Who else to speak better about family volunteering than the volunteers themselves? We talked to some of them and found out more about what drives them to volunteer together with family members.
We are starting today a short series of inspirational stories, coming directly from the people “in the field”, who shared with us a bit of their experience. Be warned, these stories are bound to build your faith in humanity and inspire you greatly!
As volunteers at Ajungem Mari*, we are involved in the development of children in foster care from an educational point of view. In short, and concretely, to put it simply, we help them with homework, or whatever else they need at school. It’s just that in order to achieve this, you have to gain the children’s trust, to know them, and for them to know you. Only at the end, you get them to agree for you to help them with something.
I have been doing this activity with my wife for several years, and this brings us immense joy. Seeing them at the window rejoicing when we arrive, and having so many sincere hugs at parting, are priceless joys for us. We chose to do this volunteering together because it is a common need of ours to help others, but also because together we can send children a more balanced message, neither too drastic, like mine, nor too pampering, such as my wife’s.
The most beautiful moment is when you see the joy of the children and their sincere smiles when something difficult came out of them. Something they didn’t think I could do. They can be math exercises or physical activities. And that, honestly, softens us, and gives us the courage to continue.
I think there are benefits if both partners believe that volunteering is important, and don’t take each other by the mouth. In our case, the most important benefit is mutual support, when you are still demoralized, when you see that although you had high hopes for an initiative, it did not happen. In such moments, you can talk openly, as you might not talk to another volunteer, and thus regain your confidence.
Cetin Ali, volunteering with his wife
* Ajungem Mari is a programme developed by the Lindenfeld Association in Romania, designed to support education for children and youngsters from foster care centres and from disadvantaged environments.