Apr 27, 2011

The Third Meeting of the Red Cross Youth Volunteers through my eyes

2nd of April, nine o’clock in the morning I was at the door of Juventude for the grand weekend at DiverLanhoso. We were supposed to leave at 9:30 but, with the early birds and the late ones, we left closer to eleven.
At first sight DiverLanhoso didn’t seem like the biggest extreme park of the Iberian Peninsula (as it’s known to be), but appearances are misleading and I soon changed my opinion. The entrance resembled a summer festival (lol) and the environment brought to mind a scene from the famous horror film “Friday the 13th” (at least at night it did!).
Well, the first activity of the day was the opening session about Volunteering held by Catarina, which helped me to understand better the differences between the concepts of “voluntary” and “volunteer”. I especially liked the human dynamics she did with us - very unique and they left us all far more excited.
After lunch (and a coffee) was the time for the radical activity which for me was, in addition to the training, the highlight of our weekend: Paintball! I had never tried it before, and I have to admit I was a little worried about the safety of it (didn’t want to take a ball of paint in the eye or in the ear), but otherwise I loved it and would like to do it again someday.
A little while after  we had a shower and rested until the time of the Presentation of Projects of the Delegation of Braga and the Youth Red Cross, held by a volunteer from each project.
Following was the dinner, but between there was time for playing the Human Bingo (which Cristiana won). Before going to bed Dulce taught us how to dance Kizomba and Merengue, and we also changed some “sticky notes” with the cyckling team staying downstairs (it was more the girls who were doing that).
On Sunday, after João’s presentation and Carina’s "Game of Healthy Eating", we shared our experiences and feelings about the Meeting: I can say that in my opinion there was no negative points; the weekend was in one word - "Intensel!" and I hope to remember it for a long time =).
Thanks for Carina and for everyone organizing the Meeting, we packed outselves in the vans and returned to Braga to our everyday lifes. But (and I speak for myself) DiverLanhoso hasn’t seen the last of us!
And that’s it! ;)
Nuno Silva

Third meeting of the Volunteers: a step forward

The vans taking the participants to the 3rd Meeting of Youth Volunteers organized by the Red Cross with the delegation in Braga left with a half an hour delay. Still, even while waiting for the trip to begin the volunteers of different projects began conversations especially during a so called “ice-breaking activity”, when they were given screws and bolts with the aim of finding a matching pair for themselves.
After a while the group arrived at the Diver-Lanhoso, a natural scenery, filled with freedom and heat that was awaiting them. The participants gathered by a sort of hut made ​​of wood in a rustic Portuguese style.
There was a climate of uncertainty and shyness during the first common attempt to understand the expectations of the participants about the meeting. Nevertheless, the first resistance to communicate was overcame since the main goal was to meet and integrate people working on other projects taking into account that due to the project diversities it is difficult to create relationships outside particular groups.
However, very quickly the shyness turned into curiosity and activeness during a group dynamic called “Legal framework of volunteering”, which objective was to consider the geographical distribution of population and economic wealth on the five continents. Together, the participants reached the conclusion that countries with the lowest population are the richest, contrary to those with a higher population.
These findings enabled clarifying an important role of volunteerism in society and addressing various aspects related to numerous types of volunteering, the volunteers´ rights, duties, etc.
The afternoon was dedicated to radical activities: paintball. Since it is a team activity it allowed the volunteers to intercommunicate and approach each other more.

Later that evening, there was a presentation on the values of the Red Cross
and various projects under both the delegation of Red Cross in Braga, but even more specifically the Youth Red Cross. The last presentations were prepared by the volunteers themselves, because they-better than anyone-know the characteristics, objectives and activities undertaken within their projects.
After the dinner, the volunteers had time for entertainment: they could talk, play cards, dance, etc.
The following day started with a training on "Youth Policy and Strategy ", where the volunteers could analyze and reflect-initially in small groups and afterwards all together- the various propositions contained in the document they were handed with respect to the youth policy and strategy matters.

