Step for Bulgaria Foundation

Step for Bulgaria is a non-profit organization which aims to support the development of Bulgaria's socially and economically disadvantaged youth, with a focus on children living without parental care. We do this by engaging young people in alternative education and professional orientation activities to develop their life knowledge, practical life and career skills, and personal strengths.
Mar 10, 2015

Sending the Old and Welcoming the New Year

Dear Friends,

We have two wonderful events with our youths that we want to share information about in this report.

The first one took place last year in December and we devoted it to the upcoming holidays. Our team organized a Christmas Party for youths and volunteers in Sofia. There were lots of dancing, games and gifts. Still we did not miss the educational element in our party. Part of the questions in our Christmas quiz were chosen in a way to enrich the youths knowledge on interesting facts connected to customs and traditions on how Christmas and New Year are celebrated in different countries all over the world. There were also questions that required logical thinking to be answered and of course some gamesome questions just for fun. For each correct answer the youths received awards and for the wrong ones – consolation prizes, so each one of the participants was happy. The most wonderful of this event was that volunteers and youths had the chance to know each other better and as a result, new friendships between them were created!

For the children and youths in Gabrovo we decided to buy several Board Games and two of our volunteers carried the presents there. The games were selected in a way to be educative and to develop logical thinking and ability to make decisions. We believe that through the games the children and youths can learn and develop skills with positive emotions and willingness.

The second event was organized in February 2015. This was our opening joint event for the New Year and we wanted the topic to be something that will give a positive start of the year. One of our volunteers is a Laughing Yoga instructor and she was willing to provide a Yoga class for the youths and volunteers. Together we decided that during the class she will also give some information on the importance to think positively, to laugh more often and how it influences to our body and minds as well as to be able to relax both our bodies and our minds. Development of such abilities could be really helpful in our everyday life when we encounter difficulties and have stressful situations. Having a clear and peaceful mind in crises situations can help you come to a solution more easily and without wasting time in panic and worry. During the class, the youths at first were a little bit reserved, but with the time they fully participated in the exercises. This was a completely new experience for the youths and we are really happy that at the end they thanked us for organizing such event and wished to have more meetings like this in the future.

Our team wants to express our gratitude to all of you who support us and give us the chance to bring smiles on the faces of children and youths who live without parental care. It is you who make this possible!

We believe that with your support during 2015 we can continue organizing many different trainings and events for the youths and help them prepare for their independent living after leaving care.

 

Sincerely yours,

Step for Bulgaria team

Christmas Party 1
Christmas Party 1
Christmas Party 2
Christmas Party 2
Christmas Party 3
Christmas Party 3
Christmas Party 4
Christmas Party 4
Christmas Party 5
Christmas Party 5
Christmas Party 6
Christmas Party 6
Laughing Yoga 1
Laughing Yoga 1
Laughing Yoga 2
Laughing Yoga 2
Laughing Yoga 3
Laughing Yoga 3
Laughing Yoga 4
Laughing Yoga 4
Laughing Yoga 5
Laughing Yoga 5
Laughing Yoga 6
Laughing Yoga 6
Laughing Yoga 7
Laughing Yoga 7
Laughing Yoga 8
Laughing Yoga 8
Laughing Yoga 9
Laughing Yoga 9
Laughing Yoga 10
Laughing Yoga 10
Laughing Yoga 11
Laughing Yoga 11
Laughing Yoga 12
Laughing Yoga 12
Laughing Yoga 13
Laughing Yoga 13
Laughing Yoga 14
Laughing Yoga 14
Dec 29, 2014

Mentoring Program

Youths-volunteers meeting
Youths-volunteers meeting

Dear Friends,

The New Year is knocking on our door and we are waiting eagerly for it to come as we have planned many new activities for our youngsters and volunteers in the Mentoring program. But first let me tell you what happened till now.

During the year we managed to include 31 youths in the Mentoring Program and currently 29 are working individually with their mentors. Each pair made their own schedule for the meetings and the topics they worked on. We believe that this approach is the best way to respond to the personal needs of each youngster and our experience during the year proved it. Each mentor supports the mentee in facing everyday challenges as well as in planning the future according to the level of personal development and abilities of the youths.

