Grias-di Austria, here I am!

Hello lovely people!

I am Aleksandra and I come from Poland. I have been working as an ESK volunteer since the early October of 2020. My Austrian adventure started in a Youth Centre “Yunit” in Schwaz. It’s an amazing place for youth to spend their free time.  Even though it has a lot of things to offer, e.g. board games, billiard and snacks, the best thing about Yunit is its stuff – a group of compassionate people, who are always full of ideas. They deeply care about the local community and no matter the circumstances, they find a way to bond with the youth. Watching them interacting with teenagers made me sure that I would be surrounded by complete professionals for the next year.

One of the projects, which were undertaken before lockdown, was painting a wall. Youngsters were supposed to paint particular parts of the wall according to their wish. It was not only an opportunity for kids to express themselves artistically, but also to leave their own permanent mark, therefore contributing to the youth centre.

I think we can all agree that we live in peculiar times. Covid turned our world around, forcing us to face problems that we didn’t expect. Lockdown, which started at the beginning of November, completely changed the way in which Yunit works. Youth centre had to be closed but it didn’t stop the crew from caring about the teenagers in Schwaz. Part of the team started doing street work which turned out to be successful and appreciated by both teenagers and parents. Moreover, we stay in touch with youth via Instagram. On @yunit.schwaz (Follow us, if you can!), teens can find awesome recipes, present ideas, take part in photo contests and much more.

Due to the closure of my youth centre, I was transferred to work in a retirement home. Even though I wasn’t surrounded by youngsters anymore, I found this experience truly nice. I met tons of new people who made me feel appreciated every day of my work. I feel lucky that my volunteering project gives me opportunities to grow and develop in so many ways. Even when things don’t go as planned, they can be fixed with a little patience and creativity. 

Limitations and the lockdown have hardly any positive sides but if there is any lesson I learnt from this – it is to always be flexible. The ever-changing world calls for unconventional solutions. Adaptability might be the most valuable feature in these uncertain times. Swimming with the flow and being open for changes will bring us way more joy than hanging on tightly to a plan. 

I have no idea what 2021 will bring but I am ready and excited for whatever may come!