Sep 15, 2015

The Dream Team

My EVS is coming to an end so for this reason one of the last blogs (written by fabulous me) will be about the team I spent working with this all year!

João – the Boss (who hates to be called boss). He is one of those people who is more like a buddy than a scary boss. Sadly this year he had less time to be around us EVS, but I think for everyone who wanted he managed to find some time.

Cintia- the everything person. She is the coordinator of the JV in Action. Also she is a mentor, a friend, our coordinator and a boss for those who work with her on the projects. I think she is the first person us volunteers call for in any case.

Luís – the little guy, with a huge heart. He is a coordinator of the project +Atitude. Also one of the mentors, and has always a joke hidden in his small pocket. He also did EVS so feels close to us.

Vanda – the materials queen. She is also a coordinator of +Atitude. Another person who will welcome you with her arms wide open. What is more, she has anything you might need in the office.

Tiago – the silent mind. He is responsible for the national coordination of the Youth Departments. A little bit shy, and will not talk all the time like Luis, but has such a big Aura that anyone becomes a better person just by standing next to him!

Tânia – the hidden secretary. She is one of the coordinators of the project Geração Tecla, but also does all the paper work that everybody needs but has no idea how to make it happen.

Virgínia – the nice witch. She is the head of Geração Tecla. All the kids love her and are afraid at the same time and not only kids. Besides, she is great at gardening. Has a great husband, but I am not allowed to get more rides from Lisbon with him.

Vanessa – the gypsy queen. She is also a part of Geração Tecla. What is more, she is our bridge to the gypsy community. Will never speak with you in English, but always understands what you are saying to her.

Catia – the Library. She is one of the mentors and a part of JCV in action project. She always comes with cookies and supplied us with all the 7 Harry Potters besides the other books to practice on our Portuguese.

João Reis – the boss of Barhouse. However, he is not the boss of any bar, but he is the coordinator of coordinators. He is the boss of Barhouse, because you can always meet him there and of course it was the first bar he showed us in Braga.

Pedro – the wicked beard. He is the coordinator of Copos…Quem decide és Tu! He is the friendliest person you can find, with crazy ideas and always a helping hand. Participates in as many international projects as he can; and does it with all his heart.

Ana – the Saturday girl. She is the coordinator of Colorir o Sábado, that is why she is the Saturday girl. Also works with the marketing team and some other projects on the spot. In the beginning I thought her name was Hanna.

Sofia – the Pinterest girl. She is the coordinator of the Atelier Criativo and sometimes gets her inspiration in Pinterest. Also is responsible for healthy eating project and finds ways how to mix both projects with great results.

Ana Rita – Miss j’adore. She worked with us together in  JCV in action as the right and left hands of Cintia. And now she is doing her EVS in England what I am really happy about and also sad, because my last month is without the craziest little shining star.

There are way more people her in Juventude, but I wanted to mention the people I had an opportunity to work most with. I hope that one day, someone will write a blog about every little and big person who once have stepped through the doors of Juventude with full heart of willingness to volunteer. It is still a pleasure to work with all of them and I hope they will never lose their touch!

Sep 8, 2015

Atlantis XI

This year is really great for Juventude and I feel more than lucky to do my EVS during this period. So many things are waiting ahead and so many things have already happened. So once again let’s look in the past and see what more has happened during this year. Whole last week was dedicated to one international training course – Volunteering 4 Humanity. And the best part that it was not the only one international project this year!

Exactly the next day when Volunteering 4 Humanity ended another international project started. This project is called Atlantis Youth Camp and is the biggest Red Cross event for the Youth. This project is an annual project and this year was the 11th edition.

This project is just for Red Crosses and what is more, just for the Red Cross Youth departments from the Mediterranean Sea region. And this year Atlantis was organized by the Portuguese Red Cross in partnership with the Centre for the Cooperation in the Mediterranean. And as you already probably understood the part of Red Cross was made by the Delegation of Braga.

And now a little bit more about the project. As I have already mentioned, Atlantis Youth Camp is for the youth of Red Cross National Societies. Around 60 young people came to Portugal from all the countries of the Mediterranean region. They all gathered to share their ideas, to learn more and widen horizons. As the theme of this camp was Youth Volunteering: Opportunities and Challenges of Making a Difference.

The camp took place in amazing city of Guimarães. What is right next to Braga and made it easier to do all the preparations. And of course it was an inspiring place for all the participants, not only to work in but also to stay. Whole week was full not only of different kind of seminars but also exploring the city where the Great Country of a Portugal was born!

I think Atlantis Youth Camp is a spectacular event. It combines lots of different cultures, nationalities and even religions. But at the same time, all the people with their different customs were working for the same goal and it makes you think that everything is possible!

Sep 3, 2015

V4H (Part III) Preparation

To finish the week let’s look at all the work that had to be made before for this training course to happen.

To tell the truth, the preparation stage started already just after the New Years – more than half a year before. As everything, it started with meetings and discussions of what needs to be done, who will do what and how are we going to make it happen.

As the project included a lot of countries that are not in the EU we needed to check who of them will need visas, how to get them, what are the procedures and of course prices. It was interesting to call the embassies, find out that some countries don’t have the Portuguese embassy in the country and that another embassy is responsible and once again call and try to explain everything.
However, it was just first of all the tasks we needed to do. We still needed to take care of accommodation, training room and a great place to eat. Of course, our target was to have all the places close enough that participants wouldn’t need to spend a lot of time just getting from one place to another. With magical powers of Cintia and others of Juventude we made it possible!

