A story of my NGO life  – “if you want to make a change in people’s life, start from yourself”

This is my story of ”how I became an active citizen and got the desire to make the difference around me”.

I was a young girl living in a small town called Hyvinkää, Finland. I wanted to gain new experiences and see the World! Guy called Ossi was working in the youth department. He was part of the Youth in action program and said to me: ”Saila, why don’t you do EVS?” I was unsure and I didn’t know the program, but anyway I didn’t have to think twice and answered: ”Yes, why not.” I applied and got my #EVS place in Stuttgart, Germany. I was really lucky, even I was the first EVS volunteer in that organisation (#Jugendwerk der Awo e.v). They treated me so well and I had a chance to do and learn many different things during my 10 months volunteering.

EVS experience is something excellent for a human mind! You got chance to explore totally new country and culture, meet new people, learn things about yourself and of course, at last but definitely not the least, you learn professional things for your future and maybe even a career.

I have been so lucky to get the chance to do EVS (thanks to EU and Erasmus program). After I returned home, I had the feeling that I want to make the similar experience to be possible to someone else. I just didn’t know how… Years later I decide to apply to #HUMAK inspired by my EVS experience and got a place from youth work and civic activities degree. When I graduated I also got a super titel ”Community Educator”. I love it! 🙂

Several years after my volunteer experience, I had the feeling that it would be great and fruitful to be part of an youth NGO. By an accident I got to know #StepEurope. Now I am part of the board and actively involved to the local and international actions of the organization. I have actually come to an conclusion that the great things in life mostly happens by accident. So happend now as well!

StepEurope has been giving me a lot! I didn’t know the founders before I came to the organisation. It is great to be part of the team. I have been part of the board since 2015 spring and the last 2 years has been full of learning.

Some examples about the good experiences in StepEurope ry:

  • I have got the chance to make real grass root level actions
  • Can really challenge myself as person and now as a vice president
  • Met new people who I wouldn’t otherwise meet
    • people from all around the World and planning so surprising things with them
  • Did things I wouldn’t ever think to do
    • jumping in the ice cold water and running back to Sauna in the middle of the night
    • write the work rules in a cafeteria at 10PM on Monday evening
    • etc.

Overall my point is that, if you want to make a change in people’s life, start from yourself. Be active and do things that you have always dreamed about!

While writing this text I have come to conclusion that it has been great to take part of creating a small piece of history by creating the ”StepEuropeans” 🙂