so many interesting and awesome personalities – meaning participants and leaders -, received so much pleasure and enjoyed being part of such an awesome organization that helps people with disabilities in many ways and with so much effort!
That is why I am also coming back as a volunteer already. Although it might be challenging sometimes, I enjoyed the time on the trips and working in the Sprout office so much. And additionally, I enjoyed living in New York, my favorite city on earth! It is such a great opportunity and I am more than happy that I am able to come back!