How did you become a volunteer? How did it all start?
I decided to become a volunteer when I first attended such a training. The training program turned out to be ineffective, we did not know whom to address, how to help needy children properly. Then my mother suggested that there is such a charitable foundation as UNIHELP. I decided to try to contact the fund and in a short time was registered in the ranks of volunteers. Of course, I gladly took up this matter. After I took part in some actions, I really enjoyed it! I feel great being in the atmosphere of friendly, cheerful and energetic people.
I decided to try myself in this matter for the first time two years ago. Then I was very much concerned about environmental problems, I wanted to be involved in their solution. I have already mastered separate collection of garbage, saving resources, environmentally friendly packaging, and decided that it was time to come to a new level. I joined several “green” actions and felt, oddly enough, pleasure from responsibility, a sense of belonging to a good cause and satisfaction from an important result. Since that moment, volunteering has become a part of my life. Ecological events, aid to children, cultural events in Minsk: volunteer activity greatly broadens your world outlook, gives you new acquaintances and impressions.
I have joined the volunteer movement quite unexpectedly for myself. Once I participated in one training, and one of the conditions for a successful graduation was to choose some charitable sphere, and collectively raise a certain amount of money. Our team studied the activities of some Belarusian charitable foundations, evaluated its own capabilities, and has chosen UNIHELP. The fund was not chosen by chance – it turned out to have the most communicative and good-minded leaders, simple and accessible methods of work, and a very high percentage of all money raised going directly to help needy children. During this time, I learned how to give away my resources just like that, for those emotions and for that immeasurable gratitude that I received in return. I really shared the ideas of the fund’s workers, the atmosphere of volunteering, I felt the drive that a person receives when he sees the perfect result of his work. In UNIHELP, I realized that there are people who are much more in need of my resources, and I already have everything that I need to be happy. So I have become a volunteer. After the end of the training, we dispersed in all directions, everyone lived his own life, while some people stayed. For me it turned out to be like riding a bicycle: once you learned, then it is already impossible to forget. Since then UNIHELP for me is a meaningful word “WE”, this is my team, my friends.
Tell about your brightest day at a charity event, which will forever stay in your memory as a pleasant moment in your life.
“The action which we conducted at festival Hedgehog’s Street will stay for long in my memory. I was offered to try myself as a cartoon hero. I got dressed in a costume of a full-size doll, it was minion,” – Katya says with a smile. ‘Since I like to try everything new, I agreed with pleasure. I did not expect that adults and children would react so affectionally. Children ran up and hugged – for them it was a small holiday. All children and adults were taking photos with me, as if I were a famous movie star! In fact, it was not so simple, the street was hot, but I still did not want to jump out of the suit. This day will be remembered for long”.
An unforgettable impression for me was the opportunity to participate in the action in the costume of a full-body doll, like Katya. Usually such suits are given to wear to high and strong guys, and there I was fortunate enough to take part in UNIHELP fund raising event as charismatic red lion in a marine vest. Children just ran up to me to play, dance, growl together, hugged and took photos a lot. In those days we have drawn a lot of attention to the raising of money for seriously ill children, the result was very great, we did good by helping to collect the required amount for the treatment of the child.
I am a little confused by the question about the brightest day spent on the action. All events are very bright! Honestly, I can not distinguish something “most important”. The day of the action is a day for which I am preparing, getting in the right mood, gathering all my strength to bring people our ideas. I am preparing to be the most effective and involve as many people in our cause as possible, to stir their souls, so that everyone thinks that he is capable of a more humane way of life. Perhaps I get the most vivid impressions from the fact that unfamiliar people with whom I communicate tell me: “Thank you for what you are doing!”. And the more I hear it, the more I feel confident that our charity activity is not in vain.
Describe in a word, what it is for you to be a volunteer?
Volunteering for me is the result in the first place. Some people ask, why the result? The answer is simple. Almost all volunteers participate in actions down to the limit, giving away all their strength. We do our best to help these sick babies who deserve more in this world than they have. And all this is for the sake of their recovery. Recovery is the result of our efforts and pains.
For me, being a volunteer means sharing. One’s time, energy and mood, to give hope and support. Harmony in life is a balance between “taking” and “giving away,” and volunteering is a great opportunity to help others and yourself.
It is not easy to describe in one word all the emotions mixed with diligence. Charity for me is more than helping needy children. I want very much that, as a result of my work, charity should become the norm of this society and a habit for every person.