Volunteerism and Ecumenical Citizenship in Portugal

By the Editorial Staff

Wednesday | December 04, 2013 | 2:41 PM | Last update: September 22, 2016, 4:07 PM (Brasilia time)

The Legion of Good Will of Portugal has been working for 22 years promoting Solidarity through socio-educational activities and human and spiritual support for others. The work of the Organization in Portugal reaches teaching institutions, supports similar entities and extends to symposiums, cultural exhibitions, health promotion events etc.

All these initiatives have helped consolidate the concept of Ecumenical Citizenship, because with the support from the LBV’s team of professionals and volunteers, those people who are helped feel encouraged to change their lives starting from positive attitudes founded on the full practice of spiritual, human and social solidarity.

Every month more than 400 volunteers work in the LBV’s socio- educational programs, helping in areas like oral health, through the Happy Smile program; or collecting food via the One Step Forward program; organizing donations received at the Organization’s own facilities through the FTAs (Free Time Activities); or making friendly visits as requested by families.

In the LBV’s task of monitoring those who are being helped, which includes motivational activities as well as programs and campaigns for the valorization of Life, many stories of personal triumph and love towards our fellow beings come to light. These stories appear both among those who benefit from the solidary actions as well as among the LBV’s own voluntary workers, since attitudes and good practices have also changed the lives of those who help the Organization. Such is the case of the retiree Rosa Orquídea Ferreira, a volunteer for the past 18 years in the city of Porto. “My experience here is great. It has taught me how to share, how to be humble, to love others and essentially to practice the New Commandment of Jesus, which is ‘Love one another as I have loved you’.”

The more these human stories become known, the more the happiness of the LBV’s team increases, as well as the certainty that its work has made a difference. “I learned about the LBV at a very complicated time in my life. I came with a friend and since I joined I’ve never once wanted to leave!” According to voluntary worker Rosa, the people closest to her have noticed changes in the way she acts. “They noticed a lot of difference... I started being a more understanding person, easier to get along with; now I can overcome my problems with a lot more faith and perseverance.”

The LBV of Portugal today has almost 3,000 people registered in its volunteer center. Every year, more people join willing to change lives for the better. These people are welcomed into the volunteer training activity in Porto, where they receive information about the Organization’s socio-educational programs, its objectives, mission and vision.

About the Legion of Good Will of Portugal:

The Legion of Good Will of Portugal started its work in Porto in 1989. Thanks to the help of the Portuguese people, the LBV’s work has expanded and, as a result, more and more people are benefiting from its solidary actions. In addition to Porto—where it started working out of a bigger building in 2010, promoting the expansion of services offered locally—, the LBV is active in Lisbon, Coimbra and Braga, and also has campaigns that extend nationally. The highlights are the Happy Smile, One Step Forward, Good Will Seed and Sport is Life programs. Further information at www.lbv.pt.