YOUNG THINKER
Children living in a socio-economically low region have limited access to tools to improve their vision. This creates a barrier that can affect both their future academic success and social engagement. Within the scope of this phenomenon, our club conducted an education on book discussions and education on age-appropriate philosopy concepts in order to ensure their intellectual development.
10 children were selected for this project. As project coordinators, club members Özge Yılmaz and Duygu Yurtseven held meetings with these children once a month; during which, these children were educated on philosophy concepts appropriate for their age or a book was discussed.
At each meeting, a philosophy concept was chosen which was discussed with the children or a book with a theme of protection of nature or social values, that was handed out beforehand, was discussed with them to increase their capacity to comprehend what they read.

During the five meetings held between October 2,2019 and February 26,2020, the concepts of “Success and Failure” and “Justice and Injustice” were discussed through the book “Crispy Crispy Philosophy” series and Isabel Allende’s books “Kingdom of the Golden Dragon” and “City of Beasts” were discussed. We tried to contribute to their reading and comprehension practice by asking questions from the books.

It was a question of increasing participation by determining the appropriate time for children. It was a problem for the children to get used to comment in meetings. The group dynamics are affected negatively when some of them participate the meeting without reading the book.
The participation problem was solved by a mother of a child from the region who provided the communication. A warm environment was created and the project coordinators’ dialogues were encouraging for the children to express their opinions. A discussion was held for the children who didn’t finish reading the books; why they did not finish and how we can help them in this regard. It was decided to take their opinion into consideration in the selection of books and to give sufficient time.

Children expressed their willingness to continue the meetings and it was observed in each new meeting that they became more eager for the participation.

SCHOLARSHIP SUPPORT FOR EDUCATION
Our aim is to support the education of the girls who attend high school and university and have financial difficulties both for living and in access to education, in the scope of ensuring them as educated individuals to contribute to the empowerment of women in society. The scholarship period covers the period between October 1,2019 and June 30,2020.

All of the students continued to receive scholarship grant as well as last year. Considering the cost of living, we increased the scholarship fee received each month. We paid close attention to dealt with their problems and helped them find an internship in business life. During the term break we visited an exhibition all together. One of the students’ expenses was covered by the Club as she participated the Coaching Course organized by Turkish Union.
Since some of our scholars studied outside of Izmir, we could not gather together with them as much as we wanted. We were just able to meet during the semester break, however we continued our communication through the WhatsApp group.

In addition to financial contribution, we enabled them to recognize Soroptimism and see our members as role models. We think that we will see our graduate scholars as Soroptimists in the future.

PREPARATION FOR THE EXAMS
Turkish and Mathematics training sessions were held for 2-hours per week to 8th grade students in Eşrefpaşa home in order to prepare them for the High School Entrance Exam (LGS).
The training, which is initiated to increase the students’ success in school and in exams, started on October 1,2019 and continued until June 10,2020.
Volunteer Turkish and Mathematics teachers lectured regularly and prepared tests every week. During the Corona period, students’ education continued on-line.

The students succeeded in the exams. They entered Anadolu High School and Vocational High Schools. 15 students benefited from this training.

KNITTING CARNIVAL IN MEVLANA HOUSE
Our club provided training on business skills to support the development of small businesses run by women and empower women economically. Under the leadership of Club member Duygu Yurtseven, women who did not know how to knit were taught to make different products of sales value with crochet and needles. It was taken into consideration that women can contribute to the family budget by using and selling the products they produce as well as improving their manual skills.

Women living in the Mevlana District and without knowledge of handicraft were reached through Gündoğdu Contemporary Community Volunteers Association. The collective training at the training house started on October 22,2019 and ended on February 4,2020 as 3 hours on Tuesdays for 8 weeks. 10 women benefited from the training.

The problem of material supply was solved through joint purchases with the Göztepe Soroptimist Club and Gündoğdu Contemporary Community Volunteers Association.

The women produced various products and contributed to their family budgets by selling the products.

KNITTING CARNIVAL IN NALDÖKEN HOUSE
Our club provided training on business skills to support the development of small businesses run by women and empower women economically. Under the leadership of Club member Duygu Yurtseven, women who did not know how to knit were taught to make different products of sales value with crochet and needles. It was taken into consideration that women can contribute to the family budget by using and selling the products they produce as well as improving their manual skills.

