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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about volunteering in the Europe Direct of Komotini…

- How many voluntary groups active in the region?

In the context of volunteering and building an active citizen in society of the future of the Europe Direct of Komotini have developed the following groups: «FIRST ASK!», «Information Technology-Communications», «Human Rights and Rights of the Child», «Environmental Awareness »,« Contact with the media »,« Current European issues and programmes »,« Employment, education and training »,« Delivery of the programme 'Youth in Action' »,« Organization and renewing library material » , «Group for people with disabilities», «Protection of the consumer», «Affairs culture - European Year of Intercultural Dialogue», «Contact with NGOs and International Organizations »,« Group gender equality ».

- What is the agenda of these groups and what areas of action have chosen?

Each volunteer group has as its fundamental purpose of providing the community of the wider region. This is why the design of subjects and fields of activity has been carried out with great care.
Indicatively, the voluntary group «FIRST ASK!» was launched on 19 November 2007 the most initiative campaign on the occasion of the action taken under the Dialogue and Analysis Laboratory European Affairs on «European policy for public health and prevention» . With the support of the General Secretariat of Youth (www.neagenia.gr) and NGOs PRAKSIS (www.praksis.gr) members of this group have undertaken to inform more than 5,000 young people of our city to places where they enjoying themselves on smoking, alcohol consumption, the use of substances and prevent them from sexually transmitted diseases by using a modern language away from stereotypical perceptions of the past.
Also, the group «Information Technology-Communications» which the 35 members each Saturday from 16:30-19:30 attend courses free of charge for use of the PC in accordance with the formal educational materials (syllabus) of ECDL Core.
After, the group «Rights of the Child» encompass within the students who want to work together with groups of students from other European countries for the rights of the child by performing an exchange by 1.1 Action Programme «Youth in Action», European Commission .
Finally, the volunteer group «Environmental awareness» continues the action since December 2006 with a different theme: awareness through the creation of a training programme for the last three classes of the Primary School around the forest and its protection.

- What is the profile of volunteers? Sex, age, educational level?

The majority of volunteers are students of the Democritus University of Thrace mainly from the Departments of Law, Greek Literature and Social Administration. Predominates in a largely female gender and age ranges between 19 and 21. The common, however, in the profile of each volunteer is the willingness to help those who need support to fight adversity and weaknesses in order to ensure a better future for all.

- Which is exactly the role of coordinator?

The role of coordinator is particularly important for the smooth functioning and achieving the goals of each group. Specifically, the Coordinator has to identify training needs, to make an assessment of the real contributions of volunteers, provides an opportunity for volunteers to improve, recognize signs the Europe Direct of Komotini needs improvement or change, reflects on the part of various volunteers improvement proposals and ensure the integrity of volunteering through the proper application of the four stages of Cycle Management of Volunteers (1. Attract and selection of volunteers, 2. Orientation and Training of volunteers, 3. Supervision and evaluation of volunteers, 4. Rewarding and recognition of volunteers)

- Is there a willingness to cooperate or each team wants to pull its lonely path?

When individual thematic groups can be combined with each other, leading the work of these groups in a better result then not only is the willingness to cooperate but sought. One example is the group «FIRST ASK!» Whose members after the first phase of informing young people of the hot and urgencies smoking, alcohol consumption, substance use and sexually transmitted diseases were divided into four sub-groups each of which deals with an issue of this campaign by developing contacts with various NGOs.

- Where is the place where you make your meetings and where someone can find you?

There isn’t an especially place where the volunteers make theirs meetings. Anyone who wants can visit us in the Europe Direct of Komotini pedestrian street across the Post Office (M. M. Vassilliou 5) or contact us at the contact numbers of Europe Direct of Komotini.

- What is our image of the presence of not so widely known voluntary organisations in our country?

Unfortunately, in our country the voluntary sector has fallen several years behind other European Union countries. Data from various studies that have been made for the participation of Greeks in voluntary activities is dispiriting and particularly worrying for the future of Greek society. Approximately 75% of respondents said that they actively participate in any organisation while 37% is the degree of participation of young Greeks, aged 15-24 in voluntary activities - from the lowest entire European Union. Certainly we should not forget the shining example of the 2004 Olympic Games which is a promise for the future of volunteering in our country since 160,000 were filed formal requests for the voluntary program, a figure that represents Olympic record!

- What is the corresponding figure in Thrace;

If judging by the number of voluntary organisations in that area, we are on track. We, however find useful to organize a three-day events for better knowledge and young people dealing with what these organizations and how they could help themselves in their work. We are sure that through such contact would occur fine ideas for the implementation of future actions which will mainly benefit the community. In any case, the challenge is the cooperation of organizations based on a voluntary basis.

- It is customary to start something with desire and passion and then atonei interest in the field of voluntary action. How to ensure the continued presence of volunteers?

Indeed, there are few times those voluntary groups stop their operation and began with so much warmth and exemplary dedication. But you will not find this on voluntary groups of the Europe Direct of Komotini because volunteers of their age are open-minded, easily absorb new ideas, which are flexible, without prejudices and overcome by an endless and wonderful enthusiasm. In addition, because of realistic objectives set by each team, the results of the efforts of volunteers are visible gemizontas with more confidence and appetite for new, original initiatives.
A typical example is the voluntary Environmental awareness group, whose members have created a training package on climate change as building material from the campaign «You control climate change» the European Commission and the campaign «The climate is in your hand!» NGO WWF Greece (htpp://www.wwf.gr), have designed a game for biodiversity and recycling, organized the action «The whole city by bike »in the European Youth Week 2007 and met with Mayor of Komotini, Mr. Kotsakis, which discussed ways of tackling feral animals, proposals for implementing comprehensive recycling program and the creation of a road for bicycles.

- Volunteering can provide the answer in addressing the problems and bottlenecks citizens? Or finally is weak response?

We believe that volunteering is the answer at the problems and bottlenecks of citizens and society by extension. More specifically, volunteering is an element of good governance and development and is an important means by which people express their obligations as citizens, with a view to creating and maintaining a stable and structured society. In other words volunteering makes people act for the general good of society, creates bonds of trust, encourage cooperation and substantially promote social capital. In this context, volunteering helps to integrate into society people have been left behind and are excluded. For example, people with disabilities participate in volunteering alter the negative stereotype that is simply passive recipients of welfare.
In the same context, volunteering offers new opportunities for personal improvement and offer valuable foundation for the exercise of their rights as citizens.
In addition, volunteer plays an important role in fighting unemployment and promoting full employment, after strengthens the confidence of those seeking work, giving them access to workplaces and giving them the opportunity to develop skills that are necessary in the labour market.
Finally, volunteer increases the quality of services provided by the State, after much work undertaken voluntarily by the people, for example, advising the construction of a cultural centre in a city, are valuable aids in services can provide State officials. It is obvious that the people volunteering to strength, promote solidarity, encourages participation, strengthen social cohesion, contribute to finding solutions to major social issues and protects the vulnerable strata of people from economic, social and political marginalisation.



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