What are better alternatives to volunteering

My voluntary social year in a daycare center

Why did you want to do a voluntary service?

I decided to do a voluntary service because at first I didn't know what to do after school. I wanted to have a break from studying first, but not sit around lazily. I also wanted to get an insight into the professional world.

What do you think volunteering will bring you?

A voluntary service brings you many new experiences, impressions and experiences that are both positive and negative. Nevertheless, they are (almost) all important for life. On duty you often look into a completely different world, you get to know a lot of things in a completely new way or you learn to look at things from a completely different perspective. Service in general, whether it be half a year or a full year, changes you quite a bit. I myself have the feeling that through the service I have become a lot more adult and more independent, because there are situations in which you have to overcome yourself or in which others trust you much more than you trust yourself.

What did you learn in your voluntary service?

I have learned what it is like to take on responsibility, that you often do not trust yourself enough, that "just doing" is often a better alternative, that it is the little things that make you particularly happy and that it is worthwhile to keep going, even when things go bad. But above all, I have learned how to (correctly) deal with children with and without mental or physical impairment.

What was the most moving moment in your volunteer service?

I wouldn't say that there was that moment with me. There are so many different moments that show that you are doing something good for everyone. It is amazing how the children develop a relationship with you and after a short time ask for you or come up to you and call your name. Every progress is a moving moment - for example, I watch some children learn to walk and speak their first words.

What do you like about the seminars with us?

The seminars with the group and the Elsa team are always a welcome change. As soon as it is the first day of the seminar, it feels like going on vacation with a group that you've known for ages.

What I like about the seminars is the good atmosphere and the variety. For example, the exchange of experiences is designed differently each time, a wheelchair experience is experienced in small groups or group cohesion is strengthened in the Beach Center. The team also addresses the needs of the group. It asks what topics we want to deal with and is always available to offer advice and assistance.

Why are you doing your voluntary service at the Elsa Brändström House?

I felt at home in "Elsa" from the very first minute. I was warmly welcomed at my information meeting and I was given great support in my search for the right place to be. At first I didn't really know which position was right for me, so I was allowed to look at different positions and then make a decision.

What advice would you give to future volunteers?

If you are unsure whether an FSJ or BFD is right for you, I can only tell you that you will not lose anything if you choose it. The volunteer year is a time I will never forget. During this time I have met a lot of new people who want exactly what I do: to help other people and gain new experiences.