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Success stories

Tatiana

My mentoring experience began with working on the My Career platform. I worked with three groups of students at Nizhny Novgorod Provincial College, and each of them taught me something. To be honest, it was very difficult at first. The students did not perceive me well: they were often lazy; they were not too willing to get in touch either in life or on social networks. I was angry at them, I tried to make them work. But then I sat down and realized that it was me – I imagined myself in their place: wasn’t I the same student? Didn’t I want to receive support and a kind word from a mentor? Of course, I wanted this! And after that, I radically changed my approach to students. The result is obvious – the guys began to ask more questions about the course, send me their assignments for verification and consult. The relationship has changed dramatically.
With the third group of students, having already had such experience, I began to build trusting and friendly relations from the very beginning. The purpose of my activity was to educate an active, creative person capable of making discoveries, solving emerging problems, making decisions and taking responsibility for them. The students treated me like a real mentor. One of the students said, “If it wasn’t for your help and advice, I wouldn’t even be able to take a step towards studying the course.”
In my opinion, being a mentor is not easy. You yourself must know the material and nuances of the tasks in order to properly present them to students and provide assistance if necessary. There were a lot of disputes and disagreements when writing a resume: in order to adequately complete the tasks, you had to sit and think about the material carefully.
I would like to note that the third group was more motivated, because the previous experience of completing the course showed that it is very important. With the help of new knowledge and creative tasks, a couple of students and I were able to get a job: someone wrote a decent resume, and someone performed well at the interview. These stories motivated other students.
In my opinion, being a mentor is a real job, and it brings only positive results to both children and myself. How nice, after a while, to see that your labors were not in vain. Your sprout has grown and turned into a real beautiful strong tree. Every person needs such an experience in their life, so I am very grateful to the My Career platform for this opportunity.

Elena

Elena is 26 years old, a therapist by education, and now she has changed her field and works as a clinical psychologist. “I really like doing this, I feel like I’ve finally found something I like,” she shares. And Elena is also a very creative person: she paints, keeps a visual diary, sculpts from clay, rolls from wool, plays board games and much more.
Elena learned about the “Journey4Life” program while still studying at the medical institute from Roman Polikarpov, head of the NGO “Young Doctors of the Don”. “I had no doubt at all whether it was worth becoming a Champion (peer educator). Volunteering was already a part of my life by that time, but mostly related to the field of healthcare. “Journey4life” for me became an opportunity to bring a lot of valuable things into the lives of young people and teenagers, working in small groups,” recalls Elena.
Already the first “Journey” changed the girl’s life – she reconciled with a close friend. “We went through the program together and at the same time, while doing one of the tasks, we realized how much we miss each other. In general, the reflection that occurs during the exercise is a super powerful tool,” the girl believes. Despite the interactive, semi–game format of the program, “Journey4Life” is a lot of work and a way to yourself.
Studying at the program helped her become a clinical psychologist: “I gained self-confidence, effective communication skills and leading groups. I realized that I wanted to continue doing this as a professional, thanks to the “Journey”.
Participating in the program, Elena realized that she really has the power to change the world around her: “I think without the “Journey” I would not have been able to realize my superpower — to be a change.” And then, together with Ekaterina Pinchukova, she created her project “About the important”, aimed at improving the literacy level of young people in the field of reproductive health. Using the principle of “peer-to-peer”, the team conducts theoretical meetings and a final quiz for teenagers and young people. “We joke a lot and try to convey complex and awkward information easily − through our openness and memes,” Elena shares.
According to the girl, the most important thing in the “Journey” for her was her own change: “I have become more open, confident and determined. I realized that I am truly responsible for my life, health, and studies, and I am cool that I can influence this. The Journey4Life has made me who I am now, and I am incredibly grateful to the program.”
Now Elena continues to lead an active life, help people, develop and engage in creativity, but she always remembers the Journey. Most recently, the girl created her first board game – “Midnighters” and believes that it is great for getting closer in the company, the participants of the “Journey” will definitely like it. “I grew up with the program and found my second family — a volunteer one. You can’t meet such a community of close people at school or work, it’s something special – a second home,” concludes Elena.

