Uncategorized, Vicolocorto

Volunteering with children: Alicia’s and Emmanouela’s experience

For a few years now, there is the possibility in Pesaro to participate in a European Solidarity Corps volunteering project at a kindergarten, “Il Saltallegro”. This kindergarten has been active since 2001 and in recent years has felt the need to promote interculturalism, offering children the opportunity to have a constant dialogue with different cultures. Therefore, the cooperation with Vicolocorto started and led to various volunteering projects and internships with European youngsters. 

We had a chat with the volunteers currently hosted: Alicia, a Portuguese volunteer now in the last days of her 10-month project, and Emmanouela, a Greek volunteer who is just at the beginning. 

What are the main activities of the volunteers involved in this kind of project?

E. This is a project that plays a lot on creativity. Being a kindergarten, we spend all our time with the children: we organise reading, drawing and also music workshops. We all sing together: the children have fun and we can improve our Italian.

A. Yes, we have a weekly activity plan which allows us to organise language workshops as well. We also give our support at lunchtime and when some children need to be changed (obviously only if the volunteer feels up to it). The project involves volunteers all round. In summer, we also play with the children outdoors.

Since you, Emmanouela, have only recently arrived, how is the project going? 

E. It is going very well! I had never done any activities with children before and coming here, I wasn’t sure I could do it, but from the first moment, I was very pleasantly surprised and I started to love the project right away. So far I have had no problems and I am taking all that this experience has to give me. 

On the other hand, Alicia, after 10 months, what can you make of this project?

A. After 10 months I can say that I’ve had both difficult moments and very good ones, just like any experience we have in our lives. Doing activities every day with young children has made me a better person: I know this sounds like a cliché, but it is reality. Children have more to teach us than we imagine.

What are the most beautiful aspects of this project? Which are the most challenging?

E. The most beautiful aspect for me is doing activities with children and playing such an important role in their lives, as they are at a very sensitive and important age. I have also already gained a lot of knowledge and experience from interacting with them and I am very proud of that. The most challenging aspect, however, is the responsibility I feel towards them: being a constant presence, we have an impact on them and I try to be always a positive influence, paying attention to the things I do and say around them. 

A. For me, the best aspect of this project is seeing the children grow every day and being part of their growth path. Being part of this journey is really rewarding! The most challenging part, on the other hand, is being constantly patient and also paying attention to the children’s requests for attention.

What would you recommend to future volunteers who want to have the same experience as you?

E. I would tell them to fuel themselves with patience and positive energy, and to do their best, because this job is so rewarding that, all the effort they put in, will be given back to them in full!

A. I would advise them to be as empathetic as possible, because being part of the process of growth of a human being is a great responsibility. 

Finally, what do you like most about Pesaro, the city where you now live?

E. Pesaro is a city that is neither too big, nor too small. It has a lot of bicycle lanes, which is very useful, since my mean of transport is the bicycle. For me, it’s also very important that it’s close to the beach, because I come from an island and I’m used to having the sea close by, so it would be difficult to stay away from the water.

A. The thing I liked about living in Pesaro is the sea and its being a seaside town: it’s quiet and not the typical Italian town full of tourists.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s