How intellectual volunteering works?
Our colleagues from the Ukrainian Volunteer Service on the Volunteer Platform told about it on the example of Code Club Ukraine! This is an online portal that gathers opportunities for volunteering from all over Ukraine and helps like-minded people find each other. The project aims to improve communities for big changes in the country.
Volunteering has many directions, and everyone who feels the need to help can choose an interesting or close field. For example, it can be mentoring as a kind of intellectual volunteering. Little is currently known about him in Ukraine. However, the interest in mentoring, as well as the need for it is growing every year. We found domestic professionals familiar with pro bono volunteering from within. So who is a pro bono volunteer - first hand.
If in European countries and America mentoring is a common part of the work and educational process, then we are just getting acquainted with this format. In the regions, one of the pioneers was the Odessa community IT2School with the support of the all-Ukrainian educational initiative Code Club Ukraine. Therefore, there is something to tell about intellectual volunteering and the specifics of working with voluntary mentors, the head of IT2School, regional manager of Code Club Ukraine Valentina Gorodetskaya:
- We have created a kind of interest club, where everyone can share their knowledge and skills in IT with the younger generation. Mentors in our case are IT professionals, teachers and students of relevant fields. They pass on to their cops not dry theory, but practical knowledge and personal experience.
Today Code Club Ukraine is a network of free programming clubs for children and teenagers, represented in 18 regions of the country. Odessa became one of the first and most active representations. There, the pro bono volunteering format quickly took root. What is interesting about mentoring for knowledge transfer?
Mentoring removes the strict limits of the usual format of education, in which children are uncomfortable to ask questions. Due to the fact that the mentor is first and foremost a mentor and just an experienced friend in the profession, the learning process becomes easy and enjoyable for both parties. And the mentor himself acts as a positive role model for teenagers. It becomes clear to them why to master this or that profession, who they will be able to work in the future, what to do, what prospects open up. And, importantly, they set an example that doing good and useful things for free is cool! Here is the answer to the question - how to motivate children to learn!
- New members regularly join our community, so there is an endless cycle of sharing experiences. We unite like-minded people who are equally willing to spend their most valuable resource - time and knowledge on those who are just getting to know the world, already familiar to our mentors, - says Valentina.
A pro bono volunteer, in her opinion, is a caring and emotionally open person who loves her job. This love gives you the strength to share your knowledge with those who need support in the early stages of learning a new topic.
- Over the years of working with this format, I came to the conclusion that volunteers are really driven by the desire to see in our country the development of quality education. And they help what they have gained themselves - experience and knowledge. Most of the intellectual volunteers from our practice are students and graduates of universities. I explain this by the fact that young people seek to gain their first experience in the profession, to prove themselves and to supplement their resumes. And most importantly - they strive to be involved in the great changes that will bring volunteering - said the head of IT2School.
At the same time, a significant part of mentors in Odessa are specialists of local IT companies. At Code Club Ukraine and the regions, the initiatives are grateful to the companies that support such development of their employees and encourage their socially active position. Odessa IT companies and communities have joined such cooperation, following the example of leading Ukrainian companies, such as Taskombank, EPAM, Lohika, Ciklum, Citrus, etc.
Unfortunately, the concept of "volunteer" is still shrouded in society by many wrong stereotypes, continues Valentina Gorodetskaya:
- "Volunteer just has nothing to do", "life is boring, let the family start", "decided to change the type of activity after the tragedy of life" But like no one else, I know for sure that these people have exactly what to do. Many have families and children. And volunteering for them is not a means of avoiding something in their lives, but on the contrary - a very conscious and thoughtful step. Thank you to everyone who has been part of our great movement for change, inspired by the pro bono volunteer community!
Mentors get a huge charge of energy from communicating with children. For the sake of burning eyes and zeal, I want to give up the usual evening on the couch and give at least an hour to students who are so eager to learn something new, to learn it from you!