The last study of the INE (National Institute for Statistics) states that around one million Portuguese offer 29 hours a month of their time for volunteer work. A very important piece of information for the 20 youngsters of OFICINA – INA’s Professional School that participated in the voluntarism training promoted by Caixa Geral de Depósitos’ Young VolunTeam Program.
This last study by INE referring to 2013 pointed out that most volunteers are women (57,3%) and that the most represented age group is between 25 and 44 years old (13,1%), therefore, OFICINA’s strategy is to educate earlier towards volunteering. Fernando Félix, a teacher that accompanied the initiative, reminds the importance of understanding that being a volunteer requires learning and preparation. ‘Our good will is not the only essential thing. We need to know how to help and what the minimum requirements to be a volunteer are’.
Inês Faria, a student from the 2nd year of Communication/Marketing emphasizes the role of teaching volunteers. ‘I thought it was something that wouldn’t catch my attention because I believed that being a volunteer was something related to immediate action. In fact, being a volunteer, implies being prepared for the tasks that are given to us. Being a volunteer is not being a voluntarist’.
The Young VolunTeam Program is dedicated to secondary students and aims to raise awareness within the community towards voluntarism as an expression of active citizenship. Promoted by Caixa Geral de Depósitos, the Young VolunTeam initiative is developed in close partnership with Sair da Casca, the ENTRAJUDA program and sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Science and the Youth in Action Program.
Associated to bgreen, the training culminated with the plantation of a tree at Colégio das Caldinhas. ‘It was a simple but meaningful gesture. A sign that we are committed’, said Joana Silva, a student from the 2nd year of the Communication/Marketing Course.