Provide Long-Term Mentors to Disadvantaged Youth

by Step for Bulgaria Foundation Vetted since 2010 Project of the Month Site Visit Verified
Provide Long-Term Mentors to Disadvantaged Youth
Provide Long-Term Mentors to Disadvantaged Youth
Provide Long-Term Mentors to Disadvantaged Youth
Provide Long-Term Mentors to Disadvantaged Youth
Provide Long-Term Mentors to Disadvantaged Youth
Provide Long-Term Mentors to Disadvantaged Youth
Provide Long-Term Mentors to Disadvantaged Youth

Dear friend,

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.

With gratitude,

The Step for Bulgaria Foundation Team

We continue to build new structures from volunteer mentors. We also expand the reach of schools and settlements where career development workshops will be held. In the last quarter the high school in the town of Kostinbrod took part in a program.
We trained the new wave of mentors on 18/12/2018 in the company of Cargill Bulgaria.
The new volunteer-mentors will be committed to two classes, young people who graduate high school.
Young people from the last grades of their secondary education will get a great opportunity to get acquainted with mentors - volunteers with different professions. They will have the opportunity to touch on the actual application of the respective professions through internships provided by the partner companies.

After a series of structured conversations with our more experienced volunteers, we have come to the conclusion that all young people who have the right to meet through our career seminars and who express an interest in contacting a separate mentor should be able to choose their own our own mentor instead of collecting (according to us) our knowledge of their shared professional and personal interests. So we decided to bring together a team full of diverse professionals and in a way similar to our career seminars to invite them to meet with the students. This school year has a new wave of volunteers and two new schools from Pernik and Beli Bani are involved in the initiative.

Mentor picking
Mentor picking

Dear supporter,

Our #StepforBulgaria team is excited to share with you the latest news with our ongoing mission to provide a Mentoring Program for Underprivileged Youth!

June 12th marked our first-in-a-long-time new meet and greet of future new mentors and mentees! The introduction went incredibly well, and we are happy to report that it was attended by almost double the students, 19, instead of the 10 we had planned for, and still, there were a few who could not attend. All the more reasons for organizing another round soon :) 

Here's the full story:

After a series of structured conversations with our more experienced volunteers, we gathered everyone's opinion that the youths we have the privilege to come to know by means of our Career Workshops - and who express an interest in being paired with an individual mentor - should be allowed to pick their own mentor instead of them being artificially paired to one (by us) according to our knowledge of their shared professional and personal interests. So, we decided to gather a team full of diverse professionals and, in a manner much like our Career Workshops, invite them to come meet the students. The difference came from the fact that the focus of the conversation this time was not "how to structure my CV", but rather "how to pick somemone whom I can learn the most from".

The pretext allowed the students to go around the classroom in an informal setting and "shop" for the best mentors around. The results: out of 8 volunteers, 5 were occupied by 1 or more students by the end of the 2-hour ordeal. The other 3, alongisde a group of new volunteers, are currently hosting an open day event at their company to meet a few more of the students :) We eager to find out and let you know, too, what happens next in our next report, so stay tuned!

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 Teaching Life Skills to Children without Parents and Fast-Track Career Development for At-Risk Youths!

Getting to know each other in depth
Getting to know each other in depth
Newly formed mentoring pair :)
Newly formed mentoring pair :)
Zhivko and his mentor
Zhivko and his mentor

Dear supporter,

Our #StepforBulgaria team is excited to share with you the latest news with our ongoing mission to provide a Mentoring Program for Underprivileged Youth!

 

A happened since you last heard from us. In any given month of the year, our youths need help with trying to be successful at work or at school, having to move out of foster care and into private housing, looking for a job with no cushioned alternative, and many others. The past months have been full of all of these and then some. Today, we've chosen to tell you the story of one of our program's proud achievers - Zhivko.

 

Zhivko grew up without parents in foster care institutions outside of Sofia until his teenage years, when he transitioned to family-type housing on the outskirts of Sofia. Having known him since then, our organization has made Zhivko a key member of our mentoring program. He is among the mentees whom we've worked with for the longest, and he's been actively involved in many of the initiatives Step for Bulgaria has been organizing outside of the Mentoring program (for more information, check out our Teaching Life Skills to Children without Parents and our Fast-Track Career Development for At-Risk Youths projects).

As the story goes, Zhivko's mentor, Misho, helped him overcome many of the abovementioned obstacles that he's had to deal with. He had to deal with moving out and finding new housing in both 2016 and 2017, and last year he also worked hard to finish high school and to secure his first job. Relentlessly, with Misho's help, he has succeeded each time, step by step.

In an effort to help him save up money for university, Misho arranged to help Zhivko find a job with his friend working consdtruction in the UK in the fall of 2017. In the photos below, you can see him at the "deprtures" termnal at Sofia Airport, on his way to new dreams and aspirations. He began work practically as soon as he landed.

A couple of months passed and, although Zhivko enjoyed getting to know a new country and being able to afford a new guitar, he decided he missed home too much and he wanted to come back. Sure enough, in early December he bought a return ticket with his own savings and moved in with his girlfriend's family in a house on the outskirts of Sofia.

Despite the change in plans, it seems that Misho's mentoring has left Zhivko well-prepared for this move. As soon as he landed he had arranged for a job interview and took up work at a parcel delivery firm. To get to work from the outskirts of Sofia with no easy transport, he asked for our help in finding a car. Within two weeks, a couple of mentors were able to find him a good deal and, knowing him as a stand-up kid, signed a no-interest loan with him to purchase it using the funds they had pooled together. The latter was taken this March, with Zhivko on the way to work using this new car. 

If all is well as it is now, it seems like Zhivko will be needing our help less and less (should we figure out a mentoring graduation ceremony?) in the future. We will make sure to keep in touch with him though, and follow up on the other developments in our Mentoring program. Who knows, maybe Zhivko might like to become a mentor one day himself. So do be excited for our next reports!

Finally, none of the above would have been possible with your support. If you like what we do, please consider donating again to our Mentoring program or to our new Give lasting 1:1 career advice to 50 at-risk teens project.

Thanks once more for allowing us to do what we do.

Best regards,

Dancho and the Step for Bulgaria team 

Boarding to the UK
Boarding to the UK
Finding work in Bulgaria
Finding work in Bulgaria
 

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Organization Information

Step for Bulgaria Foundation

Location: Sofia - Bulgaria
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Veselina Vurgova
Sofia, Sofia Bulgaria

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