As I mentioned previously, my past three weekends from 9a until 5p have been spent facilitating, leading and organizing trainings for youth in Balti, on Leadership, Volunteering and Project Management. These trainings are a part of a larger initiative that myself and two of my fellow PCV site mates have been working on since August.
Over the course of these weekends we’ve had 51 different youth attend, with daily numbers ranging from 31 to 36 (so, some turnover of attendees). Some of the youth seemed to be there to socialize, but the majority were engaged, interested and participatory. There were sessions that went incredibly well, where the youth were interested, engaged and clearly enjoying learning, and other sessions that did not go as well, where the youth were clearly not interested. (I even led a session on marketing, in Romanian!)
This past Sunday was the final day of the youth trainings. While the day was hectic, the closing made all the hours of work worthwhile. At the end of the day one of the facilitators had the youth say what they liked best about the weekends and a girl, who speaks no english and less Romanian than I do, (she’s a primarily Russian speaker) said her favorite part was her new friend Leah. Another of the youth, who attends a Romanian school, told the story of his friends who told him not to attend the trainings, who he told to check out the facebook page and then whose friends said they wished they were attending.
There was also the moment when half the students in the room gave us a standing ovation thankyou for the trainings. Then after the sessions ended, a girl who speaks english, came up to tell us that these weekends were the most useful and interesting she’s ever had and that she was sad they were over. These moments, where these youth who gave up three of their weekends for trainings were thanking us, made all the late nights, stressful moments and work more than worth it.
Over the next three months these attendees will work with mentors to complete projects in the community. These kids are motivated and now they’re equipped with more tools to change their community, so I can’t wait to see what they do.