The "Projector": 17 years – hundreds of stories was the watchword of the “Projector – Student Volunteers” program anniversary celebrations that took place in Lublin on July 15 and 16. The guests included student volunteers, teachers and experts who had participated in the program and came to attend the event from all over Poland.
‘Thank you my dear students for your involvement and energy to act for the benefit of children. Thank you my dear teachers for offering space and trust to our volunteers. I would also like to thank the Program Team, people who have the courage and initiative to convince others that it is worth continuing actions that are very important and needed for children from small towns and villages. Working together we have created not hundreds but thousands of stories and I know that next stories will be written by all those who are involved in development of the ‘Projector’,” Program Director Kamil Wrzos said in his address at the opening of the meeting.
Special gratitude for program organizers and participants was expressed by Polish-American Freedom Foundation Program Officer Mirosław Czyżewski who noted that “Projector – Student Volunteers” plays significant role in the area of educational initiatives of Polish-American Freedom Foundation aimed at equaling opportunities of children and young people in villages and small towns.
The presentation summing up the to-date results of the Projector was given by Program Specialist Monika Wasilonek and Project and Evaluation Specialist Marta Jaśkiewicz. And the results are really impressive – since 2003 over 40,000 educational projects have been implemented at almost 3,000 schools all over Poland, and they involved participation of 15,000 student volunteers and ca. 439,000 school pupils and students. The program was supported by two former Prime Ministers – Prof. Jerzy Buzek and Prof. Marek Belka, who conducted classes for school students acting as volunteers in several rural communes in summer 2007. Under the 17th round in 2021 student volunteers implemented as many as 1275 educational projects at almost 270 schools all over Poland. Most of them were under the paths of Support for Children from Ukraine (589), Workshops with a Challenge (199) and edu-Lifeguards (173).
Under Projector’s Live Library program participants shared their experiences gained in the projects implementation. The Career topic was presented by Kamil Wrzos, who started his work for the program in 2005 as a volunteer, next he was a Regional Coordinator, and now is the Program Director. Izabela Jaskólska of the School and Pre-School Complex in Kazuń Nowy spoke about value of teaching and teacher’s work. Projector’s Ambassador and many-year volunteer Piotr Pawłowski shared his views on engagement in helping others and the role of volunteering in his life. In turn Kamila Rak, a volunteer conducting classes under Workshops with a Challenge initiative explained how one can combine studies with volunteering, work, private life and personal development.
The participants of the anniversary meeting took also part in workshops on good practices in storytelling and in artistic work on comic books. That part of the meeting was conducted by Grzegorz Olifirowicz – a businessman, coach, games and gamification creator, and Dominik Szcześniak – a comic book creator, editor-in-chief of “Ziniol” magazine, presenter of Halo Comic Book program on Radio Lublin and comic book workshops coordinator at Culture Point in Lublin.
The 17th anniversary was also an occasion to present the new website of the “Projector”.
The host of the celebrations was Małgorzata Węglińska.
Launched in 2003 “Projector – Student Volunteers” is a program of Polish-American Freedom Foundation, managed by the Educational Enterprise Foundation. Its objective is to equal educational opportunities of children and young people in villages and small towns. Under the program, groups of student volunteers implement projects prepared by themselves which improve knowledge, skills and develop interests of children and young people. The projects are implemented during the time free from school classes during the school year and at winter and summer breaks. The projects are related to a certain field of science, subject or selected area of activity; they can be arts, sports, informatics, theatrical or language classes. By promoting positive role models the program encourages children and young people to develop their talents, while in students it develops the sense of social responsibility and solidarity, at the same time allowing them to pursue their own passions and interests in an attractive form.
Between 2005 and 2010, the program was carried out by the Polish Association of Pedagogues and Animators “Klanza”. Later, until 2017, the program was implemented by the Foundation for the Development of Voluntary Service.
Photos by KEOLA Studio and Dominika Flis-Siwek