Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thank you for a Productive Year!

Dear Volunteers,

2008 was a very successful year for our Global Volunteers service program in Poland. Thanks to the contribution of all the wonderful volunteers only in 2008 we have taught approximately 700 students and provided 2720 hours of English teaching instruction. Unfortunately, the end of the year has brought this very unfavorable economic situation, which is making a very bad impact on the numbers of the volunteers who are expressing their ability to teach in Poland in 2009. We hope we’ll be able to continue to provide service to the Polish children and adults throughout the next year and we’ll all celebrate the 20th anniversary of Global Volunteers’ work in Siedlce in 2010!

Our host representative and the community partners would also like to thank you so much for all your help and express how much they count on Global Volunteers continuous support in their community. Here are the thoughts that they would like to share with you:

Marek Blaszczyk (Siedlce county government representative): “We’ll never forget the help you have given to the thousands of the Polish children and adults. Incredible changes have taken place in Poland over the last eighteen years and you have played a very important role in this process. But please remember that your help in all the rural schools of Siedlce area is still desperately needed in order to create equal opportunities for children from the less developed part of Poland.”

Maryla Cudna, Cisie Elementary school principle: “We hope that next year we will be able to continue our English lessons with the volunteers as this is an invaluabe help for our school. We cannot imagine not having these classes. They are especially important for the children for whom this is the only contact with the real life English, with the culture of a foreing coutry, the priceless oportunitty for practice of the English language that is necessary for improving their future”.

Antonina Bielak, Niwiski Elementary school principle: “The classes conducted by the volunteers bring umbelievable results in our school The English language is necessary in the present times and extremely needed to function properly in life. The work of the volunteers is really indespensable in our school.”

Thank you again for everything you have done for us so far. Our new Global Volunteers’ catalog will be arriving in the next few weeks in your mail and I would be very grateful if you would consider helping our children again in 2009. If you are unable to return to Poland or to join another service program, I encourage you to support Global Volunteers’ work in my country by a general donation to the organization. You could also tell others about your experiences in Poland and encourage them to serve.

I would like to wish each of you and your family a very peaceful holiday season and a happy 2009! I hope that our paths will cross again in the near future!

With fondest memories,

Dorota Wierzbicka
Poland Country Manager

Week 3, Millenium Development Goals Achieved

Six volunteers taught for four hours a day. 120 hours of the English language instruction provided. Four elementary and middle schools. 60 students impacted.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Message of the day by Ralph: “Nothing in life is good unless it is shared.”

The morning started with a delicious breakfast. Ralph read the previous day’s log entry and Marge the thought for the day. Upon finishing breakfast everyone went to their assigned sites and some to the workroom to continue lesson plans for the day.

Marge’s classes of students worked diligently on the assignments. It was a pleasure to be in the classroom.
In the evening we had a buffet supper with the teachers and directors being our guest. A great time was had by all.

By Marge Thomas

Monday, October 13, 2008

Message of the Day by Susan: "Make new friends, but keep the old – One is silver and the other gold."

We had our 7:00 AM breakfast of plum pancakes and additional things we find laid out for us by the kitchen fairies. Ginny and I were off to Cisie where we were treated to a program celebrating “Teachers Day”. It was fun though it was all in Polish. Afterward there was coffee, tea and home made cakes for the teachers. Classes began at 11:55 AM at Niwiski with a break about with coffee, tea and cakes. The children presented Ginny and me with 4 roses and a thank you note written in English. What wonderful customs they have in Poland.
Our team was invited to dinner with the governor and associates. We were treated to his slides from China. Zygmunt Wielogorski was a judge for the weight lifting competition which was a great honor for him. The night ended with an almost full moon and a good night sleep.

By Pat Kalicki

Monday, December 29, 2008

Week 2, Millenium Development Goals Achieved

Ten volunteers taught for four hours a day. 200 hours of the English instruction provided. Six elementary and middle schools. 180 students impacted.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Message of the Day by Marge Thomas: "Happiness, like a mirror, reflects."

My day started with an early morning walk toward the east. Dawn was just breaking and the weather was clear and cool. I saw a group of five deer who were feeding on the rye grass about a half mile away. They ran as a car came by the road nearby. Back to Reymontowka dining at 07.00. where a nice breakfast of cheese pancakes and a side of their usual tomatoes and cucumbers was served. At 09:00 I tutored a member of the kitchen staff. Our lesson was the names of various foods and the procedure of wait persons in restaurants. This was an appropriate subject since Iwona is studying hotel management at an university in Warsaw. The rest of the morning was devoted to preparing next day’s lessons.

After lunch I was driven to Kofoed in Siedlce to teach a student whose name was Fani. This lady has a very good knowledge of English grammar. It was a rewarding lesson.

Back to Reymontowka for a long walk to a village named Trzemuszka. I took photos of some picturesque houses and the village wooden church built in the 1776. From there I walked back to Reymontowka for supper.

By Edmund Stasz

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Message of the day by Edmund: No longer forward or behind. I look with hope or fear but grateful for the good I find. The best is now and here.

