The Truth Revealed! What is It Like to Volunteer at Globala Kronoberg?
A blank sheet of Word is screaming at me. I am sitting at the table and my fingers are dancing above the keyboard, excited to start writing but not knowing what… One part of my work at Globala Kronoberg is to boss other volunteers around to write blogposts. I always have the clear picture of what I want and get excited when I read a blogpost that is beyond my expectations (and most often nothing I imagined… let’s face the reality, it’s simply way better – thank you, volunteers, for letting your own ideas influence your blogposts).
So officially, as I don’t think I have ever been introduced to this blog, I am Monika, a volunteer at Globala Kronoberg. For me everything started off 10 months ago when I got accepted for this project and now I find myself in the opposite position, helping with recruitment of new volunteers to our office, those who will bring fresh air as we did a long time ago. But to make the long story short, let’s see what we were up to and what YOU might be up to as Globala’s volunteer.
Becoming a volunteer to help spread the word
This is one of the main aims of our organization and us volunteers. As we are receiving, sending an coordinating organization within the initiative European Solidarity Corps and part of EuroDesk Office, we are always thrilled to educate others about great possibilities that lay all around us. For us volunteers it means visiting schools and youth centers, showing up in different events and spreading the word through social media. Getting emails or messages about how others’ journey is like is filling my heart with happiness. Going through the lines of blogpost that I just received from the volunteers we sent abroad reassures me that our work (and even MY work!) makes sense.
Shortcut: In the end of the day, we can sum it up as that we basically do social media and deliver presentations. No matter how beautifully we try to wrap it (with a nicely coloured ribbon), we always end up saying this after failing to explain our work.
Right now we are 9 volunteers in Växjö and Alvesta, we have 11 social mentors in total (those are the ones saving our butts when our Swedish fails or our favourite fika spot is closed and we are in urgent need to find a new cool place with the vibes), I-do-not-know-how-many supervisors (no, of course I do, in total 8… I think), bunch of spiders, couple of co-workers… and we connect them all somehow. Or at least we think so as everything goes quite well.
Shortcut: We keep asking others how they are doing, answer their question, try to find a social mentor for them and arrange fikas from time to. We are so great at it that others don’t even notice we are doing that. Busted, we do! Sometimes we even manage somehow to connect great people with Globala Kronoberg or SIP (where we are based) and through this we help establish informal cooperations.
We build, we break, we feed, we eat
Especially during summer our tasks are meeting the needs of the whole house. It might mean working with youths doing their summer job at SIP or helping out other organizations within the house with their ongoing tasks. There is no better way how to experience the Swedish summer than spending hours outside to build a new greenhouse or deliver the flyers, or slowly suffocating while painting the lockers. Helping TLC (Tender Loving Caring) is a lovely duty until you spend the day getting rid off bunny’s hair from your clothes. A quick solution for such things is either taking light-coloured clothes, or instead of being around Lillie (our bunny), running to the hen yard where all you can hear is hens cheering you up while you are feeding them (or picking their poops).
Shortcut: If you are new to Sweden and find yourself at SIP, be assured you will be caught in many fikas (ehm, I was about to say activities in the house!). And what about when you befriend the right co-worker who prepares lunch for you in a bit punky way after you feed all the animals that are dwelling in SIP?
We teach, we learn
As volunteers at Globala Kronoberg, we have been always encouraged to take an initiative and do what we were interested in. Are you interested in holding a discussion pannel about LGBTQ? Why not. Do you want to be a trainer of leadership course? Go ahead. You name it. And yeah, I am not that awesome, it’s my co-volunteer/colleague Łukasz who holds such events or workshops. But you know what? It’s because he desires to do that and discussing our wishes and needs with our supervisors Mathilda and Sara has been always an important part of our work. Meeting the needs and finding what suits us was a breaking point that allowed us all to divide our tasks and be able to have each other for an objective opinion.
Working within a network is less chaotic than it might seem because… it actually works! And in fact you have so many chances to learn things that you would never cross by or never think of doing. It will be very hard to kick off writing our YouthPass which certifies what we have learnt.
För att Globala Kronoberg stöder oss att ta en svensk kurs (Svenska för invandrare), kan vi prata på svenska. Man kan använda det på jobbet men också, som är kanske viktigaste, varje dag.
A bit of English again? Globala always supported us with our Swedish lessons, coming back to school was quite exciting.
Shortcut: All those usual blah-blah-words about how you learnt incredibly lot and at the same time passed so much on other people and made an impact that will last forever… But in this case, everything is genuinely true.
… lost in my thoughts
My fingers are dancing above the keyboard once more. So many thoughts on my mind, so many things that I would love to share with you. Being a volunteer, being Globala’s volunteer, is… empower… is creativity… is fun and much more. I could go on very easily, find so many things we took part in, so many small and big projects, people and organizations we cooperated with. But the truth is that volunteers themselves make the most important part in this project. Sure, there are things you will be surely responsible for as a volunteer at Globala Kronoberg, but the rest is based on what suits you and challenges you.
Being a volunteer in general means growing as society and as a person at the same time. It’s an enriching experience that can turn your world upside down… or might not.
I hope this blogpost helped those who kept wondering what we were doing. If not, don’t be lazy and go through our social media. Not only that we share a lot, so you actually get the clear picture, but 99 % of created content during past 9 months is our work.