Since the early years of my career, I used to offer 20% of my time in several humanitarian projects in Africa, Latin America and Asia. In the summer of 2017, a severe health condition forced me to abandon long distance journeys or hard working volunteering positions far away from home.
So there I was in Athens in the middle of winter, stacked in a new way of life but with tones of will to offer support back in the community. I was surfing on the internet looking for available positions as a volunteer instructor near Athens, Greece. I came across a Facebook post about Social Hacker’s Academy in the first weeks of November 2017.
I did some research and found the idea quite appealing: teaching refugees digital skills and programming in order to build a new life. I dig deeper and the idea kept growing in me, more and more. 4 weeks later I met Damianos Vavanos at the WordCamp Athens 2017 and we talked for 15 minutes. Damianos welcomed my intention of offering a LinkedIn Instructor Service at Social Hackers Academy.
The following weeks we arranged the details and since January 2018, I have the privilege to serve the community through my business experience as Digital Marketing Strategist. Being the LinkedIn Instructor for all the students of Social Hackers Academy, was a truly life-changing experience.
Social Hackers Academy
Social Hackers Academy aim is to educate, integrate and find employment for vulnerable groups around the world. They are currently based in Athens, Greece and working to help the refugee communities based there.
Through the process of a comprehensive education programme in software engineering, SHA gives refugees the tools they need to not only acquire employment in Greece but also, if they wish, to become entrepreneurs with access to capital through the Social Hackers Academy.
This opportunity is open to all of the ~60,000 refugees currently in Greece as well as long term unemployed EU nationals. SHA are backed by a team of experienced entrepreneurs and have formed partnerships with top code schools throughout Europe. They are always looking for great and committed developers to help them teach their students during the week. Care to support Social Hacker Academy? Here is the magic door…
Why Volunteering at SHA?
For me is clear that volunteering is a way of living. We give back to the community what we can offer for free. Just to do good and support people or communities who wish to receive a helping hand. You just want to give back to the community and be a part of the change you want to see in the world.
When you can actually witness the improvements happening in front of your eyes, you know deep inside that you belong to something bigger than you. The factor that changes everything is kindness. It makes a difference to the people around you and transforms you as well.
In all cases, volunteering work provides an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge. Regardless of the original motivation, what really matters is the willingness to share: your time, your energy, your knowledge, your networking value, your experience and your faith that humanity deserves a chance to a better future.
These common values unite all volunteers around the world and build bridges above cultures and obstacles. That kind of adventure outside of your comfort zone is both challenging and rewarding.
My Contribution at SHA
I am helping the students with the creation of their LinkedIn profiles through a weekly 2-hour 1:1 session. I am coaching students on how to set and use their professional LinkedIn profile.
In some cases, we make the extra mile when circumstances demand to adopt a new approach on how to explain why LinkedIn is so important for their business path.
Volunteering is a way of living. You just want to give back to the community and be a part of the change you want to see in the world. – Areti Vassou