This is a reference for Eleni Michail

Volunteering worth spreading

The training activity took place
in Pedoulas, Cyprus
organised by Youth for Exchange and Understanding Cyprus

Aims & objectives

The training course “Volunteering worth spreading!” aimed at providing youth workers with tools which develop young people’s self –awareness and self-development, an important element before choosing a voluntary program. It also equipped them with methods to motivate youth to become volunteers. By empowering the youth workers the idea of volunteering we addressed the need for social cohesion and personal/ professional development of the youth

The specific objectives of the training were:
o To underline the importance of volunteering as a means for social cohesion and transition to labour market
o To provide youth workers with tools with which they can develop self -awareness/self-development of the youth
o To equip youth workers with instruments that will motivate youth to become volunteers.
o To become active citizens and think wider than themselves
o To experience a multi-cultural and diverse environment
o To become multipliers of the outcomes of this training course and use it as a means of promoting active citizenship
The training course was organized and hosted by the non-governmental youth organization Youth for Exchange and Understanding Cyprus. The organization strives to remain close to the needs of the young people, especially on local/ national level and address them through training courses. This training course was built on the need to promote the concept of volunteering as a way to overcome social problems and youth unemployment.

Target group & international/intercultural composition of the group & team

The training course involved 21 participants Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Czech Republic. The group of the participants was consisted of youth leaders and youth workers who had an interest in the topic and were very motivated to act as multipliers in their sending organisation. All participants were fluent in English language.
The trainers’ team was composed out of 4 experienced trainers: Bogdan Romanica from Romania, Eleni Michail from Cyprus, Karolina Kousalova from Czech Republic and Ognian Gadoularov from Bulgaria. The trainers have complementary competences and experiences, at local and international level. One important characteristic of them is that they are also experienced youth workers.

Training methods used & main activities

The training course “Volunteering worth spreading!” used methods of non-formal education and experiential learning. Methods included ice-breaking games, team-building activities, energizers, simulations, role-playing games, debate groups, small working groups, outdoor education and theoretical inputs..
Example of session:
Session title: Why volunteering? Volunteering as personal development and learning - what we can develop through volunteering
- To develop understanding of dimensions where volunteering is helpful in the fields of personal development and learning;
- To create a link between skills needed in the job market and skills developed through volunteering;
- To support participants in increasing their recognition of these skills.
Participants were introduced to 6 persons playing the following roles (these persons were the trainers and staff of the project):
1. Human Resources Manager at a company
2. Parent
3. Friend
4. Admission Officer at a university
5. NGO representative
6. Donor/Sponsor

After introducing these persons to participants each of the “actors” went to his/her specific location around the training venue.
Each participant was given a piece of paper on which the 6 persons were listed with their locations, and will had to visit in a 40 min time at least 4 persons.

The objective of the visits were:

1. Human Resources Manager at a company: to apply for a job and convince the Human Resource Manager that the skills he/she gained through volunteering are valuable

2. Parent: convince his/her parents that volunteering is not a waste of time and does not affect the school or university grades, and that the skills gained are valuable

3. Friend: encourage a friend to go with him/her and volunteer

4. Admission Officer at a university: convince the admissions officer that the skills he/she gained through volunteering are an added value to his/her university application

5. NGO representative: convince the NGO representative that he/she has the experience needed to join the organization

6. Donor: convince the donor that his/her volunteering experience is valuable and that he/she deserves the funds needed for his/her project idea.

Trainers and staff playing the different roles tried to make the task as difficult as possible for participants.

After participants completed their required visits by making the people sign their paper, everybody went back to assembly for reflection. They were asked to write on post-its 6 benefits of volunteering for personal development and 6 things that can be learned most successfully by volunteering. After that they shared and categorized the answers. As a result, the most common skills developed through volunteering were visible. A debriefing followed this activity.

Outcomes of the activity

The training course enjoyed very good evaluation results from the participants who mentioned that this training course re-inspired them to work with volunteering with more passion and persistence.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

My role was to work as a full time trainer. My tasks included communication and cooperation with my co-trainers, as well as the organizers from Youth for Exchange and Understanding Cyprus. Together with my colleagues we prepared the training course, delivered it and prepared the evaluation report. During the days of the course, we had daily meetings to evaluate the process and progress of the course and the participants and when needed, adjustments to the planned sessions were done. In addition, we remained at the disposal of the participants for any individual guidance needed.

I worked on this training for 5 days as a full time trainer.

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