Volunteering in the Experience Workshop ("Élmény Tár")

Imre Domán – Kata Farkas – Zsófia Tasnádi


For 13 years, Experience Workshop ("Élmény Tár") Community Space in Pécs – maintained by the Experience Finding ("Élménylelő") Youth Association – has carried out complex educational, social, and developmental activities in the Gyárváros area for children and their families living in extreme poverty. During these years, we served more than 150 children. The activities based on the objectives of our organisation are currently facilitated by 5 full-time permanent staff members and 25 volunteers. during the course of the work, several methods were tried and implemented in many programmes. It is believed that the greatest achievement (and the most useful development "tool") is the sustained presence. The organization is present without any central, permanent support, and it supports needy children and their families. This paper introduces the volunteer activities in the Experience House, including the assistance and support activities in the Experience House and the methodology used in this process. The paper will summarise the system developed over the years on best practices to recruit, select, and support volunteers. The plan and organization of volunteer activities may be useful to other organizations. The paper further describes volunteers' involvement in a mentoring process. It focuses on building a recruitment system over the years to avoid unnecessary, energy-consuming, and premature volunteer attrition. Our study illustrates the significance of being part of our volunteer community. This organisation passes on its values to the volunteers, such as a partnership approach, the importance of democracy, innovative and critical thinking, and acceptance and cooperation. Sharing these values can make a difference to social problems: social and educational inequalities and help fight for the rights of disadvantaged children.

Keywords: volunteering, awareness, resilience, nonprofit organisation, support,