International Forum 2019 Recap

After the 2019 International Forum, we reached out to a few Forum participants to hear about their experience and takeaways.

Below are their stories –

 

Christine Thumm

What’s your name and how are you involved with Serve the City?

I am Christine and the leader and founder of Serve the City Berlin

How many International Forums have you attended?

I am not sure, but I think I attended 8 International Forums

If you had to choose one, which value did you see in action during our 2019 International Forum? How was this value exhibited?

RESPECT, there were so many different leaders from different cities and nationalities and there is not one dominant culture, but we listen to each other, learn from each other, help each other and that shows respect to me.

The 2020 International Forum is based on the slogan Kindness Starts With Me. What is one way that we can all exhibit kindness today?

KINDNESS starts for me with my thoughts and opinions. For me it is important to adjust my thoughts, views and opinions daily, because I want them to be influenced by Kindness. 

 

Travis Mielonen

What’s your name and how are you involved with Serve the City?

My name is Travis Mielonen and I am the leader for Serve the City Kraków, and founder of STC Poland since October 2014.

How many forums have you attended?

Four! Leuven 2014, Lisbon 2015, Berlin 2017, and Brussels 2019.

If you had to choose one, which value did you see in action during our 2019 International Forum? How was this value exhibited?

Hope – By establishing the “Why” behind what we do, we can instill a lasting hope to our fellow humans. I came away from the Forum with a conviction that when we are intentional about why we serve our cities then that motivates people with hope for our shared future.

The 2020 International Forum is based on the slogan Kindness Starts With Me. What is one way that we can all exhibit kindness today?

When I think of kindness in the context of “Why”, then I believe we can all realize that all people need kindness in their lives, and therefore doing small but intentional acts of kindness makes people feel seen, loved, and heard. Keep a door open for those coming behind you, pick up litter as you see it, smile, let people in on the road. At the same time, it’s also an act of kindness simply to invite people to volunteer alongside us – let them experience the joy that comes from helping others – that’s a way to spread kindness that keeps on giving.

 

Michelle Véliz

What’s your name and how are you involved with Serve the City?

My name is Michelle Véliz and I got involved with Serve the City after a friend invited me to participate in the Big Volunteer Week in Brussels.

How many International Forums have you attended?

One.

If you had to choose one, which value did you see in action during our 2019 International Forum? How was this value exhibited?

Wow, I saw all of them, to be honest. It’s hard to only choose one because I think they interconnect. If I really must choose only one, I’d say hope. The International Forum was an event where we got to meet people with whom we share the same passion and vision. Not only they see the brokenness and the need, but they are not afraid to do something about it. They are people who believe, and therefore prove, that one small act will make a big difference.

I chose hope because that is the feeling I was left with when the forum ended. I felt energized, I felt backed up by people from all over the world. Do you know that cliché image with the world and a chain of multi-ethnic people holding hands around it? I have the privilege of being able to assign faces to each of those figures, that is what the forum left me with. So, hope.

The 2020 International Forum is based on the slogan Kindness Starts With Me. What is one way that we can all exhibit kindness today?

I think one way we can exhibit kindness today is by making an effort to see the person behind our stereotypes. They don’t need to be in an extreme situation. It can be a co-worker that annoys us. I think seeing through that veil of judgment – sorry – and catching humanity behind it, can be enough for us to smile at them. Or at least not roll our eyes, you know? I don’t think we realize the impact that a facial expression can have on someone.

 

Jerry McCarty

How many International Forums have you attended?

6 Forums

If you had to choose one, which value did you see in action during our 2019 International Forum? How was this value exhibited?

Respect. The Forum respected the opinions and experiences that everyone brought to the table by having so many opportunities for interaction and circle-based discussions.

The 2020 International Forum is based on the slogan Kindness Starts With Me. What is one way that we can all exhibit kindness today?

I can show kindness today by verbally affirming the greatness I see in the people around me today!
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