Earlier this year I decided to participate for the ACT: Youth in Movement project because I was ready for a new challenge and wanted to develop skills that would equip me for a career in the charity sector. It is fair to say that my ACT experience has exceeded my expectations as I have grown personally and professionally.
As a part of our journey we were given the freedom to create our own personal projects to implement with members of the centres at which we volunteer. The journey to creating and implementing these workshops was more challenging than I would have previously thought, as it was challenging to engage participants, and create a project that they too could feel a part of. As the weeks went by, and as I began to voice my ideas about projects that could be implemented, I learnt how communication with team members can nourish an idea and allow it to grow and become reality as the support and advice I received from my fellow volunteers was extremely valuable.
Finally, I finalised my idea and created an art workshop with the purpose of bringing many migrants and locals together to make personal and shared art out of recycled materials. Every week more and more people show an interest in this workshop as the art that we make together is very beautiful and easy to make. The project takes place in a local community garden and a brilliant side effect of this workshop is that the art we have created has been used to decorate the garden and make it more beautiful.
Whilst I was planning and leading the art workshop on a weekly basis, ideas had also been growing in my mind about musical workshops we could implement in the Kindergarten where I volunteer. With the help of my mentor I have been able to implement these ideas and have created a musical instrument creating workshop with the children, where they enjoyed making and playing maracas. Since the initial workshop here, I have also led a dance and rhythm workshop with the children. My work in the kindergarten is the most rewarding aspect of my role as a volunteer, as I have discovered a new passion for working with children.
Another rewarding experience of my journey was my participation in an Erasmus funded youth exchanged named Pride and Prejudice that invited young people from Hungary, Slovenia, Spain, Italy, Gambia and Guinea to participate in a week of activities, games, and experiences that all had the purpose of combating prejudice, and celebrating the beauty of unique cultures. During this week I met many amazing people from all over the world and learnt a lot about their individual cultures, and in learning about our cultures we had the chance to critically evaluate the concept of prejudice, why it exists, and how we as young people can combat it.
Having now lived in Palermo for three months, bringing me to the half-way point of my experience I can conclude that I have well and truly found my feet and feel at home in this beautifully diverse and exciting city. Time has passed by so quickly as I have emerged myself in activities, events, protests and people. I believe that the remainder of my time here can only become more exciting as my projects and friendships expand.