Social background is one of the key factors in determining access to education. Growing up in poverty greatly reduces young people’s chances of gaining a higher education later in life. The Volunteering@WU program works with kids from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, supporting them in their educational career and also benefiting student helpers by encouraging social responsibility and volunteering activities.
Since 2010, WU students can participate as learning buddies, music buddies or sport buddies to support kids from various Caritas insitutions (i.e. accommodation for asylum seeking families, mother-child-homes…). Students meet with the children once a week during one or more terms to assist them with homework, and exam preparation as well as to spend joint leisure time. In order to perform their role properly students receive formal training and professional supervision during the time of their active participation in the program. Participation in the program can be recognized as an elective subject in WUs curriculum.
Building bridges between students and young people from completely different social worlds broadens the horizons of both sides and allows all concerned to learn from each other: The kids get help with their schoolwork from the students volunteering their time to support them and develop their individual interests and talents, and have the opportunity to learn from their positive example. The volunteers, on the other hand, benefit from getting to know people from different cultures and social backgrounds and are challenged to work on their social and interpersonal skills.