In this issue: New volunteering opportunities, more Future Problem Solving progress, the Invisible Children campaign, and our project and radio updates.
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Hands Up Volunteer Newsletter    July 2016

Become a Volunteer!
Click on the calendar to see what Helping Hand is doing this month.


International Youth Day Volunteering Events: Georgian Volunteers will be hosting youth events across the country on August 12. If you are interested in attending an event in your region, please send us an email to to be connected with your regional leader.

Volunteer at the Batumi Film Festival: The 11th Annual Batumi International Film Festival is looking for volunteers! If you want to volunteer at the event September 18-25 in any capacity - logistics, guiding guests, information center, media and public relations, translations, etc., sign up! Volunteers will get special access privileges, recommendations, and other perks. If you want more information, visit their website here or facebook page here.  Follow the link to sign up to volunteer!

Spreading the Word: Pilot Critical Thinking Program for Youth is Training New Coaches

How would you give more kids access to a great education? What would you do if cyber scammers stole your identity? What are the possibilities for using 3D printing to build homes, toys, prosthetics and even new skin? These questions and many more are real issues our world will have to address in the coming years. Tackling those big questions requires excellent critical thinking skills, and that’s what competitors in the Future Problem Solving Program (FPS) will learn to do. 

Rachel, our Peace Corps Response Volunteer, has been working to bring a pilot program in critical thinking for youth, Future Problem Solving (FPS), to Georgia. In July, we made another step towards making the program a reality. On July 18 in Kutaisi and July 26 in Tbilisi, Rachel and Anne Wolf, the Colorado FPS affiliate director, held an informational session and training for 20 interested Peace Corps Volunteers, Georgian organizational leaders, and Ministry of Education representatives. We introduced both aspects of the FPS Program - Global Issues Problem Solving (GiPS) and Community Problem Solving (CmPS) - and taught the groups the six-step problem solving method. GiPS is a two-hour competition to develop critical thinking in which four competitors 1)identify challenges, 2) identify and underlying problem, 3) identify solutions, 4) create criteria, 5) rank their solutions, and 6) write an action plan on themes they research including educational disparities, genetic modification, 3D printing, and identity theft. CmPS uses the six-step problem solving method to guide students as they identify and solve problems in their own communities. 

A number of those who attended the training session will form teams of youth and students in their communities to compete during the 2016-17 school year in GiPS and CmPS. Helping Hand will also form a team and will provide support, resources and training for the new coaches. We are excited to be piloting FPS in Georgia, and can’t wait to see the awesome competition and projects youth create through this program!

If you are interested in seeing what others are doing around the world with FPS, you can check out their facebook page or their website. If you are interested in joining FPS as a coach or a competitor for the upcoming year, please send an email to Helping Hand.

Volunteers of Georgia Take Action!

Last month in our newsletter, we talked a lot about the Volunteers of Georgia program, which we are implementing in all ten regions of Georgia with the support of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs. After completing the training in Tskaltubo, volunteers started actively volunteering in their municipalities. Most of the work done so far has included program presentations, environmental awareness activities, conducting trainings on youth volunteerism and active citizenship, establishing clubs, engaging youth,  and recruiting new volunteers. 

Based on our statistics, volunteers are very active in identifying and solving problems into their communities. In June, our volunteers established 77 volunteer clubs, created action plans, and recruited almost 1500 youth volunteers. 

Our Georgian Volunteers' skills and talents appeared in social
media as well. They made two videos published online, one about improving the lives of elderly people, and the other on environmental issues. Please click here to see the videos. The Volunteer activities also attracted attention from local media in Adjara, Samegrelo and Imereti. You can watch the videos here.

Even with everyone on summer vacation, our Georgian Volunteers keep volunteering. On August 12 on International Youth Day, volunteers will organize volunteering events in all regions of Georgia. If you are interested in joining volunteers in your region, please send an email to Helping Hand so we can connect you with a regional coordinator.

We wish all volunteers and partner organizations good luck in their events, and we hope to see you all there. Through the volunteerism we unite for a better society! 

WACC Workshop for New Radio Journalists

Helping Hand’s online radio “My Voice” often offers different opportunities for young journalists and volunteers. Of course, this month was not an exception. This month Helping Hand had an open call for interested youth and received 42 online applications, demonstrating high interest and active participation from youth, which makes us very happy. The training space was given by the Open Society Georgia Foundation. The project is being implemented with the support of WACC. 

