Tuesday, June 25, 2013

travels to America

It has been a while but big plans have been forming! We have been planning a big trip to America to attend at least 3 major conferences on Human trafficking. I'm very excited to have the opportunity to see new places but to meet so many different people, all united under one cause. Here is my travel plans:
Sept 4 Dep at 6.30 m arr 5.43pm in Rochester
Sept. 5-8 Rochester, NY, Edgewood FMC
Sept 9 Dep at 6.13 pm arr 7.05 pm Chicago
Sept. 11-14 Nashville, TN, Trevecca University Conference
Sept 15 New South Churches with Tamra Balzer
Sept 16 pick up and drive to WL
Sept. 21-22 Titusville, PN, Titusville FMC
With Ginger Coakley
Sept. 28-29 Glen Carbon, IL, The Bridge Church
Sept. 30 Greenville College Chapel, Greenville, IL
Oct. 1, 2 Stay with Ginger, connect in Gateway.
Oct. 3-7 Atlanta, GA - travel with Ginger
Oct. 8-10 – Winona Lake
Oct. 11-12 Spring Arbor Conference on Human Trafficking,
. . .
Oct. 17-20 Possible McPherson KS at several universities
Oct 25-26 Oakbrook, IL
Oct 27  Greek Church Chicago
Oct 28 Dep 2.00 pm arr 12.20 noon in Athens 1029
I now have the opportunity to create small short documentary clips (big thank you to Set Free Movement for that) and I have just began working on them! hopefully they will be available soon. until then please view this short clip that was made for the Set Free Movement.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A new chapter begins in my life one that consists of me stepping outside my comfort zone. The picture you see above was taken at the headquarters of "New Life" an organisation in downtown Metaksourgio. This is a dodgie area of Athens and you would not want to walk alone there at night. New Life's work consists of reaching out to women who have either been misled or forced to work in brothels or on the street. Each story differs and each woman is sacred. I have found that there is no easy fix when approaching this issue and it takes commitment to see life's changed.

Remember when i told you of the school that Streetlights was working with, the one with the 13 to 17 year olds group that consisted of individuals from all different countries? One evening when I was with Nea Zoi on an outreach on the streets, I thought something looked familiar, I was walking on the same streets I would walk to go to that school. This thought haunted me, the same kids I would hang out during the day, could end up working some day on these same streets. Or how I could end up talking to a woman and she could end up being a sister or a mother of one of the kids I see in the school.

At that moment I felt the urge to dedicate my heart to that area. I've been talking to a lot of people who are either trying to begun something there or have been working in that area and I've began partnering with them. I feel as is its almost like relief work of an entire area. There are a lot of hate crimes happening each day, new brothels opening up, and young children being placed at risk.  And I just feel compeled to do something about it.

A BIG thank you to all who have supported me so far it is very encouraging to see how many people have faith in what it is I do. I could not have come this far withought your support.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

School work? What...?!

I present to you a group photo of the 2nd Diapolitistiko School of Plateia Vathis.

Within the photo you can see four of our volunteers with lots and lots of young smiley faces (this was suppose to be a funny picture)!

I get a lot of questions with my use of the term 'School Work.'  Therefore, I'm going to take the time to explain its meaning.

Each week, I begin by posting a request (like this) on facebook:
"One of the projects that Streetlights frequently does is a broad social work in school of Bathis Square (a depressed area of Athen's center). It includes a two hour weekly program and there is a need for VOLUNTEERS ... hint, hint. The activity operates on Thursday from 2 to 4 in the afternoon and 22 kids ages 13-15 years old participate on average. If someone is interested and speaks Greek, please send a message to get in touch!!!"

I stay open to the fact that a lot of people want to participate in projects that have to do school, so I try to keep a look out for such people :)

After that I move along to create an outline of what the time scheduled will be (I try and make this as clear as possible), this way all the volunteers know what to expect and know what will be required of them. I try to avoid any confusion since we are dealing with a large group and we need the team to be on the same page, focused on what each team member will be doing.

The schedule usually looks like this:
THURSDAY SCHOOL PLAN.2:00pm – 2:10pm Arrival and chill with the kids. Balloon animals?2:10 – 2:30pm Ice breaker games. 22:30 – 2:50pm Watch the movies from last week. Laugh.
2:50 – 3:00pm Break. Chill with kids. More Balloon animals?3:00 – 3:05pm Get into 4 groups.3:05pm – 3:50pm ain activity: The “MUSIC VIDEO”.3:50pm – 4:00pm Icebreaker and finish off.

Each team leader is given a paper with the schedule. Before we go to the school, we like everyone to debrief together and make sure everyone has an understanding of the plan. Usually when we arrive at the school, the students can be found "all talking at the same time" or blowing off steam by hitting each other - their actions are similar to unsupervised sibling relations. Therefore, in order to create peace and some sort of order we begin by asking the students to tell us what the team's values should be! We remind them our simple answers: to enjoy our time together, to respect one another, no hitting, or swearing, to listen...etc. Furthermore, each time we go to the school we take time to remind the whole group that these are the teams values and this is what we live by.

