From Volunteering to Being a Therapist

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I began to see the world differently, after I joined the Project Lift team. We do great things, grow together and improve.
Nilay Ugurlu

Nilay Uğurlu’s story begins as being a volunteer in our workshop and now she works as a clinical psychologist in our team. We wanted to tell her story which makes us proud, in order to inspire new volunteers.

While Uğurlu is doing her masters degree in Bahçeşehir University, she learns about Project Lift from her thesis advisor Ceren Acartürk who is also a board member of Maya Foundation. She first contacts with our clinical director Leyla Akca. After completing her trauma training, she volunteers in her first Project Lift workshop. Afterwards She starts to participate in every workshop regularly. She recalls those days; “I did not know what to do in the first project and I was so excited. The team and other volunteers were so sincere that I felt like a part of the family. It was a very productive and enjoyable process. Besides my task in the project, I’ve been collecting data for my thesis, and everyone helped me a lot. All have contributed to the research.”

Nilay studied the art therapy workshops’ effects on trauma, depression and anxiety symptoms of Syrian immigrant children and she came to the conclusion that it was very effective. Entire team of the Project Lift were proud that it was possible to see the positive effects through the observations, feedbacks of the families, and data.

When she completed her master degree, Project Lift was growing. In this process, with self-improvement, Nilay became an official member of our team. Our friend who still feels as excited as if it’s her workshop, describing that moment as “I was very happy when Mrs. Esra asked me to be part of our team. I was already a part of the team on a voluntary basis but now I will be informed of the whole process and I could work harder for the kids.”

Nilay Ugurlu who took supervision while she was a volunteer, now gives supervision to volunteers and directing groups. She describes the effects of this experience on herself as the following: “First of all I would say that it was very effective on my personal development. I thought that I was incapable of dealing with any branch of art, and that’s why I stayed away. I was not aware of the soothing effect of it. Thanks to Project Lift I became interested in art activities. It is not always possible to put the situation you are experiencing and your feelings into words. You realize the relief when you deal with art without thinking the right and wrong. Apart from that, meeting with different lives, touching to little hands and leaving a smile on children’s faces has changed my view of life. Life is full of good and evil. And you do not know what to expect if you’re faced with that goodness, you could share it and you can help it to grow.”

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