Every year on December 5th, the International Volunteer Day is held. This is the celebration of those who voluntarily devote their private time and energy to support all those who need it. This applies not only to assisting other people, but also to helping animals or the planet in need of our support. December 5th is a good opportunity to summarize the 4th edition of the Sii Power Volunteers programme and other projects of that type in which our Sii colleagues took part.
Uszy do Góry! (Chin Up!)
The Uszy do gory! (Chin up!) project is an idea that was born in Sii Łódź out of love for animals, and especially for dogs. Ania, who has recently adopted a dog from a shelter, together with Ewa, were the excellent initiators of activities promoting the local ‘Niechciane i Zapomniane’ (Unwanted and Forgotten) Foundation. And there were many of such activities, on many levels, and thanks to them it was possible to build the involvement of several dozen employees in Łódź.
‘More than 30 people got involved in our project,’ says Ania. ‘I think that it was possible thanks to various support for dogs. Some people simply donated the Foundation: we collected not only money, but also over 50 kg of feed, leashes, toys, bowls and collars. A significant number of participants – and it is of great value – offered their time and skills. As part of the project, the Foundation’s calendar for 2019 was created with beautiful photographs by our colleague Artur. 15 volunteers from among our colleagues spent the whole Sunday cleaning and painting the shelter.
‘Sii Łódź is famous for its sporting flair, and this, in turn, was an impulse to use sports competition in our project,’ adds Ewa. ‘1000 hours of training made by our employees were exchanged into a donation of PLN 2,000 to the Foundation. There was also another contest organized, a creative one: a competition for a toy for a pet – which was won by a hammock being Ewelina’s idea.
A new interesting initiative was the Dog in the Office Day: On 29 June, the employees had dogotherapy classes together; they could also introduce their pets to their colleagues in the office; a joint walk took place as well, and a group of dog lovers was established.
‘All our activities, supported by Sii, translate into the increased recognition of the ‘Niechciane i Zapomniane’ Foundation, and in the project itself we primarily focus on promoting the adoption of dogs from the shelter run by the Foundation. We cordially encourage you to do so,’ adds Ania. ‘The campaign will be continued, because there are many wonderful people in the department who want to engage in voluntary work for the shelter and in the integration when accompanied by our four-legged friends.
Luckily, 1 September this year was Saturday – it was not the first day of school, but it was the day of the Football Tournament organized under the patronage of Śląska Fundacja Inicjatyw Społecznych (Silesian Social Initiatives Foundation), strongly supported by our employee Paweł from Sii Katowice.
The Tournament, organized for the fifth time already, is a great opportunity for children from one of the most difficult districts of Chorzów, affected by high maladjustment of its inhabitants, to have great fun and experience sports competition. Kicking the ball with friends is one of the most interesting and useful afternoon activities for the children living there, and organizing a tournament – official matches with a match table, independent referees and prizes – raises the importance of the event, giving it meaning and prestige and delivering joy. This year’s edition of the Tournament was attended by 6 teams. It is a part of a larger project entitled ‘We Play Together – Chorzów Football League for Children’, which assumes regular training and football competitions. Sii supported the initiative by funding prizes and contributing financially to the event organisation.
IT workshops in the community centre
One of the threats to today’s disadvantaged children is digital exclusion – and preventing it offers an excellent opportunity for the young ones to catch up and get equal opportunities. It is the background of the idea to organize an IT club in the local parish community centre in the Panewniki district, run by three employees – volunteers from Sii Katowice: Malwina, Krystian and Robert. The classes, taking place on average twice a month, are attended by a permanent group of 8 children who use 2 computer workstations donated by Sii. The children learn how to install applications or a printer, they get to know the basics of computer network configuration or how to operate a graphic program. A Lego Mindstorm workshop is planned for January. There is still a lot of enthusiasm for work, and a number of new ideas are waiting!
Warsaw Senior Days – Open Batory and IT consultations
On 29 September, as part of the Warsaw Senior Days, a cultural and educational event for the elderly living in the area of the well-known Batory housing estate in the Mokotów District was organized. Again, the issue of combating digital exclusion was raised here – this time affecting the elderly. Seniors often need specific help with handling their mobile phones, setting up an e-mail account or Skype-type applications that allow them to stay in touch e.g. with their families. Artur and Tomasz from Sii Warsaw spent the entire Saturday on volunteer work for seniors from Warsaw.
Volunteering for the Rak’n’Roll Foundation – the epilogue of #SiiRuns40WM
Maciek from Sii Łódź is the originator and leader of this year’s project of 40 runners for the 40th Warsaw Marathon. Thanks to the commitment of the participants and all the supporters of the project, it was possible to gather PLN 43,000 for the Rak’n’Roll Foundation. But the campaign will soon have its beautiful epilogue: by promoting their fund-raising campaigns, the participants undertook to take on various interesting challenges. Maciek’s challenges were closely related to the activities of the Rak’n’Roll Foundation. To collect PLN 8,000, he shaved his head, thus promoting the #Dajwłos (Donate your hair) campaign. An indirect action, helping to collect PLN 4,000, was to donate 2 days of volunteering to the Foundation – Maciek will visit the Foundation’s office in Warsaw this Friday.
During the 5th edition of Sii Power Volunteers, Sii received 8 new applications. The current edition will finish soon, and the grants will be awarded to the winners. It is an important programme at Sii: as part of volunteering work, we offer something that is now of the greatest value: our time and attention, and often also competence that others do not have. It is worth thinking about it, especially on 5 December and before Christmas.