Yaroslava

My name is Yaroslava, I’m 15 and I’m in the 9th grade.
I am a member of the Republican volunteer pedagogical detachment “SVET”. I like to do leadership and volunteering. Now I’m preparing for exams, I read a lot.
Lera Evgenievna, the head of the NGO SVET, told me about the Dance4Life project. I was interested in this because I like self-education, I like to learn something new. I really wanted to attend the Journey4Life and learn more.
The journey took place as part of classes at the NGO “SVET”. Alisa Ustinova, the Champion4Life, conducted it for us.
During the Journey, I learned about HIV infection and AIDS. In addition, I immersed myself more in my favorite topics: conflicts, their solutions; one’s personal boundaries and the boundaries of other people.
The format of the Journey itself was very interesting. I thought it would be something like a class at school where you listen and record, but it turned out to be completely wrong! All meetings were fun and interesting!
One of the most difficult experiences turned out to be the “Listen and Draw” activity, when we were sitting with our backs to each other, one person was describing a picture, and the other had to draw it. I didn’t really understand my partner, but in the end, we did a good job anyway. Thanks to this exercise, I realized that you need to feel free to ask clarifying questions in order to better understand each other.
I was very impressed by the exercise when we were writing “letters of love”. My friend wrote a very sweet and touching letter for me, it still hangs on the wall in my room.
From the whole Journey, I drew conclusions — you need to take care of yourself, your health, morale, respect other people and yourself.
During the Journey, I learned a lot and began to look at my life from a completely different angle. I began to think about certain situations from different angles. I often analyze my life before and after the knowledge I acquired, I made new friends, I learned more about the old ones. Now, during the camp shifts, it is very interesting for me to watch and listen to the stories of the guys who are just going through the Journey.
My priorities and plans in life have changed, and in the future I also really want to become a Dance4Life Champion.

Veronika4Life

I became a Champion a year ago. I joined the project after a three-day training. Me and another girl were invited to a re-fresh training. It was unusual because I didn’t come as a volunteer, but just as a new person.

 

I was very scared then. I was told: “Relax and be with everyone.” I really liked that no one asked about my appearance. Usually everyone asks, even teachers. No one asked about my peculiarity – albinism. This has been a sore subject for me since childhood.

 

And I realized that “Dance4Life” gives me the opportunity to consider myself from my strengths. And when you work on your strengths, your complexes disappear, you don’t notice your appearance. You learn to use what you are great at and develop it in yourself.

 

Why do I like being a Champion? I studied for a year and actively led groups, because psychology attracts me, and I’m going to retrain from next year. And now I lead separate psychological groups for teenagers. Dance4Life gave me some kind of base to run the trainings. And now, I understand how to make a structure, but on my own topics.

Alice, Violetta, Polina

Alice:
I enjoyed the Journey4Life programme. It seems to me that the Champions coped with their task perfectly. We got all the most important and necessary things in the form of interactive trainings. After the Journey, only positive emotions remained!

 

Violetta:
I really like the Journey, it’s interesting, gives a charge for the whole week. Everyone respects different opinions. In general, it is interesting, useful and positive! I really like the interactive form of classes 🙂

 

Polina:
Thanks to this Journey, it became easier for me to understand myself and my emotions, as well as to cope with them. Excellent Champions listened to us and gave advice. And each exercise has left its mark. I am grateful to the Champions and creators of the Journey for this opportunity to get to know themselves and work out their blocks!

Alyona

A student of the Sverdlovsk Regional Pedagogical College specializing in Primary Classes, and at the moment she is a teacher at the All-Russian Children Center “Orlyonok”, Alyona Kosheleva:

 

“I was a participant and then a mentor of the My Career project in the 2020-2021 academic year. And I am grateful for the fact that I was able to work with the students and I hope that I helped someone, as the project helped me.

 

My Career made my old dream come true: based on the knowledge gained on the platform, I successfully passed an interview at the All-Russian Children Center “Orlyonok”, where I had dreamed of getting for 5 years! Thanks to the organizers of the project for this!”

Nadezhda

My name is Nadezhda Shevchenko, I study Banking at the Yekaterinburg College of Transport Construction.

 

Last year I was trained on the “My Career” platform. Most of all, I liked the courses on self-presentation, CV writing and time management. All this helped me to prepare for interviews and internships in Yekaterinburg banks. As a result, I got a job at the bank I needed and the position I wanted.

 

I think that “My Career” is a very useful resource for all students, without exception. It helps to prepare for a new stage after graduation from an educational institution and gives self-confidence.

Artyom

Artyom Kholmatov, student of the Ural College of Business, Management and Beauty Technology:

 

“What have I learned thanks to the My Career platform? I acquired the skills of building successful communications and overcoming barriers. I learned to hear my interlocutor, and this is especially important for my future work in the hotel business. From the “Self-presentation” section, I noted that a person has 30 seconds to win over. And when coming to an interview, it is important not to be late, look neat, speak confidently and to the point. An important block for me was the course about “Time Planning”. After all, a lot depends on how you build and plan your day.

