What is like to be a volunteer in Agora Aveiro?
We have received many questions about what it means to be a volunteer in Agora Aveiro, who we help, what we do and why. We’ll try to answer all your questions.
Agora Aveiro is a youth association that promotes active citizenship. We do not engage in a specific cause or group of people. Our projects are diverse and we support everything we think makes sense - from promoting healthy living habits to raising awareness for a more inclusive society.
To get a better idea, take a look at the Project area on our website and soon you will notice what kind of activities we have been developing over the last few years. Or, if you prefer to use Facebook, you can take a peek at our albums.
Human Library - this spring we hosted an afternoon event where we invited people with remarkable life experiences to be "human books". Anyone could join in and "read" one of the "books" or, in fact - talk to them. We invited people who are usually subject to prejudice - for example, someone with a disability, a Muslim, a refugee, etc. We then invited the community of Aveiro to join the event and meet these people in person, talk to them and reconsider the opinion they had formed previously.
How can you help? Every project has to be organized. It does not happen "just because it is." For example, in a case like this, we need to find people to be "books," a venue for the event, promotion, we need to be present on the day, take photos, shoot and later edit a short video and post everything on our Website and Facebook. In the end, we have to collect materials and transport them to our headquarters, make a report of the event, etc. All these tasks are only possible with the help of our Volunteers.
A Youth Exchange - this example is a bit more complex: an exchange takes 10 days, it happens in Aveiro and usually once or twice a year. The participants are between 18 and 25 years old and come from all European countries. The purpose of these projects is to share knowledge and learn about the cultures of the other participating countries, as well as learn about a specific topic - which will be the motto for the whole exchange. The themes can be diverse: usually our exchanges’ main theme is something connected to a healthy lifestyle. We learn, in a non-formal education environment (which, unlike what happens at school, is the type of learning that transcends all scheduled activities), the importance of sports, healthy eating, importance of recycling and other sustainable habits, etc.
So how can you help us with such a project? Well, as you can imagine, about 30 young people come to Aveiro to participate in this project and we have to welcome them. First of all, it is necessary to organize the trips of participants from their countries of origin to the place of exchange. We need to organize a place for them to stay, three meals a day, structure all the activities they will attend, find sponsorship for some snacks and drinks and organize some tours for them to know our city and region. We also need to take pictures every day, during all the activities and to film. In the end, we need to create a video, publish a brochure and share the results. This involves months of work and you can join this process and learn about project management, logistics, etc. Later, during the exchange, you can of course join the participants, make new friends, practice your English and other languages and make memories for life.
Helping to integrate our EVS volunteers - Every year, Agora Aveiro receives several long-term volunteers through the European Voluntary Service. They live in Aveiro for months and help us to develop the most diverse activities and projects. These volunteers always have a maximum of 29 years and come from different countries of the European Union. If you like to dedicate some of your time to these volunteers, you can become a tutor for them or a teacher of Portuguese. These are very serious and important tasks, since you need to be available at least once a week. This is, however, a great opportunity to make new friends, practice your English (or another language), learn about other countries, etc.
You can create your own project with Agora Aveiro! - Yes! We do not just have our projects where you can help ... You can come to us with your own idea and our volunteers will help you to develop it. In this case, you are the project manager and the main responsible for it.
If you do not want to wait to see things happen, but rather to make them happen, then you must join us and put ideas into action! These are great opportunities not only to enrich your curriculum, but also to develop your social skills and have fun.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to speak with us. We hope to have you and see you soon in our space!