Women living in the Naldöken District and without knowledge of handicraft were reached through Gündoğdu Contemporary Community Volunteers Association. The collective training at the training house started on November 8,2019 and ended on February 21,2020 as 3 hours on Thursdays for 8 weeks. 15 women benefited from the training.

The problem of material supply was solved through joint purchases with the Göztepe Soroptimist Club and Gündoğdu Contemporary Community Volunteers Association.

The women produced various products and contributed to their family budgets by selling the products.

SECOND HAND FAIR
A table was rented in the Urla second-hand market in order to both fund the club and create an activity with the members. Members, instead of throwing away, donated second-hand items which were unused at their homes.

Items were collected from the members and stocked up in one place, classified and priced. On the date of the event November 10, 2019, the items were displayed throughout the day and were sold. They were returned to the stock area if it was not sold.

A successful project was created at a very low cost; unused items in the houses were valued, the members worked together and were happy to develop the team spirit.

CHRISTMAS CRAFTS FESTIVAL
In order to raise funds to be used in club projects and scholarships, the products produced by the handicraft committee of club members were sold at the Christmas Crafts Festival.

The members gathered at their houses and produced New Year concept products as a result of the exchange of ideas with each other. The products were priced and sold at the Christmas Crafts Festival organized at Alaçatı Alavya Hotel on December 7-8, 2019.

Some members supported in the procurement of materials, solidarity within the club was displayed, good teamwork was done and income was obtained.

ROBOTICS CODING TRAINING
As the technology develops continuously, there is a need for innovative and production-oriented technologies. With the awareness of this need, children gain knowledge at an early age about coding and robotics at basic level in education systems which covers coding and robotics training of early age level. This training provides analytical and critical thinking skills.

In the light of this purpose, cooperation was made with Izmir American College. The students in the Robotics Coding Club in the College wanted to educate and inform our students in the homes we serve and prepare them for the competitions.
Necessary kits for robotic coding were purchased by the club for the students. The college and robotic coding firm also helped purchase the kits; each student was given a kit. 10 students aged 9-10 attended the training two days a week for 1 hour from December 16,2019 to May 16,2020.
They were scheduled to participate the competitions in May, their payments were made, but the competitions were postponed due to Covid-19. We are looking for the chance to come.
The students were informed about the concept of robotic coding through this training with the intention to follow new technological developments and developing different skills and abilities for the students’ success in school.

SUPPORT TO FAMILIES AT NALDÖKEN HOUSE
A seminar is organized to help parents at Naldöken House to solve problems with their adolescent children on February 6,2020.
Club member psychologist Prof. Dr. Benal İnceer delivered information on “Communication with adolescent children and extended family – nuclear family problems”.

One of the characteristics of the group is that almost everyone is relative to each other. Also, it is a small community of Alevis in a predominantly Sunni country. The first half hour of the session was a discussion to determine problems. The programme was planned yearly to identify their needs and to clear them. Although domestic violence issues were brought up, it was decided to address the common problems of families first. A group leader was chosen. 35 women attended the meeting.

Meetings which were planned to continue until the end of the year had to be canceled due to the pandemic. However, it was stated that those who are in great distress can contact with lecturer and get consultancy.

SUPPORT TO YOUNG AUTISTICS’ FAMILIES
A seminar on “Stress and coping in families of autistic adolescents with intellectual disabilities ” was organized for families in Hamdi Dalan Special Education Business and Application Center in order to motivate the families of autistic youths to their commitment to life. The questions of the parents were answered at the meeting which was held interactively with 25 participants, on February 11,2020.

Psychologist Prof.Dr. Benal İnceer, club member, gave explanatory information about coping methods and communication during adolescence by listening to the problems of both families and young people. Having a child with autistic adolescent with intellectual disabilities (AAID) the impact on various aspects of family lives are affected; including housekeeping, finances, emotional and mental health of parents, marital relationships, physical health of family members, limiting the response to the needs of other children within the family, poor siblings relationships and social interactions of the family were evaluated in detail through examples. It was discussed how families could cope with the difficult process and how they could strengthen their morale. Club members Buket Karadeveci and Aysu Benlioğlu attended the seminar as listeners.