After interviews, we selected 10 youth volunteers, one of whom has physical disabilities. The four-day workshop was a success. To start, participants learned about stigma, stereotypes, women’s rights, and gender equality. In addition to Helping Hand staff, they received training from Ineza Tsomaia, a local expert on gender issues and women’s rights, and Nino Buadze, a psychologist.    

The second part of the training was about radio journalism and using recording and editing software. Peace Corps Response Volunteer Rachel Wolf led interactive sessions teaching participants about bias and journalism ethics, then our Helping Hand youth journalist Giorgi Nazgidze and radio manager Tako Mateshvili took over. The participants learned interviewing techniques and best practices in interactive activities that allowed them to practice their skills and techniques as they learned them. They also learned how to record and edit audio, and practiced editing and producing with Adobe Audition. At the end of the program, participants chose their topics for their own radio shows. Now that the workshop is over, our volunteers have already started to work as volunteer journalists. They work with Tako, our Radio Program coordinator, to produce shows for Radio “My Voice.” We can’t wait to hear their stories. 

Making Invisible Children Visible: CSDC Hosts Public Event for Street Children 
Our partner organization, the Civil Society Development Centre (CSDC), has held an annual information campaign about  children living and working on streets for the past three years. On July 21, they held their newest campaign. In the project, our volunteers teamed up with street children to draw chalk drawings at the national library wrote their messages on this year’s theme: “I want to tell you that..." Many of the messages were full of love for each other, but their isolation was clear as they drew themselves, children, with their backs to society.  

Our volunteer Niniko has been interested in this issue for a long time, and was one of the active volunteers that day. She drew a family with little Shio,  who had his birthday that day. His tear-filled eyes when we sang the birthday song and lit fireworks for him were unforgettable.

The Samgori district governor visited us that day with lots of gifts. He gave the first gift to Shio, and  the volunteers passed out the remaining gifts to other children. The volunteers were excited, and the kids were dying to know what was hiding in the beautiful bags. It was a beautiful day in which representative from CSDC talked about the attitude of society towards street children, and the children once again reminded us of their humanity and told us that they ask from the public only love and care, and demand the state fulfill the obligations they are responsible for.

Monitoring Visit for Marneuli Sweet Treats

After our first month of trainings in Marneuli to try to build a social enterprise with PWD, Orbeliani paid us a visit and shot a video of our baking progress. Our After a training on customer service, our Peace Corps volunteer Rachel taught us how to bake delicious cookies that we got to sample on the spot. They are not only learning the baking process, but also how to calculate costs, create a business plan, work together, and to motivate more volunteers to become active. The Orbeliani Foundation donated the equipment, and came to see the progress of the project. This process was very interesting, especially for Salome, who can hardly speak, but her eyes and behavior expressed her happiness. It made her happy that our volunteers come weekly from Tbilisi to teach her, and also that she was a star for the documentary was her. Salome and Rachel baked thumbprint cookies which they covered in coconut and walnut, and we all enjoyed after the training. Check back next month to see the Orbeliani video.

Meet Anna, Our Newest Radio Volunteer

Q: Why did you decide to become a volunteer? Why Helping Hand?

A: Last summer I realized that communication with people and gaining experience in the field you’re interested in is the best way to advance, both for your self-realization and it helps you to set goals in your life. I wanted my free time in the summer to be productive, and I wanted to gain experience in a new environment around new people. 

Q: What was your first impression of Helping Hand? 

A: When I first came here, I felt comfortable almost right away. The familial, friendly environment convinced me that here I would have a good time and stay interested. Each one of the staff and volunteers greeted me warmly, which made me more enthusiastic about the job.

Q: Is there anything in particular that you’re interested in working on? 

A: To tell you the truth, I wasn’t established and I’m not sure now what I want to do in the future. I wanted to know all the directions and projects Helping Hand works on, and then decide. I've only been volunteering a couple of days. Here at Helping Hand's "My Voice" Radio, I learned how they edit my voice and how they record the show, which is interesting and I hope it will be one of the greatest and most useful experiences for my future job. 

Q: What would you like to tell other youth?

A: In my opinion, taking part in different kinds of activities obviously will increase their knowledge. They’ll be more confident. It will help them to establish goals and become more responsible. 

Thanks to our newsletter team: Ana Chokeli, Tako Mateshvili, Tiko Meskhi, Nino Todua, & Rachel Wolf

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