Above: Transportation volunteer Michael Purser
When we asked Michael Purser why he serves with New American Pathways, he humbly said: “It’s the most American thing you can do.”
Michael, a semi-retired volunteer, began serving with us in fall of 2016. He found his fit as a transportation volunteer, picking up new Americans from their homes and taking them to necessary appointments. For Michael, he found that the simple things are the best way to learn, share, connect and give back. He says, “I get a big kick out of being part of their new life, in a land that they probably never thought they would ever live in. I hope that I’m helping them adjust and get on their way to fulfilling their wishes.”
Michael believes the best way to serve is through building relationships. After many visits carrying a mother and her two sons to doctor’s appointments, one day the mother invited Michael in for tea. This happened to be on the day of the big eclipse last August. He soon realized that, not only did the family not know the eclipse was happening, the oldest son did not understand what an eclipse was. Michael explained it to him as the boy’s father provided details in their first language. The boy lit up with excitement! Michael asked for permission from the boy’s parents to bring the children to his home to view the eclipse with him and his wife. The children had a blast, and Michael was thrilled for the opportunity to share something new and exciting with the children.
Michael has driven dozens of new Americans who have come from all over the world and speak many different languages. When asked what advice he has for volunteers in the same role, he suggests using music to create a relaxing environment for travel: “I’ve got a device on my iPhone called Spotify. I found out what proved to be a great international language… I would just listen to Jazz and just immediately put everybody at ease.”
Michael also suggests that volunteers share their stories and experience of volunteering with New AP. He does this by word of mouth and through sharing about New AP on his Facebook page. Thank you, Michael, for all you do to welcome new Americans to Georgia.
Are you interested in volunteering with New AP? Come to our next Volunteer Orientation or contact Akheia Bowie for more information about volunteering.