BUDGET SUPPORT

Lockdown due to Covid-19 caused the parents in our Eşrefpaşa home to lose their jobs because most of them work in daily jobs. We wanted to support them to overcome this situation which has negative effect on the family budgets. We distributed shopping checks to 21 parents on April 21, 2020, taking into account our custom of helping people in need during the upcoming religious holiday.

FROM ESTABLISHMENT TO PRESENT
A documentary filming is prepared in memory of the 44th Anniversary of our club to be saved as a permanent document. Through this project, the senior members of our club conveyed their knowledge and experiences on the topic of Soroptimism answering the questions such as what is Soroptimism, what are its principles and objectives, who are Soroptimists. They also shared information on the foundation and the stages of the club, its prominent projects and its visibility in the Soroptimist organization.

The project is designed as an interview in a visual environment with limited participation due to the conditions we are facing. Club President Buket Karadeveci, Founding President Ahsen Önder and Yıldız Belger, Bergün Kardeş, Ayten Tekişalp who served as Club, Union, SIE and SI Coordinators and engaged in international positions were the participants. Having ten years of experience in the publication of the Turkish Union’s magazine Soroptimist Dünyası, with her publishing experience Nükhet İzmiroğlu was the moderator.

This documentary was shared with the club members at the zoom meeting held for the 44th Anniversary celebration of our club on October 23, 2020 and was listed on the websites of the Club and the Turkish Union.

SCHOLAR TRAINING

A zoom meeting is organized for the scholars to inform them about entrepreneurship on December 2, 2020. Eight scholars attended this meeting where Ms. Bedriye Hülya delivered her personal attempts on entrepreneurship.

She started to deliver her interesting experience starting from her early school life. She informed that as an example for women, she set up her business in 2005 with 5 partners by creating a brand name B-Fit system, in which women can become business owners, employees and members.

The B-fit system is not just a member and gym relation, but also gives women the opportunity to create and implement projects that will raise awareness in their surroundings and to create an environment where they can participate in social life. Women find the opportunity to experience social activities they have never done before, from seminars to drama in B-fits.

The success story of Bedriye Hülya was followed carefully by the scholars. She broadened their minds by giving suggestions about entrepreneurship during the interactive meeting. The scholars were motivated highly by knowing a successful lady.

I DID IT, YOU CAN DO IT TOO

Gündoğdu Contemporary Community Volunteers Association and Göztepe Soroptimist Club supported the Social Responsibility Project of the students in the Faculty of  Literature, Psychology Department of Agean University. The target group was secondary school students aged 11-14 who enroll in online courses and live in socio-economically disadvantaged regions within the service area of ​​both associations. The project is realized by the university students aged 18-25 as mentors, between April 2021 and July 2021. 37 secondary school and 28 university students pursued the project and members from both associations were observers.

A certificate of appreciation was given to middle school and university students by the Club and small gifts were distributed in appreciation of a successful work.

Objectives of the project:

  1. To motivate secondary school students for online education,
  2. To reinforce awareness about their future and education.
  3. To gain skills required to be successful in setting and achieving goals, making plans, taking responsibility, through students as role models in psychology department.
  4. To provide psychology students who will participate in social responsibility studies, with knowledge and experience on practical work with adolescence.

The project summarized with the stated items has two main objectives.

First aim; to ensure that secondary school students, who are socio-economically disadvantaged, participate actively in education life by highly motivating them towards online education. For this purpose, volunteer students from Psychology Department of Aegean University serve as mentors and transfer the skills necessary for academic success and personal development to secondary school students within the framework of their success stories, and it is aimed that university student mentors create a positive role model for them.

The second aim of the project is to contribute to the professional development of the students of the Psychology Department who undertake the task of mentorship by increasing their knowledge and practical experiences regarding the adolescence period. For this purpose, Prof. Dr. Aysun Doğan, Psychology Department Head of the Aegean University and PhD student, Specialist Psychologist Özge Alkanat, provided preliminary training to volunteer students on the characteristics of adolescence, the general contents of the subjects they conveyed and their mentoring practices, before hand the project.

