Genata from HALE 3 Tells How Extreme Sports and Volunteering Are Combined

Hello Genata, how are you!

Hi, I’m fine. Well, I just tried a skate trick, one try turned out good, the other didn’t…

Introduce yourself in a few words!

I am Evgeni Penkov, from Sofia and I am a skateboard, ski, rollerblade, snowboard instructor, and some other sports when necessary. I am a volunteer in HALE 3 under a program of the European Solidarity Corps. I help with the activities of the Association Alternative Space and the organizations that are members of it. I participate as an instructor at Skate Club Varna, as I have previous experience with other clubs.

Have you been a volunteer before?

I was a volunteer, but not in a program. I have volunteered before in HALE 3 and elsewhere. In general, I want to support good initiatives and everything related to improving the spaces and environment in which we live, the conditions we have, and everything related to our development.

And how did you find out about ESC? What motivates you to get involved? 

I found out about the European Solidarity Corps programs mostly from my friends who have been part of volunteer projects and internships. I am inspired by their stories and by what I have previously chosen to do as a volunteer. Feeling complete and useful for something or someone, or for a cause is very satisfying and enjoyable, and I was very motivated to participate in such a program.

What are your tasks?

I give rollerskating lessons, I help with the cleaning, the tidying up, the preparation for events, I also help with all the additional activities that there are. Besides being an instructor, I participate, more or less actively, in other events, like concerts and various festivals – in the preparation, in the logistics,… I also get involved in personal initiatives related to improving and creating new conditions.

Share an interesting story from your work?

Of all the events we organize, I have had many, many wonderful moments. Many concerts where I was able to see the performers, skating competitions and other nice and even wonderful things.

What are the challenges you face?

The challenges are daily – they vary in scale. Specifically, as an instructor, there are many challenges with each child. My task is to motivate them and help them develop in a way that is interesting to them and suits them best. Of course, in addition to the children and teaching, I have a bunch of other challenges related to organizing events. Unfortunately, the biggest challenge is for HALE 3 to continue to operate. Before and after lockdown, there is rent to be paid and it is a major part of the challenge.

* You can sign the subscription of HALE 3 to support their activities HERE.

How has lockdown affected your work?

The lockdown has many unpleasant and pleasant sides. In the months we were closed, I can admit that I was locked in heaven. I have been happy to stay for days without going out because I had a place to train, I had enough conditions to do the necessary things, I had a space to express myself with various activities and I had a huge library – I could spend a year and a half. I also took advantage of gaining experience and knowledge in new areas. I could definitely do more, but the more you do, the more you see the opportunity for more.

What would you say to others to inspire them to volunteer? 

To become a volunteer does not require who knows what – you must have the desire and want to take on something new and different. In any case, in order to go on a volunteer path and embark on a program, you can check the organizations and people you will work with, or at least the activities they do. This way you will find what suits you best, in the field in where you want to develop. It is definitely an experience that is very different from an internship in a place that is, so to speak, the normal “classical system” and receive a normal salary and do specific tasks and have no room for development. As a volunteer you have a space for expression – you can be useful, develop and find new things that you like, and get to know new aspects of yourself.

Volunteering, just taking on a project – to initiate yourself to do, it pushes you, even more, to take the initiative in other things in life. For some people, not so many, depending on the situation, but this is definitely one of the best ways to take matters into your own hands and improve both communication and initiative. A chance to find many new good things in the world.

Are you thinking of making your own personal project?

One of the things I had as an idea for a personal project, even before the lockdown took place, and it definitely changes the way it can happen… but I would try again. I would like to do something for the culture I deal with – rollerblading because this is something I am the most skilled at and I do best so far. This is the idea – to develop what you are best at and to gain skills in new things while doing it.


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