Career orientation could also be a group effort :)
As 2012 has just started, we are happy to have made our first steps to creating an impacting Summer Academy this upcoming summer.
Thanks to significant grant funding we were able to win last fall, we’ve been able to provide our trainees – youth living without parental care in Sofia, Plovdiv, Gabrovo and Berkovitsa – with professional career orientation advice, psychological support and lessons in Bulgarian, Math and English. These three activities are giving us additional information about the kinds of activities that would be most useful to engage our trainees in this summer. In addition, some of our students have been very inspired by the volunteers teaching them school subjects and have decided they want to apply to university. For example, Nasko, a 25-year old, who’s been living in various institutions (currently in a shelter in downtown Sofia) over the years, has recently made up his mind to apply to the Technical University in Sofia where he could study computer science or engineering. He’s working hard with his math teacher, our volunteer Nikola, to prepare for the entry exam. As Nikola himself is a student at the Technical University, he uses their sessions together to give additional information to Nasko about what it means to be a university student and how to best prepare. Over the summer Nasko will most likely be passing his university exam and preparing, with our help, to plan out his year – combining his studies and work in the most effective way.
These additional resources we’re providing have also encouraged some of our trainees from last year to re-engage with our program as they would like to benefit from vocational and skills trainings and summer internships. We are very strict in terms of our requirement that only those youth who come regularly to our life-skills training sessions, extra classes and career orientation sessions will be selected for the Summer Academy vocational training and professional opportunities. We’re right now in the process of identifying everyone’s core professional interest (with the help of a career planning professional) and choosing together the types of trainings that would be most suitable for each participant. For, example, it’s been Mihaela’s dream for a long time to become a hair stylist. We’re considering a possibility to arrange for her an internship at a popular Sofia hair stylist studio. In the meantime, she needs to improve her English and Bulgarian language knowledge and grammar, so we would probably provide her with additional instruction throughout the summer. She also needs to prepare for her high-school graduation exam (matura), and the summer would be a good time to study for that.
As you see, our Summer Academy this year will be tailored for every youth’s needs and aspirations. Given that we about 15 of our current students are at the age where it makes sense to start thinking about continuing their education beyond high school or finding/changing their jobs, we will have the capacity to offer customized options to every single one. If any of you, living in Bulgaria, would be interested in providing an internship opportunity for our trainees, please get in touch!
Thank you all for your continuous, generous support!
Step for Bulgaria volunteer team