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Reflections on A Volunteer’s Role in Greece

Anna and her teammate Sonny explain a lesson.

Anna and her teammate Sonny explain a lesson.

Anna Goshua says the historic timing of her July Crete Service Program added significance to her volunteer contribution.  As the Greek government negotiated austerity measures with the EU, Anna focused her personal efforts on daily English lessons – to encourage her adolescent students to plan for their futures.  It brought into focus, she said, the importance of a steady stream of volunteers to serve childrens’ needs.  The students are divided, she reported, in their understanding and concern about current Greek financial woes:

On one end of the spectrum, some students acknowledge Greece’s “lack of money”, but are quite hopeful and confident that the situation will right itself in time. Others are very worried saying, ‘things are angry in Greece’.  Many of these same students have parents that are unemployed or whose job positions are precarious, she said, sharing one student’s reality:  ‘My parents haven’t got jobs. They are very, very sad.’  At the same time, their parents greet us every morning and afternoon cheerily, and often bake fresh goods that they have their children distribute to us.

She’s grateful to have been able to assist and support the children of Malevisiou – if even in a small way – through her language camp classes.

English language proficiency is a requirement to qualify for university in Greece. Private instruction is inaccessible to many because of (the expense). Our classes help to expose the kids to English and help them practice it, setting them on the path toward building that needed proficiency. I cannot honestly claim that our lessons function as full replacements for private instruction. A lack of volunteers really hurts, as it forces us to combine multiple grades. My teaching partner and I taught students from grades 4 to 6, for example, while the other pair of volunteers taught students from grades 1 to 3. Volunteers are essential – I cannot emphasize this enough.

She writes in her blog:  “I have to place trust in the dozens upon dozens of people from all over the globe-most of whose names I won’t even know, let alone meet” to carry on where she’s left off.

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