Spot light on the volunteers!

20. June 2020

This week, Jolanta Różowska sent some lines about the final event of the current Malopolska University for Children, one of the founding institutions of

“On Saturday, June 6, we finished the 12th academic year at the Malopolska University for Children. However, it was not a traditional celebration combined with the awarding of diplomas by invited guests. It was a summary of the entire academic year, which took place remotely, just like our previous five lectures.

At the beginning of March, when the lecture “About the boy who read with his fingers” took place – we did not expect that this will be our last live meeting this academic year. We are very sorry that we could not meet our students for so many months and that last Saturday we could not personally hand them diplomas, congratulate perseverance and thank them for their work, inquisitiveness and diligence. We also thank everyone who has successfully helped us to implement this year’s study program: student parents, volunteers, institutions, sponsors, donors and lecturers. See you next academic year <3″

In most countries we are still facing extraordinary circumstances, with all the beautiful and individual encounters happening during a Children’s University activity prevented by the coronavirus restrictions. Only some very reduced programs happen here and there with limited participants and few staff people. Although it is amazing how well online offers can work, what new options arise as a result – thinking about a hugely extended radius of attendance options – and how positive the reaction is in general, it’s a very unsatisfying situation. Not all children have got access to such kind of online offers and usually this is mainly connected to their economic background and therefore reinforcing social inequity. Also essential elements of learnings, social interaction and hands-on activities, are obviously quite constrained. University scientists and researchers are still somehow visible and can act as a role model. But what about all the volunteers, in most cases students or Children’s University alumni? There are few options to include volunteers in online programs and we do miss their perspective, their function as intermediaries between the age groups, and of course also the life changing experiences that happen every now and then when volunteers contribute in science engagement programs.

So in times of limited visibility and physical distancing it is important to highlight the immense value and importance of working together with volunteers and appreciate their contributions and enthusiasm. In place of the vast number of young people supporting Children’s University all over the globe we send heartfelt thanks to the volunteers of the Malopolska University for Children!