Volunteers at Karin Dom
Karin Dom receives help from Bulgarian and foreign volunteers. The volunteers participate in the daily program of the Centre and in the following activities:
- Group and individual sessions with children;
- Assistance with children's education and therapy;
- Developing children's life skills and social skills;
- Trips, walks, and celebrations;
- Activities in Karin Dom Park and in the sensory garden;
- Preparing postcards, souvenirs, and craft work together with the children for the annual charity bazaars;
- Support in the organization of fundraising events;
- Help with the implementation of Karin Dom's projects.
Volunteers gain knowledge and skills for working with children with special needs, make social and professional contacts, and form new friendships.
Volunteers from Bulgaria, Great Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, the USA, and Canada have come to help out with work at Karin Dom. There have been 281 volunteers to date. Two volunteers have worked at Karin Dom on a long-term basis: A young volunteer from the American Peace Corps and a psychologist from Japan, who volunteered for two years under the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
We currently have a volunteer from the American Peace Corps, who will be with us for two years. She helps out in the group for children with Autistic spectrum disorders and actively participates in the life at Karin Dom.
When volunteering at Karin Dom it is helpful to have qualification as well as previous experience in the field of education, social studies, and/or special needs, but it is not a must. What is most important is a positive attitude and a genuine interest in children with special needs. When applying to be a volunteer at Karin Dom we ask that you submit a CV and a short letter of motivation.
If you are interested in applying to be a volunteer at Karin Dom, please write to: or call us at +359 52 302517.
Volunteer at Karin Dom Centre, September - December 2010
Now my role as a consulting pediatric physical therapist was to expand the evaluation and treatment skills of a group of 4 young, enthusiastic physical therapists and to assist Karin Dom in developing and implementing their new Early Intervention program.
Karin Dom was one of the first centers in Bulgaria to address the needs of children with disabilities in a community setting.
My mornings were spent in the physical therapy room; observing treatment sessions, offering ideas, co-treating with colleagues, and demonstrating new ways of assessing and working with children. Most of the children had significant levels of cerebral palsy. The therapists had an understanding of handling and positioning techniques to relax stiff muscles. My goals were to strengthen the therapists' observation and problem solving skills and to demonstrate how to engage the children in meaningful motor learning activities (play, functional skills). Together we made small but significant gains with the children.
My most successful mode of teaching came from brainstorming with the therapists on next steps for a child. Our motto became "let's try it and see what happens". The therapists were always open minded and ready to investigate new ways of thinking.
The staff at Karin Dom was eager for trainings on new therapy ideas. During the afternoons I was able to provide specific instruction on several topics including: the use of compression garments, gait training on the treadmill, soft tissue release, infant massage, and cortical visual impairment. As an experienced early intervention therapist I was also able to contribute to regional trainings on Early Intervention topics.
Isolation after the center closed and the staff left for day, was a daily struggle for me as I was used to a busy family life at home. Thankfully I found my Bulgarians colleagues to be friendly and accommodating. Perhaps my mature age was the right incentive for folks to respond so quickly to my needs, but more likely that is just the Bulgarian way.
Through the hospitality of my colleagues and their eagerness to learn, my experience at Karin Dom was a wonderful shared success.
Christine Giannoni M.S. PT
Volunteer at Karin Dom Centre