Volunteers Talk about Their Impressions and Experience from their Service in the Charity Hut
Did you soak up the Christmas atmosphere on the Main Street? And did you also visit our charity hut? In addition to the complete team of the Department of Director External Relations U.S. Steel Košice, which prepared this activity for the ninth time, its operation from December 4 - 22 was also ensured by other volunteers from among Kosice’s steelmakers, as well as students enrolled in the Company's scholarship program. We asked about their impressions and experience gained during their service in favor of others.
Rasťo Šelepský has already volunteered to man the hut several times. This year it was his turn when ArtEst - Poly-Esthetical Education of Disadvantaged Youth presented themselves there. “By now this somehow belongs to my Christmas. I look forward to being in the hut, because I can meet people there from environments that completely differ from those I am acting in during the rest of the year. There is always something to talk about. For me, it is interesting to watch those who stop by. Some of them just stop because they like some decoration that may be obtained as a reward for a small financial donation; others are seriously interested in the organization presenting itself in the hut. They donate larger amounts and are not so interested in the gifts. Sometimes children who are on school trips in Kosice stop by. Their teachers give them some free time on the Main Street. A boy, maybe ten years old, showed three euros in his hand, which, as he explained later, he received from his parents for the entire day, and he wanted to put two euros in the moneybox. I first explained to him that it was great that he wanted to contribute, but we couldn't accept it. He insisted though, so I gave him some change and let him donate a few cents. He was, of course, amply rewarded for it. Such experience really enhances the atmosphere of Christmas,” remarked the Foreman of CC Electrical Maintenance, who devotes a lot of his free time to volunteering throughout the year, as his favorite experience. “I highly recommend volunteering to all my colleagues, to try it once in a while and do something without pay from time to time. You can meet people in the voluntary organizations with positive mindsets. I am glad that the Company provides space for volunteering. It sets a good example in this area for the whole region,” he said in appreciation of U.S. Steel Kosice.
Alica Mašlejová, Director Metallography and Failure Analysis at USSE Unit GM Research and Development, thinks similarly; she stood behind the counter of the corporate hut three times in 2015, along with volunteers from the Elementary Art School on Kováčska Street, the Rubicon Autism Center, and the Bankov Re-Education Center. “Over the years, NGOs have learned to present themselves and attract audiences. They were surprised at the beginning that awareness of their activities was not at the level they thought it to be, and there was still the need to make active presentations. Today, they have come to understand this need and so they are more active, mainly in communication. It is also enlightening that donations must be earned and something must be done for them,” she said, and added that resources thus obtained are then more valuable, as if deposited straight into their account, and the children are also motivated to become part of volunteering. “It is interesting to see how the people approach charity. Individuals are those who surprise the most, as nobody would expect it from them, and they donate the most. Generally, people like to donate to children, and the products from the youngest are the most amazing ones, although gifts from art schools also have their indisputable artistic value, and make you happy. The good news is that together we are developing for the better, and one realizes the value of helping and solidarity within the extended family and, maybe, personal problems are not as hot as they might seem. I also like to see so many corporate teams meeting in the pre-Christmas period by the huts to experience the atmosphere of Advent.”
Katka Dittelová, Assistant at GM Engineering Activities, is one of the permanent volunteers, not only in the charity hut, but also during Daffodil Day or U.S. Steel for Košice Volunteer Days. She was present in the hut on the Main Street for the Parents' Association at Bernolákova Street Elementary School, and ArtEst - Poly-Esthetical Education of Disadvantaged Youth NGO. “I like to help when- and wherever possible, and I'm also bringing up my seven-year-old daughter into volunteering,” she reveals. She also stresses that she highly appreciates the fact that our Company allows various non-profit organizations to present themselves each year in the charity hut. “It's nice to see the hand-made products and meet the people who produce them and put a piece of their heart into each of them. Many people buy them and understand what they're worth. Several just briefly examine them and walk on...” Some moments and experiences will remain in the memory for a long time and urge us to take a think. As for example, one elderly gentleman, already retired, who approached the hut and was sorry for not having enough to donate. “He was sorry for that as he visits our hut every year, but this time he had no money left... The bank withdrew some charge and left him a few euros short. I gave him a card at least, and wished him nice holidays.” During her long-term presence in our hut, Katka had the opportunity to meet and get to know the representatives of many non-profit organizations. “I listened to various people's stories and fates, and their lives are really not always easy. This way one realizes what a precious gift he or she has - I mean health.”