June 20, 2011 - CEOs, representatives of the embassies and employees of 74 Slovak companies demonstrated not only their ability to work manually but also to work together. Altogether 4313 volunteers helped to make their community a better space to live during the event Our Town (Naše Mesto). With the number of volunteers, the event reached its all-time record.
The volunteering event Our Town took place on Friday June, 17 and Saturday June, 18 and it brought together companies, employees and the community. For the first time, the event was organized in 6 Slovak cities. Besides Bratislava, Košice and Žilina, also smaller cities – Galanta, Hlohovec and Spišská Nová Ves - took part.
Volunteers helped to make their community a better space to live during the event Our Town (Naše Mesto).
Volunteers helped with restoration of castle ruins, removing illegal dumps, cleaning up forests and parks, but also painting schools and different community centers. The brave ones even tried the life of a homeless street vendor and were selling magazine Nota Bene. The more skillful ones cooked gulyas soup for the homeless. „When we ran out of paint in one of the schools in Bratislava, the volunteers did not hesitate for even a split of a second and hurried to buy a new can,“ describes the enthusiasm of the volunteers Monika Smolová, a project coordinator, who organized the event together with a group of companies Engage.
Even the chemist Pisztori would rejoice
Many citizens of Bratislava were pleased by the clean-up of the courtyard of Pisztori palace, which used to belong to a chemist called Pisztori. He grew herbs in the palace, which he later used to make medicine. During the period of Slovak state, the palace served as an embassy of the German reich and later on as a Lenin museum. „Palace is not open for the public now. But also thanks to the work of the volunteers we were able to remove weed that plagued the courtyard and old furniture from the palace interior so that we would be able to open it occasionaly for visits, while the reconstruction is underway,“ Miroslava Pagáčová from the City District of Bratislava-Staré mesto explained.
„I like the idea of the event and I am glad that companies are willing to pay the work-time of their employees, who devote it to volunteering. It is nice that this way they do something for the society not just for themselves,“ said Jana Lancíkova from IBM. Jana works as an accountant but this time she was configuring Internet on computers at cultural and educational center Ister from Bratislava.
The biggest event of corporate volunteering ended with painting the bus station under the bridge Nový Most. „Almost 30 volunteers participated in this night activity when they painted the road and the pavement of the bus station green. There were even two travellers from Brazil spending a day in Bratislava who spontaneously joined the volunteers. Wearing the blue T-shirts, full of enthusiasm, they contributed to a more beautiful Bratislava,“ said M. Smolová.
Ján Orlovský, the spokesperson for Západoslovenská energetika, added that there are many volunteers among us, but it is sometimes hard to recognize them. „Often times I do not see it, myself. Therefore it is very important to be in places with a high concentration of those who already discovered their will to help others. Our Bratislava is such a space where it is very easy to spot the good feeling of human connection, which volunteerism offers,“ Orlovský responded.
Support of the famous
The volunteering event Our Town was organized first time five years ago with 400 volunteers in Bratislava. Its inspiration comes from a similar event organized in New York City, when its citizens do something for their city. This year also celebrities joined the event, famous Slovak actresses Táňa Pauhofová, Zuzana Šebová and Henrieta Mickovičová or TV anchors Jarka Lajčáková-Hargašová and Ľubomír Bajaník. Representatives of Danish and Norwegian embassies, Embassy of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or Embassy of the United States were also among the participating volunteers, as wells as ordinary citizens, for whom volunteering activities are very natural and they care about the enviroment where they live.