As president of the Ivanov School of Leaders Alumni Association I worked on a project titled “Dreaming in color” which was one of our first activities several months after the formation of the organization. The idea was to find a way to present to high school students the benefits of volunteering in a fun and interactive way, so they will better understand our message that through volunteering they will gain an advantage that in future will provide experience and opportunities that are priceless. But, let`s start from the very beginning and why volunteerism.
Since I was very young, I was part of the NGO sector and have volunteered on a number of activities. It all started when I was part of the Children’s Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia, and had the first lectures on topic of leadership, when I was 14-15 years during the training for club leaders within this organization. There I met the first group that did not have a price on their effort. They gained there much more: contacts, education, and support for their actions. Then, as member of in the Association for Democratic Values, at the beginning of my high school days, I worked on a project called “You decide for your future” for informing my peers about all universities and the various areas of study possible in the country. The idea was to organize meetings with representatives from all faculties where they can be asked different questions connected to the studies they offer and present the programs. The project was very successful and as a reward I got the opportunity to be part of training in communication with media, networking of organizations, and project development, with the best trainers in Macedonia. That was another priceless experience and very helpful for building reputation. Meanwhile, the drama section and the activity as a reporter from my high school for the national television enabled me to develop communication skills and body language. That is why I was invited to be the host of the most popular educational TV program when I came to study political science in Skopje. One year I volunteered there and I gained excellent experience in working with media. Interviews, reports and visits were part of my everyday life, and would have never been part of that world, if I have not previously use the occasion to be part of the world where the trigger is not always the price. Nevertheless, often it is paid later, and much more. The success during the studies, the respect of my colleagues, and the high esteem professors hold on me, allowed me to be part of the first English Master studies and go to summer school in Seggau, Austria. It also provide me place in the team that worked on the campaign of the President of the Republic of Macedonia, Dr. Gjorge Ivanov, and the opportunity to share the victory of the professor who was a founding father of the political studies department at the state university. Another volunteer activity, with many sleepless nights making analyzes and everyday conversations with citizens at the headquarters, that lead to an extraordinary opportunity. Professor Ivanov, in position of the President of Macedonia now, organize annual School for young leaders under his patronage and I had the opportunity to be part of the first one in 2010, when I spent 10 excellent days in Ohrid with a fascinating group of 35 participants discussing and exchanging thoughts and experiences with the best professors, diplomats, businessman, journalists and trainers from different areas of action and different parts of the world. Enchanting sense of belonging and honor was to be part of the school! And, that`s not all. At a seminar organized for the first generation the lecturer proposed us to unite and try to make a change in our lives first, and then in others, by acting in association. We all found the idea very interesting and provocative, thinking that because we have been chosen to have this experience, we are obliged to give back. Then to my surprise, my colleagues from the school suggested I`d be the president of the association. Now, the privilege to be president of the leaders` association of the president of the country is truly priceless! Volunteering on behalf of the best is the culmination of long run in efforts and validation. The horizon of possibilities have become endless. To work and getting mature within a group of ambitious, intelligent and proactive people is a great relief. They are always focused on a brighter future and have managerial approach to the challenges that makes them unstoppable. In addition, the possibility of international experience in many other leadership, managerial and professional trainings and conferences, and building a network of contacts of proven and highly ranked individuals from around the world like the General Secretary of the UN Ban Ki-moon is due to, as before, the way I spent my time in the past.
It was time to give back. I wanted to point out to young people that they have a unique opportunity in a certain part of their life to do what makes them happy, and thus only the experience and results are necessary and sufficient for them at that time. Then they are in a position to measure gains not in numbers and benefits, but in knowledge, exchange and emotions. That is something that merges the whole executive board of ISLAA. That is why we decided to create the “Dreaming in color” where we will explain to Macedonian youth how dreams can come true. It consists of two parts, first we have an interactive lecture, and in the second, an exercise. In the first part through defined steps we advice them how to fulfill dreams through volunteering. We make the Board of dreams where we put the answers of the question: What you want to become? Then by taking a bill and calling someone to take it we stress how the dream starts realize through action. Once you select a where you wish to volunteer and become part of a team, the fun starts, and career building too. However, they need to understand that part of the fun is failing also. Fortunately, failure makes you a step ahead of others as long as they learn from the mistake. Then, step by step, lesson by lesson, the success is inevitable. Then it leads to a new dream, a new challenge since success is path and not destination. Volunteering let you to open the door by yourself that becomes harder and harder as time past by. In the second part through an exercise present that sometimes different perspectives are roads that so not have meeting point because we have not stayed long enough on them. Through the initiative to understand and cooperate, we will reach the intersection points that will force us to think and act “out of the box”. Moreover, there is progress! Reactions of the first holding of this training were better than expected. Children’s eyes were curious about the message or image from the next slide, they raised hands high on every issue, and awarded us with loud applause after each training, encouraging us immensely. We knew that the message is transmitted!
We cannot show that we have changed someone’s life, but we know that anyway. We are aware that only through formal education, youth cannot realize their capabilities, so to resist the youthful spirit and all the vices of the 21st century, they should be dedicated to true goals. Sometimes it is difficult when we think that our labor is not paid or we invested too much time and effort, but the value of quality will be recognized on the end no matter what. However, to achieve quality, beside effort and perseverance, we need love. We need to work with love, and do the things you love, so no one could tell how much worth. As long as you continuously develop and prove yourself till the day when you get everything you deserve and more, you will find yourself not working at all. When you find something you love to do, and you become good at it, you will never have to work a day in your life. So, start volunteering; you will learn how to be good at what you like, and succeed. Don`t let yourself be unexploited potential, undiscovered talent or irresponsible citizen when the day will come for you to make the change. Determination and dedication will help you make the right choices when it comes to your team and interest, and on the end, you will set the price of your efforts because you will be the best.
*This article was part of the regional youth contemporary magazine Iuventa