I am originally from a small seaside town in the North East of England called Redcar but I currently live in London.
I am completely new to volunteering with The Red Cross. My professional background is originally in the arts and more recently community based arts projects. I have done a lot of work with young people in school based settings and I took part in a 4 month tour of Italy delivering performance based workshops to help young Italian students develop their understanding of English. I have also done a tour taking shows to elderly people and people in assisted living who aren't able to make it to the theatre.
I was looking for volunteering opportunities as I knew I wanted to be involved in something larger than myself that is based upon humanitarian values. As the Red Cross has a world renowned reputation I looked on their website and saw this opportunity. I knew nothing about Armenia which intrigued me as I like to learn about new cultures. I was drawn to the activities of the Youth Department as I found there psycho social support projects interesting particularly the fact that they work with young Syrian refugees as it is an issue that is reported about a lot back in England. I also thought with my previous experience of working with young people that my skills could maybe be of more use within this placement.
We have been exposed to and educated about all the ongoing projects within the youth department and the environment is very supportive. We are mainly focusing on creating and delivering HIV prevention and Healthy Lifestyle sessions in English. We are currently researching and compiling the content of these sessions and are approaching institutes that might be interested. We also provide support with the psycho social programs such as Smiley Club and PSS. We try to get involved with anything going on within the department and provide assistance where possible.
I am really enjoying my time as a volunteer with ARCS. It is a very different and enriching experience and I am learning a lot about not only The Armenian Red Cross but the Global Red Cross movement. It is such an inspiring environment and I am very proud to be a part of it. I am also being exposed to the ethics and social conscious ideas of volunteering and humanitarian work. My belief is that if a program like EVS can help young people to find a way to channel their desires to help others and create better communities then it can only be a positive thing.
My expectations are to help others, learn about a different culture and to grow personally and professionally. I will definitely carry on volunteering when I get back to England and if I could one day work for The Red Cross in the future then that would be amazing.