Why do we do video? Its a very current topic, it teaches each student a skill, it gives a quick reward, and its something they can't find anywhere else.

Prayer needs:
We would love to be able to continue next year running this program, by increasing the days we go to the school (from one to two).  Also, we hope to have an end of the year festival.

On another note I want to share two videos that Isaac Owen has made during his visit with us. These are just two small clips that show the school work, streetlights, and my house! please enjoy and do follow Isaac's small video adventures as he continues to travel!

Video #1: Streetlights / My Home

Video #2: School Work / Streetlights

Thursday, March 28, 2013

just a fast update

i have two things to share with you today

on Friday the 29th we plan to have life web-streaming during our youth cafe that has a focus on fundraising. You can assess this on:
we will be going live at 7pm our local time till 10pm. This will be a small preview of our youth cafe is and the crazy events that take place. We are excited to have a lot of young bands and musicians sharing their art, so join in if you can :)

Meet the legends

is a small introduction video of the school work Streetlights has begun in Platia Bathis. We are very very very blessed to have partnered with this school and are very privileged to become friends with the students there. We hope to expand our programs there come September, until then enjoy the smiley faces.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

school work beginning

just a small update on recent events:
today is the day!...
today a group of four volunteers from Streetlights began their first hours of school work.
We went to a school in an area called "Vathi Square" which is known to be a rough -even ghetto- area of down town Athens. We entered a school that is known for its students being foreigners. For most of the students, Greek is their second language. The room was filled with 20 students, all of them around the age of 13-14, boys and girls. And we were given 2 school hours to run our after-school activity ; which focused on filming. We spent some time getting to know the students and setting some ground rules and principles that we all agreed on, after that we spent some time in front of the camera so the students could feel comfortable. It wasn't long until the room was filled with laughter and smiles; it was a great experience to meet each and every one of these kids and just hang out with them for two hours on a Thursday afternoon. Our plan is to continue our weekly two hour visit up until the summer and to end our season with a bang; we will be having a party where we can show all the wonderful talents that were brought to the surface!

Here is an snapshot from today's class: our volunteers Philemon and Babis heading off a discussion on what the kids would like to create with this opportunity. :) 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

long time no see

Hello reader,

It has been a while since I wrote a little update on my life. It's hard to sum up all the experiences and memories into one major post. It might be pointless to do so. As many of you are either reading this for the first time or have read previously other post but have forgotten.

Who am I? I am a 21 year old trying to figure out what to do in life and how to get things done. I work with many people and love meeting new people all in the hope of change. Changing my view/heart/understanding of life but also in the hope that I may affect those around me. I hope to make the world a brighter place. I work with an Organisation called Streetlights, located in down town Athens. This organisation's target is to help young people express themselves creatively/emotionally/physically/spiritually and they do so in many many different ways. From small groups, to training people to film and make videos, or even creative outdoor flash mobs or day trips. We now even have a small Youth Cafe that we run twice a week, with activities such as board game nights, karaoke, or live music and of course a free cup of chocolate is given to anyone that will receive it. This is one way of change occurring.

This type of organisation is not something that you will find easily. It's made out of strong individuals who  believe in change and believe that change begins first  in ourselves. This group gives me hope, for a better tomorrow. Because if the world had more groups like this one so many needs could be met. So I can proudly  say I am a streetlighter.

Something new has entered my world recently, the idea and possibility of creating a documentary. Not just any kind of documentary but one that focuses on a social issue that is much larger; not only does it affect Greece but the whole world. Many people live off of this issue and build mansions and castles. It has to do with social injustice, that many are trying to address and do something about. I am speaking about modern day slavery. The business that makes more money than any man should ever need. Trafficking of women, young girls, and even children. In the beginning I wasn't sure how to approach this issue but over a period of time I came to see how by filming and creating such a documentary could in fact bring about change. Greece is affected by this issue and it is sad to see how ignorant the majority of the population is about this issue. I must admit I'm excited to see this opportunity unfold. And to see what other opportunities present themselves.

Living life isn't enough. The question that keeps going off in my head is "what is of worth", looking back on my life I want to see things that are of value to myself but others. A big house with a nice yard and a white fence isn't my understanding of life, but a life filled with self-fulfilment and purpose is. The ways we reach our goal is not as important as the goal itself, but are equal in value. The people that love and affect us help shape who we are, and that is something that we all take to the grave.

I would like to share with you a video that I made recently, it's about the work that the Set Free Movement has been doing. This video was made to cover a specific need but it sums up a lot of truth and purpose into a 3 minute clip. If you have any questions please do contact me at mariettakalilong@gmail.com anytime. http://vimeo.com/57204083