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International Volunteer Day Celebrated in Córdoba

Argentina-2016-12-09-International Volunteer Day Celebrated in Córdoba


Córdoba, Argentina—The Córdoba chapter of UPF-Argentina celebrated UN International Volunteer Day by recognizing four organizations and one volunteer. The event, whose theme was, “Let’s Say Together: Thank You!” was held on December 9, 2016 at Salón Ferroviario in the Alta Córdoba neighborhood of the city.

After the welcoming remarks, a video about UPF and its activities around the world was shown, and the UN Secretary-General’s message for the Day was read. Then, members of the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP)-Argentina performed “El amor que das” with musician Marcos Juárez, which prepared the environment for the awards ceremony.

A moving moment of the program was when Mrs. Evangelina Bartola, a volunteer, and who was representing the first honoree, Fundación SOLES, shared her experience of providing “emotional and economic support to children who have cancer and other oncohematological illnesses” at the Children’s Hospital Santísima Trinidad of Córdoba.

Mrs. Bartola said, “We have a house where we accommodate the child and their family when the [child is receiving treatment]; they are in a warm environment full of affection so they can feel at home.” One of the guests at the event was the mother of a volunteer who had worked at the same hospital for 20 years. Her tears showed how valuable this work is.

The next award was given to Fundación Creamos, which was represented by their president, Mrs. Silvia Pereyra, and Mrs. Verónica Díaz and Mrs. Verónica Reggis. Mrs. Pereyra talked about the organization, which serves food to homeless people in Córdoba and surrounding areas. She said, “300 people get their dinner every Tuesday and Thursday; [on these days] volunteers prepare and deliver food [from] 4:00 p.m.” It is most inspiring “when… we see that our dedication over a certain period of time [has] unleashed hope and a possible change in their lives…We are sure that the first step to making a positive change is to believe that something better is possible. Anyone who believes it creates it.”

The third NGO honoree was Foro De Los Sabios, a cultural-social-educational foundation that supports the elderly. Ms. Gina Capcha Torres, a CARP-Argentina member, received the award on behalf of the organization, as a representative of the organization was unable attend the event.

Fundación Compartir, which supports children living in rural and native communities in Argentina, was the fourth organization that was recognized, and was represented by Mr. Edgar Mazzalay and Mr. Dario Ávila, who received the award. They shared how hard yet rewarding their job is. Mr. Mazzalay, who is the president of Fundación Compartir, said, “When I visited that community, I decided I would help them again. I understood that each one of us can make a difference; we should not wait for anyone else to make the change.” He also said “Giving is the basis of happiness.”

Then, Ms. Katya Villafañe, a young model who became famous for volunteering as a football (soccer) coach in a slum area in Córdoba, was given the volunteer award. “The smile of every child is the biggest reward,” expressed Katya, who said she inherited a volunteer spirit from her mother, who has been a volunteer for many years.

Ms. Villafañe showed a motherly heart and said she was going to take the final exam to become a physical education teacher. “Apart from teaching them how to dribble, I also had to become their tutor and even sign their school notebooks,” she shared.

Afterwards, a group of young people danced “Caporales,” a traditional dance from Bolivia, which was followed by the CARP chorus singing “Mundo de paz,” composed by Carlos Varga, director of UPF-Argentina, and “Somos uno,” by Abel Pintos and Axel.

The celebration concluded with the emcee thanking all the guests and cutting of the cake.

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