 

At the end of the training, I took a course on writing a CV and, having received 5 points for it, posted it on the My Career platform. The very next day I got a call from the Euro Hotel and was invited to an interview, which ended with employment. I have been an employee of the hotel for six months now and would like to thank the organizers of the My Career platform for your work, because you really help students and make a great contribution to their future life.”

Valentin

Valentin was born in St. Petersburg and was brought up in an orphanage. In the 11th grade, he decided to become a programmer and purposefully prepared for this. He received his bachelor’s degree at the Faculty of Information Technology and Programming at the St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technology, Mechanics and Optics.

 

Then he completed a master’s program in Amsterdam (Netherlands). For several years he lived and participated in scientific projects in Singapore. He is currently working and preparing PhD dissertation in Amsterdam.

 

He is a regular speaker at online meetings of the My Career project. Valentin motivates youngsters to develop, constantly learn, set goals and achieve them.

Alfreda4Life

I am Alfreda, and I am the Champion4Life of the Rostov-on-Don team. I am studying at the 5th year of medical university. And from the very beginning of my studies I have been doing volunteering, in the field of medicine, of course.

 

I joined the Dance4Life team 2 years ago, taking part in an event dedicated to HIV infection. Now I am the coordinator of the rapid HIV testing team. I test and advise people on HIV issues and, together with the team, help organize various preventive measures.

 

How did I become a Champion? I completed the Journey4Life programme, and then participated several times as an assistant to Champions. And so, only after that I passed the long-awaited training and received the status of a Champion. I have already released about 80 People of Change, and I’m going to continue further.

 

The project gave me the opportunity not only to become part of my favorite team, but also to find and discover new qualities in myself, gain new knowledge, gain invaluable experience. In addition, the most important thing is that I can share this experience and knowledge with the group, and help them to open up and better understand themselves. And this cannot but inspire us to move on.

Irene4Life

Dance4Life is about emotions and changes.

 

I got into the project in 2015. And after 2 years, I was trained by Champions4life and began to give emotions and the possibility of changes to others. In December 2018, I met Tess Payron from Amsterdam. She came to us in Nizhny Novgorod. So I saw with my own eyes that a person from another country also appreciates the project and makes it better. And I decided for myself that I need to grow further and now I am already developing Dance4Life at the regional level.

 

Dance4Life is growth. At first I was just a volunteer, then a Champion. This year I have already become a mentor of new Champions. I was also honored to take part in an international meeting where representatives of all participating countries of the project gathered to exchange experiences.

Valeria4Life

When I entered the university, I realized that I was interested in some kind of social activity, volunteering. And when I found out about the recruitment for the “Journey for Life”, I decided to attend these trainings. It was a first time heard about the Dance4Life project. I remember the feelings when I came to the first meeting.

 

My main emotion was a wild surprise, because we spoke out, no one interrupted us. Participants respected different opinions. I think it was one of the decisive factors why I stayed, went through all 10 meetings and acquired the honorary status of “Man of Change”. After the training, I realized that something had changed in me. I became more open, I wanted to listen to other people, help them. I have learned to boldly express my position, not to be afraid of condemnation. Yes, the Journey has opened my eyes to many things. When I found out that a set was being held to train future Champions, I didn’t hesitate for a second. Arriving at the training, I realized that these would be the most wonderful days of my summer 2020. I found new friends, and, of course, now I can proudly be called a Champion.

 

What did the project give me? Emotions, friends, communication and facilitation skills, knowledge, experience and freedom. I noticed that now I look at many things easier. It became easier for me to communicate, easier to talk about some acute social topics. And for this I would like to say thank you to the project and the people who are in it.

Dmitry4Life

I got into the Dance4Life project by accident: I met the curator of the project and learned about the HIV problem. Many people still do not know about the ways of transmission of infection and how HIV differs from AIDS. Thanks to D4L, we talk to young people about topics that they cannot discuss with their friends and family.

 

When our curator told me about the training of 4Life Champions, I immediately agreed to go and get training. There was a very cool atmosphere at the training and most importantly, we went through Journey4Life ourselves. Until the Champion himself feels the program, emotions, he will not be able to work with the audience.

 

At the moment I am doing military service and the experience gained in the project helps me a lot. Thanks to the project, I learned to communicate with people, became morally stronger. And now, if I find out that someone I know or military personnel has HIV infection, I will not turn away from them. I’m just going to communicate with them the same way I did.