Can a tiny city of a small country become the European Capital of Culture and carry out one of the most prominent programs? The coordinator of the Volunteers’ Program explains how 300 volunteers have made the impossible possible!
My whole life changed when I became a volunteer! explains Stelios Papageorgiou, the coordinator of the Volunteers’ Program of the institution Pafos, European Capital of Culture 2017
Stelios was born and raised in Pafos, and is a proud citizen. When his city decided to claim the title of the European Capital of Culture he was among the first ones to voluntarily join the team. His unique passion is probably the reason of the success of the Volunteers’ program, which is at the heart of the institution from the start.
When we first envisioned this initiative no one believed we would be able to achieve it. Pafos is a small city and people are not used to being physically active and involved. But we had to find a way to engage them since without the volunteers our vision couldn’t come to life. The initiative was huge and our team didn’t have the essential resources. What we did have is passion and a strong vision and we managed to share it!
Before they knew it, they had over 150 enrolled volunteers from all over the country and now the program has 300 active volunteers from all over the world! And managing a team of 300 volunteers isn’t easy.
This is the largest mobilization of people actively contributing voluntarily to the largest European cultural event ever hosted by Cyprus. It is an historical moment for both our city and our country and it wouldn’t have been realized without our sponsors
Finding a sponsor was crucial for the support of the Program. Volunteers needed apparel, accessories, trainings, food and beverages for their meetings and a company to proudly support them and share their dream. Lanitis Bros and Coca‑Cola were a perfect fit. Indeed, we were among the first sponsors to get on board as our companies share the same values, the same passion and positive energy for everything that we do. From the very beginning of this sponsorship, we have been working closely with the team, finding ways apart from our sponsorship to contribute to their valuable efforts, including content creation and joined trainings, events and initiatives. Most recent example, the successful interactive seminar on Social Media we organized for the volunteers led by the specialized Social Media Team of Coca‑Cola!
People’s involvement has been unprecedented. They are eager to take part, offering their time and skills, contributing to our city’s greatest project. Volunteers have become friends, spending a lot of time together, even outside their role, making the most out of this unique opportunity! And we are there to share their passion!
A whole generation that was captivated by technology is now out in the city, communicating, collaborating, creating life changing memories and strong relationships. A whole community united under one goal: To make this year, a year to remember!