Mobilizing parents to offer care irrespective of their own hurdles

I have been a kindergarten teacher in public schools for 22 years. Looking back at my childhood, I was surrounded by my village’s scents, friendly voices and the care of the neighborhood. Having this background, I moved on to study pedagogics, eventually becoming a wife and mother of three children. Since then, my constant self-discovery voyage with pupils, parents, and teachers who never stop learning and reforming is still going on.

The “Tree of Life’ is the outcome of my fulfilled dream in building an extraordinary school in nature. A place where learning is accomplished experientially, in harmony and interaction with the natural environment, aiming to lead children on a wonderful quest. The "Tree of Life” is a non-profit organization founded in June 2013. The idea was born from a group of people coming from different walks of life, who as citizens and as parents share similar concerns and dreams for the next generation. The world with values, morals, respect for fellow human beings and the environment, faith in the teamwork and creating. ‘Together we can change our world…’ is the motto of our association in an effort to stress the anthropocentric aspect of life.  Our vision is to train a group of people who will form the core of a community where teamwork is based on creativity, meritocracy and joy rather than apathy, ignorance, indifference, and irresponsibility. The world that dares, cares, dreams, contests, and helps, and is doing so by changing whatever it doesn’t like, and at any cost. The common denominator of this endeavor is the need for collaboration, solidarity, and offering without expecting personal benefits, the urge to defy fatigue and readiness to reduce one’s “valuable” personal time. Through our actions, we expect to restart - both financially as well as mentally. We believe that every problem has a solution and every day we keep working on this.

Our team focuses on financial aid to minority groups, supporting vulnerable cases involving children and raising awareness of Municipalities and other Public Bodies. Moreover, we intend to encourage mobilization, action and contribution through promotion, education and entertainment and turn on the power of “We” despite the difficulties of our times. All actions of the association are dedicated to a specific purpose, with priority given to children and other vulnerable socio-economic groups. The unstable economic environment has eroded the values of our society, thereby the willingness of these groups to mobilize and diversify has waned. Some of our hitherto actions include support of orphanages and families facing life problems by collecting clothes, shoes, emergency supplies and food in cooperation with local churches. We have a project for interactive visual toy organization for children of 6-11 years and we created the Blood Bank “Tree of Life” in the Hippocrates Hospital of Thessaloniki. Several activities aim for personal development and increasing outreach, such as educational excursions, storytelling, drama therapy workshops, seminars with psychologists and renowned speakers, education and radio broadcasts. The ‘Tree of Life’ also features ‘Lifecycle’, a theatrical group composed of 35 volunteers, organizing theatrical performances in order to generate income for vulnerable social groups and communities.

The beneficiaries of the ‘Tree of Life’ are:

  • pupils who learn by their parents’ actions and who are identified by themselves and not by what they are doing.
  • local communities getting inspired by the voluntary actions of the association.
  • parents who get activated in order to interact with each other, contribute to their creativity and charity to people in need, irrespective of their personal hurdles. 

A dedicated website and a Facebook page include all information that needs to be transferred to potential beneficiaries.

Intriguing, but… I can’t read Greek!

Hello and welcome, @Tree_of_Life. This seems really intriguing. It looks like your group is not zeroing in one one purpose (“we repair old computers that were being thrown away and donate them to local schools”, but rather try to help each other live fulfilling lives. From collecting shoes to theatre, excursions to workshops you seem to be doing a lot of things, focusing on the people in the group rather than on any one activity.

Additionally, it seems you are listing yourselves (the parents) among the beneficiaries. This also very intriguing, and close to the vision we are pursuing with opencare: people self-organize in communities to take care of each other.

These are impressions based on this post. Did I get it more or less right? I checked out your links, but as I cannot read Greek I could not get any extra information. :slight_smile:

Readiness to reduce one’s “valuable” time

Nice to meet you @Tree_of_Life! I just came across this piece, and funny I am thinking along those lines too these days, as during a community dinner in my hometown (FoodWaste project) I realised (again!) how cheap volunteering can be… even in terms of that valuable time you mention.

How do parents make this leap from being busy raising their child to working for greater community benefits - that also help raise their child, but not so obvious for many perhaps…