Help Another—Become a Friend is a recent project being developed by Caritas of the Sambir-Drohobych Eparchy in the L’viv region. The goal of this project is to integrate disabled children into main stream society by using volunteers as friends. Volunteers are prepared for working long term with special needs individuals.
“In fact, the essence of the project is to encourage young people to form friendships with their disabled counterparts. Physically and mentally challenged young people are no different than other children. They also need friendly support, love, understanding, and to feel that they are needed by someone. We can offer these things to them and, in turn can learn a lot from them.
First of all, not to get discouraged, not to give up, and not to get depressed because we think no one needs us,” says Vasyl, a local Caritas volunteer.
The Drohobych Caritas has already completed a list of trainings and workshops for volunteers. During a recent series of trainings on “Volunteerism as a force for changing yourself and society,” participants received a lot of new and interesting information.
Fr. Ihor Kozankevych, Director of the regional Caritas branch says: “It is pleasant that young people are ready to learn, prepare themselves to work with special needs children and youngsters, and are ready to give them their positive outlook, strength, time and friendship. Interactive assignments conducted with the volunteers helped determine the kinds of activities that will be used in future friend pairs which are created by joining a young volunteer with a special needs child.
After the successful completion of the preparatory trainings, on 9 November the volunteers and clients had a chance to meet at the Caritas of the Sambir-Drohobych Eparchy facilities. Various games, a friendly atmosphere, openness and a joyous attitude helped the pairs learn many new things about one another. The event ended with refreshments and the unveiling of future meetings for the friend pairs.
At the local Caritas they are saying: “Listen to your heart, maybe God is calling you to be a friend for a special needs child. Your friend is waiting for you at Caritas of the Sambir-Drohobych Eparchy at Chornovola Street 4, in Drohobych.”
You can also contact them by phoning +38 (03244) 22458.