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Tutors and mentors teach you how to succeed!

Initiator: United Way Romania Foundation

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Project description

UWRo runs the mentoring and tutoring program as a part of the project "Learn to succeed", through which we help 1,500 children and youth from poor communities to finish school and prepare for life. The purpose of the program is that at least 100 employees from multinational companies become tutors and mentors. The volunteers will work in teams with small groups of children in order to stimulate them to read and to prepare for certain school discipline, creative activities and personal development; while mentors work one-to-one with a single mother or a young person in order to help her or him to overcome the difficult moments and put them on their feet again.  The volunteers will be real models for children and teenagers that do not see many opportunities around them. Through a few volunteer hour they can compensate this lack of perspective, can help them find solutions to their problems (either in school or in life) and can change the future - theirs and that of the community.

The main objectives of this project are:

  • Preparing at least 100 volunteers from multinational companies to become tutors and mentors who will be working with 300 children and teenagers for a year;
  • Cultivating a relationship based on communication and understanding between tutors/mentors and their beneficiaries;
  • Increase, with the help of volunteers, the level of self-confidence of the beneficiaries so that they have at the end of the project, better results at school and/or be better prepared to communicate with others and to overcome problems;
  • Encourage volunteers to become more aware of the social problems around them, more prepared to understand and intervene when they can;
  • Promoting the importance of volunteer mentors and tutors role in both the lives of the people we help and the community in general.

Approach: For 10 years now, UWRo collaborates with volunteers from 100 companies from Romania. From year to year, there is a growing demand among employees of companies involved in the community and relevant volunteer activities that bring them satisfaction. UWRo aims to meet these needs by tutoring and mentoring program. One of the reasons that disadvantaged children and young people are being marginalized by the whole society is that rarely have the opportunity to get out of their environment and interact with people that inspire. At the same time, many employees of multinational companies and would like to be able to help others in need, but do not have the necessary infrastructure or simply do not know how to intervene. In Romania there is a wide range of volunteer programs for young people (students, high school), but potential employees to get involved in the community in the long term is often overlooked or approached easily (through small volunteer event type team building, for example). Corporate volunteers bring in addition their professional experience, knowledge, new skills and life skills that can be made for the community, especially in the education of future adults. The obstacles that they encounter often are related to their loaded schedule, the pace of private life, and the lack of resources to facilitate their relationship with beneficiaries. Thus, UWRo aims to bridge between those who need help and those who have something to offer and provide them with all the support (formal, through training, materials, case studies and informal, communicating constantly with the participants) to provide a beneficial and useful experience for both sides.

Initiator: United Way Romania Foundation

WEBSITE:

http://www.unitedway.ro

 

FACEBOOK:

https://www.facebook.com/UnitedWayRomania

Arguments

In Romania, one in three people lives on less than 15 lei per day and nearly half the population struggling for basic needs. But more worrying is the fact that poverty is reflected in academic achievement: only a third of disadvantaged children finish secondary school, as opposed to 95 % of children in families with incomes above the poverty which concludes this cycle of education. Children begin to have problems in school when they have to learn on an empty stomach when you live in poverty or parents who at their turn did not go to school, and cannot help them with their homework. 

These are students who are most likely to quit school and their problems are often invisible or difficult to understand by teachers, classmates, other parents and everyone else. At the same time, it is not just the responsibility of the educational system or of the NGOs. It is a serious problem of the whole community that is why it needs all the members of the community to understand the causes and to know that they can also help in solving these causes. We all benefit when children succeed in school. Therefore, UWRo working for 10 years to help thousands of disadvantaged children and young people to go to school and be prepared for their professional life. Case studies worldwide show that volunteers who engage and work with students of all ages have the power to boost the academic performance of children and to help them discover their potential. Therefore, United Way Worldwide launched a unique challenge to recruit volunteer tutors and mentors million in communities where it is present. Building on the experience from the US, UWRo joined this effort to complete, so the services offered to children and to give employees of multinational companies the opportunity to engage in volunteer activity with a real and visible impact in the community.

Activities

Recruiting volunteer tutors and mentors will be achieved through an online form which contains brief information about the program, the role incurred by the participant and responsibilities. To ensure fluidity and consistency of the program, we will launch the call site by volunteers twice in one year so that tutors and mentors enrolled to have at least 6 months to work with the beneficiaries in the same formula and can build a closer relationship with them. Communication and recruit bloggers will take place during the same period. We will meet with bloggers who want to join the project and discuss what implies the involvement of their resources and make them available UWRo we establish together an editorial plan.

Preparation volunteers will include several training sessions so that all the volunteers who work with children and young people have all the necessary knowledge before starting work. Trainings will be delivered by community involvement coordinator for the UWRo will invite volunteers who have already gone through the program to new participants tell their individual experiences. Our team has prepared info packs for volunteers and give them support to understand what needs and problems are the beneficiaries they will meet, how to approach them and communicate with them and what are the objectives that will need to follow. Meanwhile, volunteers’ trainer will answer all questions and provide the ongoing support throughout the activities.

Organizing training period will include teams of tutors who will work in groups of 2-3 volunteers for 10-15 children. Volunteers will work individually with mentors a young person in a situation of risk (or institutionalized system that comes from a family with serious financial problems) or with a single mother undergoing a difficult time. Therefore, in forming teams mentor - beneficiary will take into account affinities, life experience and the particular needs of both the recipient and the mentor in order to ensure that the relationship and communication between the two will most likely success .

The actual work will start immediately after the formation of volunteer teams. Tutors will meet two to three times a month with groups of children and help them with homework, be read together (some of the children, because they were enrolled in school later or have not received the necessary support from parents still have problems writing and reading even in higher grades) will learn together on matters where children have problems and will organize special activities - outputs to the theatre, museums, film etc. To meet the volunteers who fail to find the time needed to work during the week, UWRo facilitate the relationship with the staff of day centres/after-school so most of the meetings with children take place on weekends or at the end of work days.

A volunteer mentor will act to help a vulnerable couple or a single mother to more confidence in themselves, set their personal goals and follow a plan to achieve them. They would meet at least once a month at the counselling centres and communicate on the phone in the rest of the time and UWRo will constantly monitor the links between them to ensure that both participants are available, open, communicate and reach their goals.

The communication and the promotion program will be held throughout the year through newsletters (possibly volunteers articles and interviews) and articles written by bloggers. We also have a special moment dedicated to mentors and tutors within the annual gala UWRo, where we will award the most involved volunteers and organize at least one event/a special meeting of volunteers and bloggers involved to thank them for their efforts.

Calendar

  • Recruiting and training volunteers and bloggers
  • Activities with the beneficiaries
  • The second recruiting and training session for volunteers and bloggers
  • Activities for the beneficiaries
  • Communication, articles, disseminating results

Beneficiaries

300 beneficiaries, children and teenagers, enlisted in the project “Learn to succeed” run by UWRo. They come either from families without material possibilities and social problems (single parents, parents without education and/or without income or large families whose members have serious health problems etc.), either from orphanages or are young mothers and one most often victims of violence or have no family support.

Impact

In the last year, almost all children enrolled in the program "Learn to succeed" passed the class with better results, and 81 % of them were in high school or vocational school. 



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