Ellie, a volunteer in the creative space for children of METAdrasi’s “Step2School” programme in Thessaloniki, talks about her experience.
I became a volunteer at METAdrasi because… I wanted to do some kind of volunteering for quite a while, but as I was working, timing just didn’t seem appropriate. It was last year that I found myself without work while doing my PhD, so I seized the opportunity. That’s how I found METAdrasi.
Being a part of METAdrasi’s activities gave me the opportunity to… interact and communicate with children of different ages, even with children that spoke different languages. I was there when they needed someone to lean on, to talk to, to help them make the right decisions, to be of assistance in the best possible way. I was also given the opportunity to learn more about the children, about their lives, their experiences, their cultures and their dreams.
The most unforgettable experience I had during the time I was a volunteer for METAdrasi was… the event that we organized at the beginning of the school year at METAdrasi’s educational centre in Thessaloniki. Children from different classes, along with their teachers and other volunteers came together, and we had so much fun… playing, listening to music, enjoying food and, of course, engaging in many playful activities.
The feelings I have experienced through volunteering… I could definitely point out my personal satisfaction that I am contributing to something important, greater than me. I cannot but recall the moments that made me completely forget about everyday life and its problems. How enchanted I felt once I was welcomed to the children’s simple and clean world. There were also clearly some more unpleasant moments, when some of the children shared their personal stories with us. It was really difficult, sometimes even unbearable, to hear about what they had to go through at such a young age.
If I could describe my overall experience as a volunteer in one sentence, it would be that… volunteerism is a profound experience that, if anything, changes your perspective on many things in life.
Being a volunteer at METAdrasi means… that by leaving my personal, tiny imprint to this great effort made by all those remarkable people with whom we share common thoughts and beliefs, I help for the wellbeing of people who dream of having a better future.
I believe that through volunteer action, we can all… develop greater empathy for the problems and injustices around us. We can all broaden our horizons, obtaining a brand new approach of the world, which we may had passed by before, and become useful to our fellow human beings and to our society.