In the morning the group played a game incorporated into one of the projects "Healthy Food", in order to realize in practice the essence of the project.

Just before it was time to go home, the volunteers had the chance to share their reflections on the meeting results. In general, the volunteers´ assessment was very positive, they were glad about the new relations built within the group, the quality of training and balance between the free time for socializing and training time.
What was sure is that the team has taken a step forward towards a more pro-active and cohesive group and despite the impression that the participants still had a lot to learn and do, everything was good…

Apr 19, 2011

Ponto Vermelho - Volunteer Experience

Taking the slogan “Good for the Good” at Ponto Vermelho, the Second hand shop of the Red Cross Youth in Braga, the separation work is essential to ensure the quality of the items we receive and sell.

The promotion of solidarity, peace and individual and collective training of our volunteers are the guiding lines for our actions.

Youth involvement in voluntary activities is crucial for our projects to continue, echoing the principals prevailing the Red Cross Youth movement. We’d like to introduce to you three of our youngest members, who volunteer at Ponto Vermelho, through reviews of their volunteering experiences.

Working at Ponto Vermelho has been an enriching experience. We are doing good things for others and ourselves. It’s worse being able to do something and not doing it than wanting to do something and not being able to, that’s why I recommend to everyone to arrange some time and come volunteer!
Mário Almeida
At Ponto Vermelho we are all working for one cause, the cause of helping and being better people. We are not learning to be egoists or hypocrites, but to understand how beneficial it is when all of us help. Helping is the most important word at the Red Cross: it’s the word we build on. Being a volunteer requires a strong will, a love for the cause we are working for. I advise you to sign up at the Red Cross. Be a better person!
We are not angels, but we are volunteers!
 Diogo Silvestre
Being a volunteer at Ponto Vermelho enriches our inner selfs, giving us the chance to understand the people in greatest need, and also the need they have for our help. In the time of crisis we are currently living in, you never know if someday we’ll be among the increasing number of poor people. To fight this problem, we need your help.
Act with your heart, act with humanity!
Gabriel Almeida

In one voice!

The third General Meeting of the Red Cross Youth volunteers with the branch in Braga turned out to be an intense time filled with idealism typical for youth itself. The participants didn´t want this to be another regular meeting, but rather a time to share different as well as common reflections.

The following text is a kind of a battle cry emerging after all the injustice towards the most vulnerable, and at the same time a statement of the will to fight against it.  

These are the words of the young Red Cross volunteers: ”In order to reach the primary objective of the Red Cross, it is necessary to set the strategies that assure an effective response. Part of these strategies is to preserve the continuity of the Movement by integrating the young people at the Red Cross.”
“Youth is the main resource in relation to the needs of young people based on the work of youth for youth.”

“As the largest humanitarian organization with presence and strength in the global context, it becomes necessary for us to include young people, who today represent 50% of the voluntary movement on several fronts, since they are the future leaders of the Movement. They will be the ones who will perpetuate the goal of alleviating human suffering and prevent it. However, in order to make the volunteers perform their action with the required quality a strategy is needed.”

“This is possible through two points of action: support of the official “bodies”, as well as older and more experienced professionals and volunteers, because this is the only way to get even more volunteers who would possibly be more professional and have more competences adequate to the principles of the Movement; moreover, in order to maintain high levels of motivation of the volunteer, it is necessary for them to be recognized, either by institutions or by the community.

“We have to: encourage the educational development, implement a leadership training program for the members and coordinators, seek opinions of the young people all over the world on policies and programs, propose work priorities and securing resources.”

“Such characteristics of the young people as creativity and idealism complement the maturity of the older people, therefore, the integration of both groups should be promoted.”

Nevertheless, “The young people maintain a kind of a privileged position in the matter of identifying the needs of Youth in general”.


Apr 5, 2011

A tribute dinner to Dr.Francisco Alvim

On March 25th, 2011, the Red Cross Youth with the branch in Braga participated in a tribute
dinner for Dr. Franciso Alvim. The event took place in the Solar Palace-Tebosa.