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  • Erasmus+

One STEP at a time

One after the other, our volunteers took the risk of taking a new step at a Training Course in Split, Croatia.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes and 32 seconds

© Helder Berenguer, Bernardo Vicente, Nuno Afonso, Mariana Almeida

Getting out of bed at dawn, one step. Rushing into the car, another step. Passing the airport entrance, boarding a late plane (maybe two), landing in different countries... It just takes the first step to start a chain reaction and get out of our comfort zone. Backpacked and ready for the trip, our team of five volunteers got on the way, facing, and overcoming challenges, always with one thing in mind: one step at a time. This is how the adventure from Aveiro to Split began, on the 4th of July.

One more step and we entered the apartment where we would sleep for the next few days. A new step and we arrived at the restaurant where we met the team of Mentor Split Association, who welcomed and supported us during the week. The following day we "broke the ice" amid stifling heat and, without realizing it, the "S.T.E.P. - Step Forward Effective Projects" had already begun. But what's the goal? To create an environment conducive to sharing good practices between both organizations to help each other reach their true potential. This is a big step, maybe even too big. So why not start with shorter ones? Empower volunteers to develop local projects with quality, connect with young people from other realities, get to know communities and their challenges… Change can start with the smallest things and little by little we can build inclusive societies. Everyone embraced the challenge and took the first step toward learning.

We walked on the presentation of associations, jogged on the subject of volunteers and their qualities, and then ran on the topic of social and emotional skills. Through light activities and group discussions, Mentor Split dedicated the first few days to show why they are so experienced with young people on topics such as mental health. The fourth day arrived, and it was Agora Aveiro's turn to also share some of its experience in volunteering, alternating its presentation with workshops on leadership and motivation. On the last day, we worked on the concept of active citizenship and reflected on the past week, which was marked by exchanges of ideas and productive discussions, but also by pressure drawings, teenage mutant ninja turtles and zombies. Farewells arrived, but we didn't say "goodbye", it was more a "see you soon"!…

Getting out of bed the next morning, one step. Rushing into an Uber, another step. Passing the airport entrance, boarding a late plane, not getting on a cancelled one, improvising along the way, and returning to the country of origin. The challenges were felt, but like everything else in life, all it takes is to take one step at a time. What will be next? Receive the Mentor Split in Portugal. Stay tuned!

“S.T.E.P. – Step Forward Effective Projects” (KA210-YOU) it’s a project organised by Mentor Split Croatia in partnership with Agora Aveiro within the scope of Erasmus+ Program.

Nuno Afonso