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A Letter from Our Volunteer from Italy

by , 3rd Oct 2019

Our volunteers play a major part in the organization of the Friendship Games. They are the ones who help us entertain children, teach them something new and keep them safe. This year’s Friendship Games were special: we had 25 volunteers and one of them was Giulia Gotti who traveled all the way from Italy. Giulia was very touched by her experience at the 7th Friendship Games, so she wrote a letter to our team and to all others who wish to volunteer one day. If you are also inspired by children and wish to become a part of our team of volunteers – keep following our social media profiles for future calls for new volunteers.  

Hi everyone, I’m Giulia! I’m 21 years old and I live in Milan, Italy. I’m writing this letter because I want to share with you my volunteering experience from the 7th Friendship Games. I heard about the Novak Djokovic Foundation and the amazing work they do, while I was looking for voluntary work around the world. Lunaria, an Italian association that organizes a lot of camps, proposed different projects to me, among others – Friendship Games. With no doubt, I decided to go to Serbia.

In Milan, I try to help Arabian children who don’t speak Italian. I help them with their homework, try to make them feel more comfortable, help them share their feelings and teach them some new skills. We also enjoy painting, listening to music, playing games and sometimes we go for a trip.

That’s the reason why I wanted to apply for Friendship Games. I love children – their strength and the passion they put in everything they do.

We, adults, are wrong if we think children are not mature enough. It’s just a different kind of intelligence and a different way of elaborating ideas and recollecting them. I find that my purpose is to help children make their dreams come true.

Sometimes volunteering is not easy, that’s why you must truly love it.

And I do. I do love it. Especially those moments when I see smiles on their faces when they succeed in something for the first time. It’s work for which you are not paid in cash, but in feelings. The emotions I feel can fill out my whole heart, they can give me joy for days and, most of all – I feel complete. I know I’m really young. But ever since I was 16 years old, I felt better while learning and playing with children.

Volunteers are an essential part of Friendship Games.

Volunteers are an essential part of Friendship Games.

I have to say that because I do not speak Serbian, at first, the camp was really hard for me. I couldn’t understand the kids and help them as I wanted to. Sometimes I didn’t know how to join them in some activities.

But then, I came up with an answer: relax and just speak to them in English.

And I realized that trying to learn a different language could be a really good match for the kids and also for me to communicate with them. I started to speak to them a lot. I didn’t give up, even if they didn’t understand me.

That was the best time and I will always cherish it in my heart: when they could finally say  “hello” to me and answer with“fine” when I ask them “how are you?”. I felt grateful. The other great moment was the disco night. Kids just wanted to dance, sing and to have fun.  I wanted to share with them my happiness and, at that moment, words were not necessary.

So, to the NDF team and all other volunteers –  THANK YOU. Thanks to the Friendship Games, I learned to never give up. Thank you because I always found someone by my side. Now I can say that I have friends in Serbia who truly know me, and I know them.

When you experience something great as Friendship Games, you shouldn’t just keep it to yourself. So this letter is also to all the girls and boys who want to do something different in their lives. You, by yourself, cannot change much, but if your one step is seen by someone else, one day, if you had a kind and gentle step, people will follow you. And only like that – we all could really change the world.

With love,

Giulia

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