Hanna Bondarenko ‘12 (Odessa, Ukraine/ Jamestown, CA) made a splash in 2019 with the ‘Agents of Volunteering’ Program.  The project taught and empowered 50 young Ukrainians to create social initiatives and become change-makers in their cities and towns across Ukraine.  Let’s learn how she did it!

Hanna worked with the NGO she co-founded, the Ukrainian Volunteer Service. Supported with a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy, Anna and her team selected 50 volunteers from all 24 regions of Ukraine and trained them how to become community service leaders in their respective cities. The program lasted for one year, with participants attending four modules in varying cities. Through the modules and mentorship opportunities from experienced NGO leaders, participants became the voice of activism and volunteerism their communities.

The participants of Agents of Volunteering developed their skills in project management, community management, and evaluating social impact. Participants also had the opportunity to experience and appreciate the cultural differences between different regions in Ukraine while cooperating with fellow participants to create more than 50 social initiatives. These initiatives include: a bakery for people with disabilities, schools of volunteering, recycling sessions, clean-up activities and refurbishing abandoned public places.

In May 2019, the Agents of Volunteering capped off their experience with a five-day volunteer camp. Eighty participants attended workshops and lectures given by notable speakers such as the former Minister of Economy Pavlo Sheremeta and the CEO of a Human Resources Company Vladyslav Hreziev. The camp included many hours of community service devoted to cleaning up the bank of a local river.

As a result of this year-long program, many of the Agents of Volunteering participants started their careers in the non-profit/NGO sector. Learn more about the project here.

Congratulations, Hanna!

Written by Mariia Donets ’15

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