Besides the individual work with youngster we also planned and organized group meetings. These were joint events (trainings) for youngsters and volunteers. In the last quarter of the year the training was dedicated to the subject “Effective Communication”. Two of our volunteers took the initiative to develop the program and lead the sessions. The youngsters learned basic rules and principles of effective communication through different interactive games and group-work. And the best thing was that the youngsters and the volunteers had the opportunity to get to know each other and thus new friendships were made. Both youngsters and volunteers were very pleased and happy with the training and shared with us that they want to have more often such meetings/trainings. So, during the next year, we plan to organize regularly joint events.

During the second half of the year we also organized an initial training for the third group of 13 new volunteers who joined the program. At the moment we have 54 volunteers in total willing and ready to support underprivileged youths. We plan an initial training for the fourth group in January 2015.

In December we celebrated the end of a successful year with a Christmas Party. At the party we invited all youths and volunteers in the program – there were lots of fun and dances. We prepared a quiz with specially selected questions (some of them educative, others just for fun) and small presents for all.

At the end we want to express our gratitude to all of you who supported us during the year. Your donations made it possible to start and develop this Mentoring Program and in this way to be able to provide individual support and group-trainings for our youths as well as to develop a strong network of volunteers. You believed in our cause and we trust this partnership as we saw the smiles on the faces of the underprivileged youths that you brought.

Out team wishes you a Happy New Year and very successful and full of joy 2015! We are looking forward to the next year full of plans and ready to face challenges and we hope you’ll stay with us and continue making this possible with your donations.

Together we can make a difference!

 

Sincerely yours,

The Step for Bulgaria team

Christmas Party
Christmas Party
Nov 28, 2014

Teaching Life-skills through Film Art - Updates

Dear Friends,

Time flies by so quickly and it’s been three months since our last report, so I’m in a hurry to share with you the updates on our project.

In May I told you about our new initiative with children and youths living in care in Gabrovo, called “Movie Perspective”. I told you about the projection of specially selected movies and the discussions and the “acting”, but you still don not know about the next step and challenge that children and youths faced.

It was planned that after the 4-th projection the participants will be presented the opportunity to write their own scenario and shoot a short film such as real actors. Do you want to know what happened? – The children and youths were overwhelmed by the idea! And they realized this project really successfully.

Supported by our volunteer-director, the group wrote a scenario. They were given the opportunity to choose some of the Bulgarian famous actors (friends and colleagues to our volunteer) whom to be invited to take part in the movie. Well, this was really a hard task – the group members had different preferences and reaching a consensus at a certain point seemed like being impossible. There were long discussions and argumentations. Finally decision was made and the process continued.

After having the scenario, roles had to be allocated. There were several rehearsals and when the group felt sure about their performance, the day of shooting the movie was selected. A whole professional team was engaged in this – camera man, stage-manager, make-up artist, sound director (all of them doing it pro-bono) and of course the most important were the actors – our children and youths.

They were all very happy and pleased by themselves. And it was not without reason. Last month was the “premiere” of the movie and children and youths could see the product of their efforts and they loved the movie!

We, as professionals, love the “hidden” product of this activity which for us is priceless – and these are the skills that our children and youths managed to acquire while having fun. During the process there were many situations that they had to present ideas (thoughts) and to give argumentation. Constantly they had to communicate with others and to work as a team. Each of them had certain responsibilities that had to be carried out. We also notices a change in the microclimate of the group – up to this moment there were two main sub-groups: the children form the Institution and the youths from the Protected House (two types of social services). The two groups did not mix and often straining at a gnat. After shooting the movie together, we noticed starting friendships between representatives of the different groups and changed attitudes.

We strongly believe that this experience will be very helpful for the children and youths when they leave care and start living independent life. The abilities to communicate effectively with different people, to take responsibilities and to be a team-work player are among the main life-skills.

Thank you for making this possible by supporting our project and cause!

Please do not hesitate to tell your friends and colleagues about what we do and why you chose to make a donation. We believe that children and youths living in care deserve a better chance and only your support can help us provide it!

 

Sincerely yours,

Step for Bulgaria team

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