Which problem is solved by the project:

A total of  323 secondary school students in ten regions (Bornova Mevlana, Konak Eşrefpaşa, Buca İnönü, Urla Merkez, Bayraklı Tepekule, Urla Çeşmealtı, Karabağlar Aydın, Bornova Naldöken, Menemen Ahıska, Torbalı Pancar) where Gündoğdu Association and Göztepe Soroptimist Club serve although enrolled, the number of students regularly attending the course is around 150.

Mothers living in this region are worried about their children’s distancing from education, decreasing their academic motivation, being away from taking responsibility, and using tablets and computers as educational tools for games, but they complain about not being able to provide the necessary motivation due to their low educational level.

Gündoğdu Association and Göztepe Soroptimist Club reached students through mothers who have participated in previous studies in these districts and increased students’ academic motivation through university mentors.

The other purpose of the project, which aims to contribute to the professional development of students in Psychology Department of Aegean University in increasing their knowledge and practical experience of adolescence, has also reached its goal.

How was the project implemented:

Meetings were planned with secondary school students in Bornova Mevlana, Konak Eşrefpaşa, Buca İnönü, Urla Merkez, BayraklıTepekule, Urla Çeşmealtı, Karabağlar Aydın, Bornova Naldöken, Menemen Ahıska, Torbalı Pancar neighborhoods where Gündoğdu Contemporary Community Volunteers Association and Göztepe Soroptimist Club implemented their social work projects.

As a first step, pre-training sessions were held on the characteristics of adolescence period, the general content of the topics to deal with and about mentoring practices, to the volunteer senior mentors by Prof. Dr. Aysun Doğan, Department Head of Developmental Psychology Department and Özge Alkanat, PhD student Specialist Psychologist of Aegean University.

Afterwards, it was aimed to enrich the content and motivate the students with examples of success and failure from their own lives, while the subjects of awareness and skill development were conveyed by the mentors by online meetings with secondary school students at 10-day intervals (3 times a month).

With interesting questions, the detected issues included the following items:

  1. What would life be without this school? (Awareness of the importance, meaning, function and necessity of education)
  2. Which goals I couldn’t reach and why I couldn’t succeeded? (To determine realistic short and long term goals in education and to take responsibility)
  3. What did I do when I was distracted? (Adhering to the goal, determination, overcoming difficulties in reaching the goal)
  4. Is there an easy way to study? (Efficient study methods, planning, time management)
  5. How do I deal with naggers at home? (Identifying functional and disfunctional elements in interaction with parents and siblings, developing correct communication skills, participating in duties and responsibilities within the family, being open to guidance)
  6. Will this thing which they call adolescence come to an end? (General characteristics of adolescence, coping skills with the reflections of emotional and physical changes on daily and academic life)
  7. The art of finding real buddies in ten steps (Functional peer relationship; identifying risky situations such as bullying, harassment, abuse, and being aware of communicating with parents when necessary)
  8. Hooray, school is over! How can I enjoy my vacation? (The importance and contribution of knowledge, skills and experience and personal abilities acquired outside of education)

Results of the project:

  1. Secondary school students increased their online course attendance and motivation towards education.
  2. It was observed that the conscious awareness of the meaning of education increased among the secondary school students and improvement was achieved in the processes of communication, sharing and taking responsibility within the family.
  3. Through the mentor role models, students’ motivation and skills in setting future goals, making plans and achieving goals were increased.
  4. Volunteer mentor students also gained practical work and mentoring experiences with adolescents.

Progress of the secondary school students in their ability to participate in education, set goals, recognize and manage themselves and the determination of professional knowledge and practical experience in voluntary mentor students, has achieved its goal.

If we mention the future benefits of the project; The vital qualities of personal development skills acquired by secondary school students have concrete effect on the possibility of a lifelong continuity.

It is stated that gaining experience in working with adolescents will create a professionally sustainable infrastructure for mentor students. In addition, the knowledge and skills they gain in mentoring to be used in other fields will be a secondary sustainable benefit.

Projects with similar content may be applied in the next training periods. Integration of parents may also be planned.