Top of potentials was a volunteering teams project funded through the European Solidarity Crops program of the European Comission.
The idea of the project is that the participants, followed by their own interests, create activities for the local community while promoting inclusiveness and bonding with the local community through acts of solidarity.
The activity brought 12 volunteers from Portugal, Germany, Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Poland aged between 18-30 years from the 10th of August until the 1st of September 2021 to the mountain home Omanovac.
The first week of the volunteers’ stay in Omanovac on the Top of Potentials project began with the volunteers getting to know the group and the tasks that await them. They worked on mutual understanding, connecting with each other and getting to know the goals of the project.
The work week began on a blackberry farm with the Martinelli family. Volunteers helped harvest blackberries and plums, which are later used to produce blackberry wine, juice, homemade brandy and the like.
The host Marko and his wonderful family generously hosted us and gave the volunteers the opportunity to try local products and find out how homemade brandy is produced, which completed this valuable experience.
This was an important day for our volunteers and the project. We spent the whole day helping Deki and Dalija in various jobs around the mountain lodge Omanovac and in preparation for the upcoming festival Goodbye Summer. We cleaned the environment, made props for the festival, decorated and prepared the space where the festival activities would take place, and had a good time. In this way, the fantastic volunteers had the opportunity to implement their ideas and leave their unique mark on Omanovac, which you can see in our photo gallery.
Today, volunteers went down to Pakrac to help the Red Cross carry and sort packages prepared for people of lower financial status. They did their job diligently, and then had the opportunity to learn something about the activities carried out by the Red Cross in Pakrac. Many thanks to the City Society of the Red Cross Pakrac for cooperation and the opportunity to help the local community!
In their busy schedule, our international TOP volunteers found time to paint the children’s playground in Pakrac. The city of Pakrac gave them their trust and they had the freedom to express creativity and left an indelible mark in the local community of Pakrac. We believe the children will love their newly renovated playground.
Volunteers visited seniors in their households today. They helped them with mowing the grass, chopping and stacking wood, and other chores around the house. They did not miss the opportunity to talk to them and try their homemade dishes, so they brightened each other’s day. Thank you City Society of the Red Cross Pakrac for connecting us with such wonderful people with whom it was a pleasure to spend the day. Also, some of the volunteers diligently performed the work on Omanovac that needed to be completed and others went to the memorial monument to help the city to paint the memorial benches.
The collaboration with the wonderful Rosman family continues! Our Top Of Potentials volunteers are truly TOP! Together with the locals, they helped on the organic farm with the hazelnuts, and then they took out and collected sweet potatoes. When we think the Rosman family can’t welcome us warmer than they already have, they prove to us that they can anyway!
For the beginning of the festival weekend our TOP volunteers were preparing for their workshops and helping with the final preparations for the “Goodbye Summer” festival. A pub quiz was held on Friday, attended by many locals who spent their evening in Omanovac. Volunteers helped with the organization, but they also had the opportunity to socialize with the always cheerful and welcoming locals. The whole evening was enriched by an excellent live gig. On Saturday, they diligently prepared their workshops and during breaks they participated in various activities such as a drumming workshop led by the drummer of Zabranjeno pušenje, a morning tai chi workshop and the presentation of a book about Ljiljana Molnar Talajić.
On Saturday night, as a sign of gratitude to the hosts and guests of the festival, the volunteers prepared a diverse intercultural dinner that delighted everyone! Dishes were prepared from various parts of the world such as Portugal, Azerbaijan, Germany, Spain, Greece, Malta or Cyprus so that locals could taste a part of their culture! In addition to salty and sweet options, the volunteers made an effort to make both vegetarian and vegan options so that everyone had a chance to find something for themselves. After a short presentation of the dishes, the guests could hardly wait to taste the delicacies.
Sunday was the day to perform the workshops that they created from scratch, we started with a family dance from Mozambique, continued with Summertime happiness interactive board and culinary delicacies from Malta and Germany and various games from the Omanolympics workshop. In addition to this, volunteers participated in juggling and acroyoga workshops. Although it rained most of the weekend, the volunteers were determined not to ruin their festival days. They showed the festival guests what they know and introduced them to the cultures they come from. There was no lack of fun, dancing and laughter! Take a look at a part of the atmosphere in our photo gallery.
Press releases about the project:
The project Top of potentials was applied and organized by Ocean Znanja u Republici Hrvatskoj, a Croatian youth NGO. It was financed by Agency for mobility and EU programs through the European Solidarity Corps program as a volunteering teams project. The results have been shared by Ocean Znanja local partners and supporting organizations from countries where the volunteers come from.
For the dissemination of the project results the organizing team together with the volunteers prepared the exhibition “Why do I volunteer?” to raise awareness about volunteering and the opportunities provided by the European Solidarity Corps program.