We're soon starting a new season of our life-skills training program for youth, living without parents in social care institutions. We'll be working in Sofia, Berkovitsa, Plovdiv and Varna this year - with about 40 teenagers, to teach them skills related to psychological awareness and development, effective communication, conflict resolution, defending one's human rights, taking care of one's body and health, and practicing essential professional skills that are needed for anyone planning to work with others successfully.
Last year - the 2009/2010 edition of the program finished on May 30 - we observed great results in the increased motivation of the students that we work with to master the skills taught, to work with each other, and most importantly - to demonstrate and apply what they have learned. At the closing ceremony of the event, we had all 35 participants both present pre-prepared projects, works and presentations to a big audience and improvise on the spot in order to successfully design and deliver a creative presentation on a challenging topic as part of a team that they've never worked with before. During the event, we had a contest with mixed teams of students from different cities, who had to convince the audience that the conventional plastic straw can be useful in many ways - ranging from serving as a fashion accessory to being used in constructing buildings. A jury of 5 professionals from various fields assessed the different presentations and selected a winner.
The most motivated and dedicated students, who never missed a class and consistently demonstrated their desire to learn in the training sessions, were invited to participate in the STEP 2010 Summer Academy which took place in the end of August.
This year, starting in just a few weeks, we have prepared diligently the various topics that we'll be working with our students on. We have a sample trainer's manual, ready to be shared with volunteers and representatives of other organizations who would like to teach life skills to the youth they work with. As a completely volunteer-run organization, we recognize that we cannot serve all youth that need our support, so we've decided to use innovative ways to share our know-how and experience. Apart from having the trainer's manual, we have also set-up a new train-the-trainer program, called Trainer's Pact "Step in the Future", in order to meet other enthusiastic people working with underprivileged youth and learn together how to be more effective in preparing this youth for their independent life.
We'll keep you posted on how the start of this year's Step in the Future life skills training program goes. Thank you all for the amazing support you offer and for following our progress! If you have any questions or suggestions, please don't hesitate to get in touch!
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