June 3, 2022. This is the date sixteen volunteers from all over Europe met for the first time and started the implementation of the project “Green Your Mind: Health for us and for the Earth”. A project dedicated to two main areas of human life, inextricably linked: the environment and mental health
Two months full of hard work at the Psychiatric Hospital of Thessaloniki, new life lessons, emotionally charged moments, and ups-and-downs, always in the context of cooperation and teamwork. The volunteers were invited to work at the “Green Unities” of the Psychiatric hospital, doing gardening, in order to provide help to the Open Therapeutic Community of ARGO and its members. But how was the experience in their own words?
“My experience was amazing. I met people I never thought I would really meet, and we had good communication and cooperation. I would definitely like to participate in a similar project in the near future” says Isidora, a 24-year-old volunteer from Greece.
“I really enjoyed this project. It was like a vacation for my mind because I felt really relaxed and refreshed. I enjoyed doing agricultural work, knowing that somehow, I am being helpful to others. The Hospital and its members were very good and motivating as well. In general, it was an amazing experience. My mind is Green now!” says Nelly, a 23-year-old Armenian volunteer.
“The project itself wasn’t exactly what I was waiting for, but it was definitely fun. I met a lot of amazing people, from different countries, and we exchanged many cultural things. Maybe gardening wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, but I am still satisfied that I helped someone, so my main goal was achieved” says the 20-year-old Nika from Georgia.
“In my opinion, overall, the project was good. The idea behind it had a very important purpose. Some things could have been worked on, and a few problems should have been solved earlier, but the experience itself and the people around this were very pleasant”, says Jan, a 22-year-old volunteer from Portugal.
“Now, we can see the results of our hard work. Overall, it was a magic experience, and with a good approach, you could learn a lot from it, doing things that are far from your core interests and your everyday life. It is always beneficial to try something different. The main lesson I took is to not underestimate things that seem to be far from me but to benefit from everything” says Gianluca, a 24-year-old volunteer from Italy.
“Overall, my experience was good. I enjoyed this project in its entirety and the main concept behind it. Sure, there were ups and downs, but they did not make me give up on it. The best part, for sure, was the people I got to interact with, which made this experience unforgettable” says the 21-year-old Valeria, from Italy.
“GYM: Health for us and for the Earth” finished on the 25th of July with a big barbeque, organized by the members of the Therapeutic Community of Argo. Earlier, the final thoughts and emotions of the team were shared, as the volunteers participated in their last group activities, always under the guidance of their mentor and coordinator.