International Volunteer Day: IntegrART7

International Volunteer Day: IntegrART7

Hey, it’s Antonia and I want to share the experience of our very first big IntegrArt7 event honoring and celebrating the International Volunteer Day on December 5th 2023. Yes, we basically celebrated ourselves and we even did so very successfully!

The preparations already started weeks ahead, as we had plenty of ideas that all required a lot of drawing, crafting or researching. Despite being interrupted in our preparations due to the on-arrival trainings that made it hard to find a time when everyone was at home, we managed to have everything ready in time. What helped us the most to achieve this was organizing all of the tasks that had to be done and assigning responsibilities to everyone. It was especially interesting to see who took the lead on the preparations, who has an organizational talent and who rather focusses on creative tasks. It would be lie to say that everything always went smoothly and without any conflicts or misunderstandings, but we managed to solve all problems and realized that in the end we all work for the same goal and can trust one another. Therefore, this whole day was definitely a bonding and learning experience for all of us and yet another proof that communication is key, especially in bigger teams.

But now, what did we prepare? Well, let’s say, there was something for everyone! First of all, the event took place in the 27LO, where Anastasia works. Our main goal for this day was to motivate the students to follow our example and go on a volunteering mission. However, as this school has several hundred students, we had to do that somewhat strategically. The first part of our program was a presentation about the ESC, IntegrART and volunteering in general for the students of grade 3 and 4, so those who are close to their Matura and already start to think about what could come after. We not only gave them insights in our missions in the different clubs, but also informed them about what the ESC actually is, how to apply and what advantages, opportunities but also potential downsides might lay in deciding to go for such a huge step in a young person’s life. As for every good presentation, we of course also ended ours with a Kahoot game.

The biggest part of our program were then four different booths we had installed on the hallway for the students of grade 1 and 2 to come in talk to us for some casual inspiration about volunteering in their breaks. The first booth was hosted by the students council of the high school, as they are also engaged in volunteering activities here in Krakow. In fact, volunteering does not always include leaving your country, but can start very small for example in the animal shelter of your neighborhood.

If you were interested in starting somewhere further away, we had a second booth prepared with stories about exactly that. Here, I shared my volunteer experience in Marseille, Daniel told some stories about Georgia and Mihaela presented her project in Moldova. We had a lot of fun talking about these exciting times in our lives before IntegrART, to go through old pictures and to share our best moments with the students. In case that didn’t sound exciting enough for some of them, we also had cookies and pins for everyone…

If you went one step further, you met Joseph who prepared a whole booth about ESC. We crafted a little roulette to spin and find out about topics like money and accommodation or advantages of volunteering. He then was ready to answer all of these and other questions about how the ESC works and what to do to get where we are now. And let me tell you, he never had a quiet minute…

Lastly, we hung 6 meters of white paper with the letters VOLUNTEERING on the wall that invited the students to be creative, to draw and write on, and to share any associations they have with volunteering. We could definitely spot some artistic talents in this school which is why our Fresco turned out absolutely beautiful!

Overall, these couple hours really flew by as so many students were interested in what we do and above all what they can do now and in the future. During their lessons we spent our time goofing around and just enjoying that everything we prepared went to smoothly. The students were all so nice and interested, and if we only got one of them convinced to apply for volunteering, our day was a success!

Last but not least, I have to give a huge thank you to Duda, Anastasia’s work coordinator, and everyone at LO27 who provided us with the space, with materials and any organizational support. This day wouldn’t have turned out this great without them and especially without the great creative team work of my fellow IntegrART7 volunteers.

Here’s to more amazing events to come!  

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