Hello! I’m Silvia, I’m EVS Coordinator in A.C.T.O.R.
Last week I attended one mobility of Job Shadowing hosted by CAT (Fundacja Centrum Aktywnosci Tworczej) in Leszno, Poland, within the project ME+NTOR, coordinated by A.C.T.O.R., whose aim is to create a debate and cooperation among all the participants EVS specialists, mentors and coordinators, to improve the quality of the mentors’ support for young volunteers with few opportunities involved in the EVS projects.
Leszno is a small and nice town, full of historic and colourful buildings and warm people who are ready to welcome you. Everything is at a short walking distance and this made my staying easier and enjoyable.
I had an agenda with tasks that allowed me to have a clear idea about CAT’s reality, the way they manage EVS, what kind of activities they plan for EVS volunteers, how they support them, the role of the Mentors in CAT and Leszno context. I was invited to attend to at least one kind of all activities they regularly have (Language Cafè, Cultural Presentations in schools and some trainings). I had meetings with almost all CAT staff and volunteers, who explained me their role in dealing with EVS volunteers and their way of management, included from the financial point of view. I also got some info about the understanding of the local volunteering activities in Leszno, that showed me how different the context is compared to Bucharest (of course!). I think I was lucky to be in the right week because I attended to a lot of interesting activities such as the arrival of new long term EVS volunteers and in this way I was able to see the way they welcome and prepare them; but at the same time I also attended to the last meeting before the departure of other 2 long term EVS volunteers and this was very interesting from my perspective of coordinator. I got the opportunity to see another coordinator in action and the creative tools she uses with her volunteers.
One of the things I liked most is the relationship between mentors and volunteers, in the sense that mentors know very well how to welcome volunteers and help them. They meet them during the first week, help them with the bank account, doctor, translations for activities and organize a party for them during which they bring Polish food, prepare a quiz about Polish culture and offer a gift for them. Mentors invite them to spend time with their friends and family, sometimes even travel with them and in the end they organize the goodbye party where they offer them an other present, which for sure for long term volunteers is a book with a collection of pictures regarding the volunteer EVS stage. These aspects show how strong are the efforts that CAT mentors put in trying to make the volunteers to adapt to the local community.
I’m glad I had this opportunity and I will bring with me what I learnt there, trying to do better in my everyday job with EVS volunteers.