By Nora Georgieva - Step for Bulgaria Board Member
Thank you for your continuous support. The funds raised by supporters like you helped us train two new mentors and establish two mentor-mentee pairs, who’ve had several sessions already since our last report.
Discovering girls and boys living outside institutions but without adequate parental care poses a significant challenge as there is no straightforward way to identify such youth. On the outside, they live a life similar to any other schoolchild. What environment they have at home and whether there is a parent there is something often only their closest friends know. Even when we meet such young people, for us to be able to work together, they need to recognize a need for additional support for their personal growth, education or career preparation. To ensure long-term results, we are looking for students who are willing to put time and effort into learning and receiving guidance from their mentor.
We tackled these issues by leveraging the relationship we’ve established through our career workshops with a school serving an underprivileged community in the outskirts of Sofia. This is how we met the two students who are now working with our mentors Emil and Miroslava. One of the pairs is working on preparing the student to apply to university as she will graduate next year. The other pair is working through the key priorities of the student and towards choosing the right goal to pursue. We will follow their progress and continue to share how they are doing in our next reports.
By Nora Georgieva - Step for Bulgaria Board Member
Thanks to your support, the 2018-2019 school year Career Orientation Workshops for high-school students from underprivileged communities have finished successfully and with a positive outlook for the future. Our volunteers from two partnering companies delivered 11 workshops for the students attending a public high school just outside of Sofia.
Over 20 volunteers from various professional backgrounds (from human resources management and development to finances and accounting, logistics and IT services) were meeting with over 60 students in grades 9-11 (sophomore and junior year in high school) during the school year to give them access to information and skills related to planning their path beyond completing high school.
Most of the students come from low income families and have a rather limited perspective about their future education and career options. The workshops were focused on unveiling a variety of unfamiliar opportunities the students could take advantage of, working towards expanding their worldview and gaining a different, positive perception of their own capabilities. The topics ranged from how to pick a careers and find the right organization to work for, to how to prepare successfully for a job interview, though the volunteers were flexible to discuss topics brought up by the students in the process. The key role of the volunteers was to inspire the students with their personal stories.
As a consequence of these workshops, two girls from the students we met with joined our mentorship program and have started having regular one-to-one sessions with two of our mentors.
As an organization, we are also pleased to have received valuable feedback from our partners at the school about ways to make the initiative even more valuable to their students We take it as a sign that there is will to continue our partnership in the upcoming school year as well and build on what we’ve achieved so far.
We are all excited to see the young people we’ve met gain more confidence and acquire information about their future choices and ways to define and meet their goals. We hope we will be able to continue working with them in the next academic year as well.
Now Collaborating w/ Career Orientation Workshops!
By Nora Georgieva - Volunteer
Thank you for your support!
We're happy to report that we are currently in the process of launching a new cohort of mentor - mentee couples, building on our efforts to support students from an underprivileged community in the outskirts of Sofia through career workshops. With your help, we’ve been able to meet with over 60 students from this area and introduce to them the opportunity of working with a mentor toward achieving their goals. Within the next month, we expect to have established at least 10 mentor-mentee pairs and to have conducted introductory meetings for all of them. We are excited to follow their progress and share with you stories about the impact on our students as a result of the support and guidance their mentor provides.
We have decided to provide with an individual mentor (a volunteer working at one of our partner companies) a number of high-school students - a self-selected group of students who recognize the need for additional support for their personal growth and future education and career preparation. To ensure long-term results, we are looking for students who are willing to put time and effort into learning and receiving guidance from their mentor.
After the first two career workshops targeting over 60 students in our partner high school, we are in the process of collecting applications from students interested in working with a mentor. The mentor's role is to help the student set individual goals related to succeeding in school, choose an area for continuing their education or finding a job. Of course, our mentors also support the students with advice, experience and actual tools for development of new relevant skills and knowledge
While we have run a mentorship program for years, this is the first time that we are implementing it together with our career orientation program, which works with a larger group of students to give them access to information and skills related to planning their path beyond completing high school. We are doing this in order to provide more holistic and in-depth support for youth who demonstrate a sufficient level of self-awareness and commitment to self-development and growth. This way we can fully employ the capacities and dedication of our volunteers who are all successful professionals employed by established companies in Bulgaria.