Cooperation with the youth is one of our top priorities and our goal is to provide assistance to children and families in difficulties. The key methodological principle used by Caritas staff is not only to help those in need, but to assist them in finding strength to overcome crisis individually, develop their inner potential and artistic skills, prepare the youth for the future independent life. That is why various events are held under the projects, and school holidays are a perfect occasion to expand the activities combining an exciting leisure and an intense development component.
Vocational orientation is one of the key components of youth projects aimed at preparation of teenagers for a conscious choice of profession, finding their place in society and familiarization with different jobs. These autumn holidays, Caritas Kyiv opened a vocational camp to introduce different professions to teenagers. One day, the centre was visited by an emergency medical service team. Children learnt more about a hard work of an emergency doctor, found out more about the emergency car equipment and acquired useful skills how to give the first aid. The camp also emphasized the importance of development skills for individual running of business, and children got an opportunity to see the process from the inside during the excursion to a banana farm near Kyiv. In the miracle greenhouse of Anatoliy Patiy, who devoted all his life to the development special varieties of pot fruits, children saw with their own eyes how bananas, pistachio nuts, figs, lemons, tangerines, pineapples and a real coffee tree grow, and also discovered how to acquire success in growing exotic plants under unfavourable Ukrainian weather conditions.
Autumn holidays were also used for vocational activities in Khmelnytskyi to make children’s leisure time during holidays positive, interesting and useful. Teenagers visited Vocational college No.11 where they got a chance to familiarize themselves with technical creativity, principles of marketing and management in a student business centre and secrets of TV shows making. A drums masterclass became a pleasant surprise. The following day, Khmelnytskyi centre of vocational education for service industry organized the Day of beauty and a hairdressing masterclass. Boys got a chance to have a new haircut and girls learnt how to make beautiful hairstyles.
The choice of a future profession is an important step in a life of each person. That is why vocational visits to companies of the city are a regular occasion under a youth project at Caritas Ternopil, and holidays are a perfect opportunity to facilitate the process. Teenagers visited Ternopil meat processing plant where they saw the complete process of meat and preserved food production, discovered more about labour management in a big company and tasted delicious meat products.
Wards of centres for children and youth not only receive charitable support and services, but also learn how to implement charitable initiatives and events. Wards of the Social centre for children and youth at Caritas Lviv took part in a quest “Good deeds” in hypermarket “Auchan City South”. During the quest, teenagers together with employees of the hypermarket helped customers and tried to find an answer to a question “What is kindness and solidarity?” The quest ended with a sweet masterclass in decorating cakes and discussion about good deeds. Such cooperation is not a one-time event. Auchan Foundation for Youth cooperates with the social centre on a regular basis and assists with organization of various events. Wards of the centre visit Auchan, where interesting masterclasses, quests and vocational trainings are organized for children.
But holidays are also about rest and recreation. Children, visiting Caritas centres, not often have a possibility to get positive emotions, and that is why a lot of events were aimed at rest and active leisure time. The first time this year, Caritas of Kolomyia-Chernivtsi Eparchy organized an autumn camp in Iltsi village of Verkhovyna district. Professional entertainers prepared a varied programme of active leisure events for 50 children. Days started with a pray, followed by morning exercises, various training, masterclasses, theme parties, films and games. Psychologists conducted individual consulting for kids. Children also visited local museums, which helped them feel the spirit of Hutsulschyna and local traditions, get lots of emotions and impressions. “I am eager to visit such camps every month, every week, every day’, one of the camp participants, Ivanko, shares his impression.
‘Parents quite often do not give kids a chance to settle problem individually’, Nataliia Hryhoruk, a Director of the Centre, says. ‘In our camps kids learn to stand up for themselves without resorting to force. They learn to settle conflict peacefully and find ways to deal with people. We saw the other side of our visitors. Although it was snowing in the mountains, we were safe and warm, staying in a wonderful place overlooking Verkhovyna’.
Entertainment and educational activities were also conducted in other cities. A masterclass of dotted art “Autumn landscape” was the final chord of the holidays for pupils in Khmelnytskyi. Children from Lviv used a warm autumn day to combine communicative skills with rest during a walk in the forest, where they had fun, participated in quest games and simply amused themselves.
Holidays ended, children got back to school and Caritas staff continued their activities. Christmas holidays, winter camps and a lot of entertainment activities lay ahead for young Caritas wards.