Post | October 2021 | News | 4 min read

Event Recap: The VTH Virtual Networking Event & Volunteer Job Fair - October 2021 Edition

Written by Gabriel Rodriguez

This past Thursday, VTH once again held our popular Mix & Match Networking Event & Volunteer Job Fair - our first event after the summer holidays! This was a bit of a special "hybrid" event for us, as it was the first time since the start of the pandemic that the VTH team was back in the office together. It was so wonderful to run an event from PEP headquarters and be around one another again! And practically, running the event from a centralized location (as opposed to our own kitchen tables) was very convenient for us. In addition to the VTH team, we were joined virtually by representatives from 12 local non-profits and NGOs (whose names and descriptions can be found at the end of this post), as well as over 160 attendees! For two hours, our attendees mixed and mingled with each other and with the organizational representatives in Zoom breakout rooms - and from what we saw, many positive and fruitful connections were made!

To start off the event, our fantastic speaker (and longtime friend of VTH) Vassia Sarantopoulou of the mental health support organization AntiLoneliness was on hand to give a short presentation on how to cope with constant change in our lives. Considering everything that's happened in the world over the last 18 months, this is both a timely and necessary topic.

We will definitely hold more networking events and workshops in the future, so please stay tuned for more announcements. But for those of you unable to attend this event last Thursday, here is a quick summary of the important points from Vassia's presentation. We hope you'll find them as helpful to your own personal journeys as we have!

Strategies for Coping with Life Changes

Vassia started off her presentation by walking us through the different types of changes we experience in life: transitions and losses, of course, but also changes that we ourselves initiate, such as new habits. It's these types of changes that Vassia focused on during her presentation - self-initiated change for the better. Strangely, our brains have a bias against change because they prefer patterns and stability; they even resist positive changes! But this resistance is normal; uncertainty is registered in our brain as an error - as danger - because any change is a type of loss. But being prepared and framing change in terms of a win instead of a loss are key skills to learn in order to cope.

According to psychology theory, there are stages of self-change:

  • Pre-contemplation - where a person begins to think about change but has a bias towards resisting the change
  • Contemplation - where a person begins to see the value of the upcoming change
  • Preparation - finding the "why" of the change, preparing one's environment, and preparing one's mindsent
  • Action - initiating the change itself
  • Maintenance - keeping up the desired change going forward

Maintenance is the toughest stage, but Vassia introduced strategies such as journaling, regular (re-)evaluation, and self-forgiveness as methods to keep up this maintenance. And, of course, rewarding oneself in order to keep up your motivation to sustain beneficial changes.

Finally, Vassia made the very important point that consistent small changes are just as (and perhaps more) important than making huge changes in one's life. These changes tend to be easier to implement and have the potential to have the greatest rewards over time.

We want to thank Vassia for attending our event and offering her insight and support to our community. We can't wait to hear from her again at a future event!

Organizations in Attendance:

Expatriate Archive Centre – A local historical organization whose mission is to preserve documents and materials related to local expat history.

Stek - Den Haag Wereldhuis/The Hague World House – An information and advisory centre, with the aim of empowering undocumented migrants to make well-informed decisions.

NL Cares – A volunteer pooling organization focussing on flexible volunteer work through social events, online volunteer agenda en corporate impact programs.

Museon – A culture and science museum in The Hague for children and adults.

Kessler Stichting – A homeless care organization serving The Hague and the surrounding region.

Ga Den Haag – A group of four foundations focused on tours and group packages with enthusiastic volunteers showing the best from The Hague.

WoonZorgcentra Haaglanden (WZH) – A care organization dedicated to providing guidance in the case of dementia, physical disorders and NAH.

Chikara Cambodia – A foundation that combines education and enviromental projects in Cambodia.

Muzee Scheveningen – A history and culture museum of the fishermans village Scheveningen.

Stichting tot behoud van de Historische Buitenplaats Ockenburgh – An organization that originated from a citizens' initiative, in which about 100 volunteers are actively divided over different groups and projects.

Reach&Teach - A non-profit organization that offers free Dutch and English language courses, as well as provides workshops and events to help facilitate the integration process of newcomers within Dutch society.

Centre for African Justice Peace and Human Rights - A foundation that engages in promoting justice, peace and human rights through education, awareness, campaign, training, outreach(Legal/Medical) and capacity building in Africa.

Stichting Aquarius – A foundation aiming to move the 6th Internationale Jeugd Film Festival (Int. Youth Film Festival) from Rotterdam to The Hague.

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