Spaniards know how to use the many years of professional experience (but not only) of their seniors so that they can feel needed when they retire. They taught educators from Elbląg and the region how to do it. It was an international training, which took place from 23rd to 26th September 2019 at CSE (Center for European Meetings) "Światowid" in Elbląg as a part of the Erasmus+ project called "Elbląg educators for seniors".
CSE "Światowid" in Elbląg, having completed a number of implemented cultural projects and many years of experience in organizing educational and cultural activities, responding to the needs of seniors is preparing to create a network of senior volunteering in Elbląg. Step by step, we aim to teach ourselves and our local seniors activity that is the standard in the countries that are partners of our project. The result is to encourage older people to participate in activities offered by local institutions, and to maximize their involvement in activities for their own community using their knowledge and skills. By reaching out especially to people who have not yet used outdoor forms of spending time, we want to motivate seniors to act, and thus prevent their disadvantage, marginalization and exclusion.
When a Spaniard ends his professional life, he knows that a house or an allotment are not the only forms of spending time available to him. One of them is volunteering, in which the AIFED association from Granada specializes. Representatives of this association trained educators from our region.
- The entire society benefits from senior volunteering- explained Maria Jose Martinez Gonz-Outze from the AIFED association, which has been engaging senior citizens in volunteering for over twenty-five years. - Thanks to this form of activity, seniors do not feel alienated. In turn, younger generations benefit from their knowledge and experience. For such a volunteer, payment is satisfaction and the feeling that he is needed- explained Maria.
Volunteering in Spain has many faces. It can be a form of mentoring cooperation based on a student-master relationship when the senior engage in a specific project. Then the volunteer provides his experience to younger generations, for example in the field of management.
- Everything depends on the will and needs of the senior- said Maria Jose Martinez Gonz-Outze. - Volunteering can also be a series of monthly lectures, preparation of a project or taking care of a child.
Under its wings, Spanish AIFED brings together over a thousand members across the country. Volunteers are people with various professions, including seniors who have been successful in their professional lives. Today supporting local entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, restaurant owners. They share their knowledge and experience. They are also former university lecturers helping young people to study, or artists like our guest, Luis Miguel Prieto Ferron.
Luis Miguel Prieto Ferron was professionally associated with photography. As a volunteer, he runs cycles of workshops for the youth and seniors in Granada. In Elbląg, he also shared his skills, introducing the secrets of photography. Seniors from Elbląg and nearby towns participated in the meetings.
The international training was also attended by external educators invited by CSE "Światowid", who learned, among others, how to prepare good projects for volunteers - seniors, how to engage seniors in activities, changing their minds, or how to prepare good photo projects with seniors.
The leader of the project called "Elbląg educators for seniors" is CSE "Światowid" in Elbląg. The Center is a cultural, educational, media and information self-government cultural institution. The main goal of the Center is to implement voivodship tasks in the field of creativity and its dissemination, cultural education, information (including media activities), promotion of the region, education through art, sport and tourism.
The project involves the exchange of "Światowid" good practices in cooperation with institutions from three countries - Spain, Italy and Germany.
Partners: Asociación de Innovación, Formación y Empleo para el Desarrollo sostenible, Spain – EURO-NET, Italy – International Exchanges Berlin Molinari & Benedetti GbR, Germany
The "Elbląg educators for seniors" project is implemented with the support of the European Union Erasmus+ program.
Author: Karolina Śluz