With the participation of the Panhellenic Athletics gold medals winner, Ms. Katerina Dalaka, the new action of Nonprofit Civil Partnership (NPCP) EXELIXI ZOIS entitled Mentor’s Day, which takes place within the professional orientation program that is systematically offered to the beneficiaries of the Organization, was inaugurated on Sunday, March 7, 2021.
The aim of this new action, which will be held twice a month, is the creative connection of adolescents and young adults, who live in the collaborating closed child protection institutions, with renowned people from a wide range of professional fields.
The action plan, which focuses on the professional empathy and guidance for the beneficiaries, was formulated by the scientific staff of EXELIXI ZOIS in order to transfer to adolescents and young adults knowledge, motivation and information that will help them significantly during their transition to autonomous adult life.
EXELIXI ZOIS, founded in March 2018, has the mission of full support for children, adolescents and young people living in Closed Child Protection Institutions, with the aim of contributing to their healthy and integrated development so that they become self-sufficient, self-reliant and active members of the society. This multiple project is based on the founding donation of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).
The power of the will comes from ourselves
Based on the choices of the beneficiaries regarding their professional career, the start of the Mentor’s Day program was dedicated to professional sports.
The great Athletics champion, Ms. Katerina Dalaka, through her personal experiences, difficulties and upheavals that she has encountered in her professional career, sought to convey to the beneficiaries of EXELIXI ZOIS the importance of dedication and the power of will to achieve the individual goals and aspirations. She vividly described her personal experiences and the events that have stigmatized her, which ultimately led her to her current success, cultivating in the beneficiaries feelings of hope and at the same time highlighting the importance of goal setting.
Ms. Dalaka urged the children from the collaborating institutions who watched and talked to her to do what they love in their lives without allowing others to point out to them exactly what they can achieve. At the same time, with the dynamism and optimism that distinguishes her, she conveyed positive messages about life and the way of managing difficulties.
The active participation and the targeted questions of the participants formed a constructive discussion, during which questions were asked about her involvement in sports and the relevant studies she has chosen to carry out. The beneficiaries wanted to know what the term "victory" means to her, what sacrifices required in top-class sport, but also what lessons she learned from all life experiences.
Ms. Dalaka explained that the reward of hard work and the confirmation that when someone wants something very much he/she can achieve it, as long as he/she has the right motivation and the necessary faith in himself, comes through the victories. "We must not give up on the first failure, but always try to overcome ourselves. Any person who works and believes in what he loves will surely have the time to be rewarded!", the Panhellenic gold medals winner underlined. For her, deprivation is not a sacrifice, but it presupposes discipline and self-control whereas professional sports contribute significantly, among other things, to the development of a person's character.
Ms. Dalaka was a source of inspiration, encouraging the children who participated in the new action entitled Mentor’s Day to seek and discover their inclination, always having dreams for life. While concluding the discussion with the participants, she clarified that "it is always good to remind yourself why you started doing what you do".
Watch extracts from her speech here
EXELIXI ZOIS was founded in March 2018 and is addressed to children-adolescents (12-18 years) and young adults (18-25 years) coming from any Closed Child Protection Institutions. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) was a donor in the action of the EXELIXI ZOIS from the very beginning with its founding donation. Through support services, such as educational and counselling programmes, psychological support programmes in addition to children's contact with sporting , visual art and cultural activities, EXELIXI ZOIS seeks to facilitate their integration into society, giving them self-confidence to move forward dynamically in life, leaving any unpleasant experiences in the past. The Vision of the Nonprofit Civil Partnership is to create a bridge which will foster the smooth transition of its beneficiaries from one age bracket to the other, with the ultimate aim of their independent and autonomous living.