The morning started out gray and cold, within the hour the sun was out and it was warming up. It was a great day for fall colors.

Ralph read Tuesday’s daily journal entry and Edmund presented the message of the day. All attended breakfast and then went off to assigned sites or to the workroom to continue on lesson plans. Molly and I were driven to Siedlce for classes. The driver usually takes a different route each day, we are seeing the sites of the city, giving us a different perspective on the culture and people.

The students are attentive and polite, participating in discussions and conversation. One of the requests of the students is to have a class outside, the beautiful weather may be the reason.

By Marge Thomas

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Week 1, Millenium Development Goals Achieved

Eleven volunteers taught four hours a day.
308 hours of English language instruction provided.
Six elementary and middle schools.
200 students impacted.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Message of the Day by Michele: Everything we do in life has meaning.

The last few mild days of warm weather are slowly transitioning into definite signs of autumn, not only bringing with it the crisp air and ripe apples from the apple trees in the Reymontowka wood carving garden, but the energy and excitement that comes from the beginning of the new school year.
The morning breakfast meal once again offered us the chance to meet with good company and recap the events and first teaching day experiences.
Armed with the perspective from the first day experiences and introduction to the children we were teaching, we came supplied with more resource library materials. Marge, Molly and I headed over to the Spoleczna school where I was flattered to be approaching my classroom, and a few of the fourth grade students ran up to me, greeting me warmly, and wanted to hold my hand as we entered into the classroom.
I realize I’m fortunate to say all the students came with the excitement and curiosity of learning the material we covered, having a great time when singing songs, where even the more shy children came out of their shells. They were equally as excited to have the opportunity at the end of class to teach me the Polish words they wanted to hear me speak.
The children for the second class again greeted me with enthusiasm, and clearly spoke to the students of the first class to find out what they did, because they could not wait to get to the singing, which they knew was coming. They also would not let me get away without answering the same questions I had them answer, so they wanted to know what I like and do not like. For the record, My name is Mara and I do not like snakes or rats.
When class ended, I met with Molly and Marge for the walk over to our afternoon classes at the middle school at Siedlce, where we were joined by two Spoleczna middle school students who walked with us to the next school, wanting to carry tote bags and supplies we were bringing to our next school. Somehow, I have a sneaking suspicion that all the lovely teachers and school directors were behind this.
The afternoon classes of middle school students brought more energy and excitement, where we met more students who weren’t able to attend the first day due to the Polish Boy’s Day Holiday field trip. There were students there who reminded me of myself at that age, and felt honored when one student wanted to go into my profession and asked me a lot about the field and my opinions and impressions.
Upon returning, we again shared a memorable dinner with a group I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to meet. It turned out to be a great day, which I will gladly take, knowing it will come with highs and lows, but wanting to appreciate the positive along the way.
by Mara Noble

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Message of the day from Pat: Wherever you are is exactly where you need to be!

What a wonderful beginning to help the people of Poland…and, what a fantastic bunch of volunteers! I particularly noticed how, in just 24 hours or so of knowing each other, we really care about each other and about making a positive reflection on the children and adults that we will be teaching during our stay at Reymontowka.
We were asked to develop a few Team Goals to follow through the next couple of weeks of teaching. Our goals for the September-October 2008 session are:
1. To learn more about the Polish culture.
2. To better understand the cultural relationship between Poland and the USA.
3. To install self-confidence in students.
4. To make new friends.
5. To broaden our horizons. And,
6. To have fun.

Our leader, Dorota, then asked us for the characteristics that would make an Effective Team. We came up with the following:
1. Positive attitude
2. Flexibility
3. Support
4. Patience
5. Teamwork
6. Sense of humor
7. Open-mindedness
8. Willingness to share
9. Respect
10. Communication
11. Smile
12. Responsibility

The Teaching Assignments were distributed and clarifications were made to our revised meal schedules.
After our orientation sessions, several volunteers, and Dorota, went to the Old Wooden Church for Sunday Mass. Others took a much needed walk to Carlos, the local supermarket in Kotun. We purchased some of the things we forgot to bring from the States.
Everyday culture was the next subject on the Agenda. Pat Kalicki mentioned that she noticed a dramatic change that took place in Poland during the last several years. For those who are non-Catholics, there is a segment during Catholic Mass when people shake the hands of other church-parishioners to wish Peace on Earth to each other. Well when Pat went to Mass 4 or 5 years ago at the Old Wooden Church down the road from Reymontowka, NO Poles shook the hands of anyone in church! The only people who shook hands with each other were the Global Volunteers! And guess what, after today’s Mass, all of the Poles were shaking hands of everyone in church! Yes people, we are making a difference.
When Dorota was asked if Global Volunteers has made a difference in the progress of education in the children of Siedlce County she mentioned that a friend of hers who teaches in high school in Siedlce noticed a dramatic change in the students who participated in the Global Volunteers English Conversational Speaking program vis-à-vis those who did not. Yes people, we are making a difference. And, let’s keep it going!

By Edmund K. Stoy