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.
Dec 11, 2012

Teaching Life Skills

Dear friends,

Towards the end of 2012, Step for Bulgaria is closing the year with new thoughts and approaches to helping youth from foster care homes.

Most of the participants in the program are growing older and becoming more focused in their career and life aspirations. Thus, we have been trying to help them the specific skills each one of them needs to be successful in the chosen are of development.

For example, one participant from Plovdiv wants to earn an Engineering Degree and we secured him individual lessons in specific subject areas that will prepare him for the entrance exams of his chosen university. Another couple of participants from Sofia will focus on preparing for the Bulgarian Language and Literature. Several participants have started their driving license courses – a skill required for many careers here in Bulgaria.

Furthermore, we are realizing the power of mentorship and have been working on creating stronger relationships between participants and volunteers.

Our Gabrovo participants are preparing a Christmas celebration to celebrate the year and all that we have done together.

We are also starting to prepare for a Leadership Skills retreat that will happen in Spring 2013. The goal of the retreat will be for the participants to develop leadership skills in the context of outdoor activities. We will update you with further plans.

Thank you again for supporting us! We welcome any suggestions and feedback.

We will continue to keep you updated on our progress and exciting new developments.

Best,

The Step for Bulgaria Team

Apr 18, 2012

Life Skills Program April 2012 Update

Dear friends,


We are more than halfway through our academic year and life skills program. As noted in earlier reports, this year we took action to close the gaps in academic skills mostly all children have in the homes we work with. In
December we managed to recruit the help of several very motivated and devoted young men and women whose mission is to help our participating youths in subjects like mathematics, English and Bulgarian. In January
our new volunteers started working with the children and we are glad to report that the number of participating youths from the orphanages we work with, has been increasing - if we started with 3-5 youth in some places, now we have 6-10 attending classes.

We've also seen very significant results in terms of academic achievement especially for those youth who are preparing to enter university. Two of our oldest trainees (one is 22 and the other 25) have recently passed successfully their university entry exams. We're very proud of their achievement that shows all the hard work our volunteer Niki put into working with them is paying off manyfold!


In the past three months our discussion topics with the children were centered around caring for one's health. We had some guest speakers who spoke about dental care, STDs and psychological disorders. These are usually on the top of the list of most interesting topics to talk about. As in previous years, we had great turnout and very lively
discussions.

From here, we are moving on with our life skills program toward the management module where we discuss topics like budgeting, time planning, soft skill and career planning.


We will continue to keep you updated on our progress and exciting new developments.


Thank you for your support!

Jan 9, 2012

Life-Skills program January Update

Dear Friends,

We are well under way in our new academic year. Currently we have 45 youths involved in our program that come from four homes for orphaned children in Sofia, Plovdiv, Gabrovo and Berkovitsa. Most of the children have been participating in our program for years now and we also managed to attract new students.

We started the 2011-2012 life skills program in October with topics on building self-esteem, improving communication, conflict resolution and dealing with prejudice. Our participants were very excited about the topics and we had some very lively discussions drawing from the children’s personal experiences.

In October, we introduced a new career development activity to our program led by a professional career advisor. The advisor met with participating children and discussed their career plans and helped them make a checklist of skills they would need and a roadmap to acquire these skills.

Over the years, we noticed that our participants have gaps in very basic academic skills especially in Bulgarian language and mathematics. These gaps are very crucial in their future development as they decrease their chances of higher education, better jobs and a more comfortable living standard. This academic year we decided to take action by providing them with support from professional teachers. In December we began the process of recruiting teachers for all four orphanages we work with. So far we managed to find teachers for the homes in Sofia and Gabrovo. We expect to begin the support lessons toward the end of January.

Our next topic of discussions with our youths will be centered around caring for one’s health, disease prevention and addictions. We will be supported by several doctors and medical students who have been volunteering with us for the last two years.

We will continue to keep you updated on our progress and exciting new developments.

Thank you for the help and support! We wish you all a very successful, healthy and exciting New Year! Let 2012 bring us all good fortune and lots of good energy to continue doing good to those who need it the most!

 

Best Regards,  

Step for Bulgaria volunteer team

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