The volunteer system in the Motivation after-school programs for disadvantaged students

Norbert Szűcs – József Balázs Fejes – Uszáma Mutier


The Motivation Educational Association (Motivation Community) has been working with volunteers in its after-school programs since 2013; however, the foundations of the volunteer system had been laid earlier, within the framework of the Student Mentoring Program. During the past decade, activities of the Motivation Community have become more complex, but relying on volunteers in the after-school programs has remained a central feature. The purpose of this paper is to describe the volunteer system of the Motivation Community based on a decade of experience. The central feature of this system is that it is primarily based on the involvement of higher education students who are preparing for teaching careers and helping professions, connecting volunteering with opportunities of development, and gaining relevant experience. Our article first outlines the goals and activities of the Motivation Community, placing after-school programs within the broader context of the organization's objectives. In addition, the article describes the operation of Motivation after-school programs and presents the framework of cooperation with volunteers in terms of the following: (1) recruitment and admission process; (2) entry, integration; (3) tasks and opportunities of volunteers. Due to the high admittance threshold, Motivation after-school programs work with qualified and committed volunteers who often bring their ready to use expert knowledge and may even provide manpower for the Motivation Community. For the volunteers, working in the programs means they can experience altruism and a sense of belonging to a community. In addition, by developing their professional competencies and getting recommendation letters, higher education students can gain advantages in the labour market.

Keywords: after-school program for disadvantaged students, volunteering, recruitment, integration, Motivation Community