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Sep 25, 2018

Fast-Track Career Development for At-Risk Youths

We have engaged five volunteers from the local community to provide 1-to-1 career training and skills development for children at risk in Bulgaria. We have included five of poor and geographically abandoned situations limited to lack of access to resources for professional development. Currently, we provide training for young people in order to join the working process of the social enterprise created by the foundation.  Also currently working with young people and volunteers. Some of the youngsters have provided them with work abroad, and they are currently working in England and Germany but continue to work remotely with the volunteers who guide them in the process of adaptation.

Jun 27, 2018

Presentation skills 101: Open Door Days

Preparing for an interview
Preparing for an interview

Dear supporter,

Our #StepforBulgaria team is excited to share with you the latest news with our ongoing mission to Teach life skills to children without parents!

We have 2 great news to report to you:

1. Thanks to your support we were able to dedicate resources, apply, and qualify for grant funding of a social enterprise, through which we will directly provide professional qualification to some of our youths and teach them - through experience - about life skills such as proactive communication, responsibility, initiative, etc. The social enterprise - a kitchen, cafe, shop, and social event space, will also host many new and educational workshops we plan to hold for the youths in the upcoming years. Just last week we rented a place for the enterprise! It's a fixer-upper though, so stay tuned for more updates in the upcomng months :)

2. (And the headline of this report) We successfully partnered with, and are now hosting Life Skills workshops directly with Social Employers (3 of them so far - HP Inc., Cargill, and ServiceSource). For their part, the employers provide us with professional volunteers from across a variety of disciplines and a venue to organize Open-Door events with them (some even pitched into our other programs too!) in which we can teach the youths life skills as applied directly to a workplace environment. For our part, we personally interview and prepare all of the volunteers for working with the youths, we organize the programming and the facilitation of the events, we bring the youngsters (voluntarily!) to attend, and we track and report on the outcomes :) Here is one:

On June 6th we held our first Open Day session of the type, aimed at teaching high schoolers Presentation Skills. The workshop was held at the office of HP Inc., a computer hardware company, which attracted participation from 4 of the youths we had been in touch with. In all honesty, we will have to work on the number a little bit - it was hard to motivate more youths to "apply" for the Workshop by submitting a draft CV, yet, it is what demonstrated their commitment to the event and what made it work. On the flipside, having 4 youths work with the 4 volunteers we had engaged for the event allowed us to provide individual and in-depth attention to each one of them.

In the photos, you'll see one of the youths, Desi, first working on remodeling the CV from her application with one HR recruiter, then conducting a mock interview with another. The workshop included not only these, but also a teaching session on how to present oneself orally and in script, as well as extensive personal feedback from each volunteer Desi and her peers came in contact with. As a proximate indication of success, all 4 of the youths had the marked motivation to apply for our next workshop too! Stay tuned for our next report to see if we'll be able to follow up on their motivation :)

Until then, thanks once more for allowing us to do what we do.

Best regards,

Dancho and the Step for Bulgaria team

P.S. If you continuously like what we do, please consider becoming a recurrent donor! Check out and share our other projects, too, at Mentoring Program for Underprivileged Youth and Fast-Track Career Development for At-Risk Youths!

Mock interviewing
Mock interviewing
A job well done :)
A job well done :)
Jun 27, 2018

Final Career Workshops for the School Year

Asya and the volunteers of one workshop
Asya and the volunteers of one workshop

Dear supporter,

Our #StepforBulgaria team is excited to share with you the latest news with our ongoing mission to Fast-Track Career Development for At-Risk Youths!

The past couple of months were an exciting and busy time for our Career workshops! Step for Bulgaria's team was joined by, among many applicants, Asya, a Career Workshops/ Counseling consultant with a variety of Human Resources experience to offer to our youths and our volunteers. As you can see from the photo, Asya jumped straight into action and in short time was able to gather and prepare many new successful professionals for productive interactions with the students we work with. In the span of less than 2 months, she coordinated and helped coordinate a total of 6 workshops for the high schoolers in Kostinbrod, Novi Iskar and Lyulin. We are happy and privileged to have her on our team :)

Here is the story of one of the workshops:

A teacher from the Kostinbrod high school we work with, Radi, reached out to us to see if we could help with her initiative to organize a Career Forum for the youths. Many of them we had worked with in our previous motivational workshops, but students would be invited from all over the town (there's one more high school in Kostinbrod). So we jumped to the challenge.

Not knowing who we'd be working with, Asya tried to gather and prepare a diverse portfolio of volunteers for the event. And diverse it was - we had volunteers from the HR, Finance, IT, Journalism, Social and Educational sectors. Upon brainstorming the game plan for the workshop and how to make the most of it for the most students, the team also envisioned that participation would be a challenge - the event was held in the town library - a place infrequently visited by anyone, let alone high schoolers! The solution? Everyone got to work to gather students from our target age with nothing to do from around the town square, and they all pitched in to make a poster out of post-its to lure the students to have a look at the volunteer's professional experiences and interests, and to add their own alongside. You can a couple of the post-it's on our last photo :)

The initiative worked, and slowly but surely, the room we had allocated began to fill up with students. The first part of the workshop included a short question and answer session designed as an icebreaker, but also a way to let everyone huddle up and get to know who they might be talking to. Check out the students Dimitar, an IT volunteer, is introducing himself to - half of them decided to join the workshop straight from the football pitch!

In the second part of the workshop, each of the volunteers invited whoever it was among the students they left an impression on to have a more in-depth discussion about their career plans, and offered their advice and contact as a continuation. Despite his sporty personality, Dimitar attracted the attention not of the footballers but of a couple of other students who sat in on the event from the sidelines, yet, they actually did dream of growing into IT professionals. This resonates with a consistent lesson we learned throughout this pilot year of career workshops - it takes time, interest, understanding, and a genuine effort to reach out and be beneficial to the students who might need it the most.

As the school year draws to a close by the end of the month, we have now engaging our volunteers to systematize this and other lessons gathered from the past school year so as to prepare to hit the ground running in the next one. Watch out for our next report to learn what follows!

Until then, thanks once more for allowing us to do what we do.

Best regards,

Dancho and the Step for Bulgaria team

P.S. If you like what we do, please consider becoming a recurrent donor! Check out and share our other projects, too, at Mentoring Program for Underprivileged Youth and Teach life skills to children without parents!

Dimitar, an IT volunteer, with some students
Dimitar, an IT volunteer, with some students
Dimitar going in-depth into how to get a job in IT
Dimitar going in-depth into how to get a job in IT
Post-its
Post-its
 
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