Back to list

After one year as a volunteer, Stella looks back on her experience: Enthusiasm, pride and appreciation

Enthusiasm. I remember it clearly, when exiting the interviewing room at ActionAid Hellas, after applying for the Civic Service volunteer position in the framework of the Volinha project, I was truly feeling pure enthusiasm. A few weeks after that interview, I was in the very lucky position of being able to share all of my visions and motivation with eight more young European volunteers with whom we met in our first common meeting in Paris. Despite the fact we all carried different perspectives regarding various ways of the future implementation of the project, we all had the same target: support our organizations with the aim of getting them certified as sending organizations in order to send EU Aid Volunteers overseas.

Since its beginning, the project was not an easy task. All of us eight partners had to work on a specific self-assessment form, which in fact translated into many endless hours of deeping our understandings of our organizations procedures, producing new documents when required and making adjustable to the form the already existing policies and procedures. This resulted in many exchanges of questions, doubts and encouragement between us, via hundreds of emails, skype calls and facebook messages. In the end, this whole process meant the construction of strong relationships, co-operation and future partnerships.

The moments when I most appreciated and realized the importance of the support among us, was on the time spent during the exchanges in Dublin, Athens and Ljubljana, as part of the organizational plan of the project. During the time spent in these places, both myself and the other volunteers had the unique opportunity to witness and expand our knowledge of the variety of methods that we use with respect to the different fields of expertise of our organizations. Thus, we got the chance to improve our quality of work and also share with all the other members of our consortium our documents and procedures which proved to be very useful for the evolution of their work as well.

The news that ActionAid Hellas got certified and that can additionally be in the position of initiating its deployment processes, reached its email address on early November. The result of the successful certification procedure is of vital importance not only for the organization itself, but also for the future of the whole of Greece, as it is the very first time that such a project reaches our country. This was the moment when all the enthusiasm I was carrying since the beginning of our mission truly came to light, mixed with pride and deep appreciation.

Pride and appreciation. Feelings which derive from the realization that the greatest achievements become true only through working together and in solidarity. Pride and appreciation for eight young people who, after their year as Civic Service volunteers, have realized that our shared humanity can lead to the most unexpected changes. After the end of this one year, one thing that for sure I can state is that volunteerism is the source of the change we want to see within us and reflect to the world. And this fact, apart from enthusiastic and proud, also makes me optimistic and motivated for the next upcoming steps.