So finally, we got to the last preparation stage just weeks before the project started. We had to buy all the materials, food for the coffee breaks and prepare GNRation. It was so funny to do the shopping for the coffee breaks. We had a shopping list of what more or less we will need and of course we bought more. We had just one cart full of water not counting other stuff. What is more, we needed to go to different shopping centers to get everything, because we had some special cases – NO gluten and NO sugar girls. When in the second shopping center we forgot to ask for the invoice so we needed to come back, and when the address was wrong so we reached the point when we were singing and dancing next to the cashier waiting for a miracle to happen.
The last day of preparations was even crazier. We already had some participants in Braga, but nothing ready. We just had time to leave everything in GNRation, but not prepare the rooms. In the hotel we still needed to leave the list and when we had some presents, but we didn’t know when to give them. So we went to the hotel and of course the list of participants was wrong and one person was written twice. Then we decided to leave all the presents in the rooms, but not all the rooms were already ready. So we prepared everything in one room and then with the help of cleaning ladies we made it happen.
The only part was missing the preparation of GNRation, but we also managed to make it in time. Hotel was so helpful that they were even sending some of the participants straight to GNRation even if there was no need, but we met some of the participants in advance. By the way, while doing all the preparations we also needed from time to time, go and grab someone from the bus station.  

But I think we made it well and we made it happen. I was a lot of hard work, but in the end we managed also to have fun. We had a great team and sometimes all you need is just some people like you!


Sep 2, 2015

V4H (Part II) - Intercultural Night

Today I am going to continue with the Part II of Volunteering 4 Humanity. And as Wednesdays we talk about Juventude after action, let’s see how Juventude had fun during the intercultural night, while other members were working there.

So first of all, as all the international projects V4H also had and intercultural night where every country could present what they had. And believe me they had a lot. Starting from the traditional food and drinks, souvenirs and lovely stories about their countries some of them even presented their traditional dances!
In the beginning of the night everyone were running around trying to prepare their table as best as they could. Then of course sneak peaking to the other tables, that what kind of easy as it was one long table for all the countries to share. And finally, presenting what they have.

It was so great to hear about the differences or similarities of some countries. To taste all kinds of foods, I am still very happy about my stomach and how it handled all the food and of course the drinks. I think the food even tastes better when you hear a story behind it, so believe me no one left the party with an empty stomach!
What is more, after all the presentations and all the degustation the party was not over. It was the second night and we could already see how the group was as one; acting like lifelong friends. The music was on and the real party started. Some of the countries had their traditional music and the real performances began. I was mostly amazed by the Georgians who started their traditional dances and more than shocked us in a very pleasant way.

It was a great night for everyone. We traveled around 8 different countries without even leaving one room! All the smiles, all the happy faces, crazy dances and awful singing was something that l hope neither participants, Juventude or anyone else who were there will ever forget!


Sep 1, 2015

Volunteering 4 Humanity (Part I)

This week I want to dedicate to an amazing project called Volunteering 4 Humanity (V4H), that had happened here in Braga almost a month ago and I had a pleasure to help make it real. Today, tomorrow and Thursday all the blogs will be about this project.

I was thinking how could I manage to describe the project in one blog and I decided to look at it from the other way and I hope you will like it!

Once upon a time an idea was born in the heads of three crazy people. In the beginning it was a small idea, but those crazy people decided to grow the idea till it becomes reality.

Idea is like a little plant that you need to take care of. First of all, you need to give a lot of water for it to grow. And these crazy people did exactly the same – they put the idea into words that they could share it with others and made the first step of growing it. 

However, as we all know water is not enough for a flower to grow. It needs sunshine, good dirt and some lovely touch. An idea is the same; it needed more people to work on it, some people to sponsor it and some to supervise it.  Here came the Juventude Cruz Vermelha Portuguesa, Delegação de Braga, Erasmus+ program and trainers from YOPA to the help.

When the plant grows enough you need to change the vase, because the roots are too big and the plant cannot fit in the same place anymore. The idea was also not fitting in the hands of only few people. The crazy people were not only crazy, but crazy smart. They decided to share this idea to the world and the best way to do it is including more people from other countries to the process of the growing idea that later the seeds could faster split all around the world. 4 people were invited from 8 different countries to be a part of the process.

And then it all started. All the masterminds from different countries with different qualities and sets of mind came all together the great city of Braga. They all came from different backgrounds and for a moment the idea, like that little flower, started being afraid, if it will work, but this feeling was just for a second.  After the first task they all did together it was already obvious that idea will grow and turn into the brightest flower of the year.

The team of masterminds was working really hard for 8 days. As real scientists trying to find a new flower type, they also had great supervisors who helped during all the process. The group was analyzing themselves – to find a way which quality is the best to use for the growth of the idea. Working in a team – sharing ideas, teaching each other new things. And finally, it happened, all the hard work, all the adventures, all the smiles and sad faces paid off, the IDEA became real.

The entire town was invited to see that new type of flower: the idea becoming reality. And it really happened. The idea was real now. All the participants were glad with their results; supervisors could not believe how great the results were and the town was amazed by what they saw.

It was a result of a team work, of people engaged to what they were doing and a result of some huge hearts. But it was not all. After those 8 days, all the scientists left Braga, but they didn’t left it like they came before. They left with new friends, new contacts and most important with new ideas.

Now our little idea is a huge flower giving seeds, that we can spread all around the world and make this idea not only one flower, but as a huge garden of shinny bright flowers, that makes you not only look at it, but also take some actions to make it last forever.

Once again I want to say, it was really great to see this flower growing and I think that the real growing process just started and in the end I also want to share the results of this amazing idea. (More videos next time!)

For more information about the project click here.