Spending a day in the service of fellow men -  Community Service Day 2019 in Dubrovnik

By Tetiana Kulbaka

April 9, 2019

Aren't we all impatiently waiting for Friday evenings and sweet Saturday mornings, when we can justly stop bothering about studying and work? Yeah, we all know this feeling. But what if I tell you that instead of casual Friday going out with your friends or simply staying at home in the company of a good movie, you have to spend one-hour shopping, four hours cooking and then one more hour cleaning? To make matters worse, you will have to wake up at 7 am the next morning and dedicate an additional seven hours of your Saturday free time. If at this point you start questioning the motives the people who lived through this scenario were driven by, I will not dawdle on the answer.

As Bryant McGill said: "No time is better spent than that spent in the service of your fellow men".  So, on Saturday, March 30, the group of volunteers from RIT Croatia together with Professor Milena Kuznin and Professor Kevin Walker had the opportunity to serve the volunteers as well as the kids from the organization "Udruga Bonsai". It was a really successful event, but I would like to share more information revealing the preparation process.

To begin with, we started working on the organizational process for this event almost a month before the actual event. And it is not surprising, as far as there were so many aspects requiring thorough thinking: the quantity of the guests, the type of the meal, the menu, and the activities and, for sure, the responsibilities of the volunteers. What I liked, personally, the most is the fact, that, even though the event was more service oriented, both HTM as well IT students got a chance to take the active part in it. And, well, they did prove to us once again, how important it is to keep abreast of the technological advances. They managed to create colorful posters and invitations, using all of the skills and knowledge they had acquired during their classes.

Moreover, we had a team of chefs with Professor Kevin Walker as their team leader. In the course of the regular Friday meetings, we decided to serve brunch and treat our guests to American pancakes and waffles. As far as we were organizing an event connected to food serving, we created a survey to ensure that the kids as well as volunteers have no allergies and can enjoy our menu to the fullest. The survey also helped us to figure out some of our guests` preferences: no wonder, Nutella turned out to be the most desired topping . The kids were also offered the fruit salad and a variety of juices. The RIT Croatia also offered its rooms as the venue for the volunteers to hold the regular Saturday tutoring sessions.

In addition, we decided to take advantage of the nice weather, that Dubrovnik presented us with on that day, and had some fun with kids in the park "Gradac". One of our students, Lovro Kolanović, organized the "Scavenger Hunt" game and he did approach the task in a creative way, providing the kids with the rhyming hints. But even more importantly, all of the kids were provided with a gift, so that they did not feel upset for not becoming the first in the game!

All in all, we can conclude that Community Service Day 2019 went successfully and both guests and students had a lot of fun, managed to establish new connections and even became friends with some of the kids. We did try to be professional and take care of each and every detail that is why we even conducted the post-survey. I am proud to say that we got only positive feedback and the organization "Udruga Bonsai" is ready to cooperate with RIT Croatia in future projects.

But, for me, the most sincere feedback was the real reaction of kids: they were laughing and smiling at each other, chatting with Professors, enjoying food and playing games. One of our guests, Saško (aged 12, going on 13) commented on the event: "This is like being at the Harry Potter's movie! My dreams have come true! And it is all because of YOU!" These sincere comments make me really eager to participate in events like Community Service Day and realize each and every day how lucky I am to be a part of this Happiness Business!

RIT Croatia. Different from Day 1.

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