Where numbers and analysis ends, another, no less important part of Pijus’ life begins - volunteering and working with youth in Gerumo rankos organization, with which he not only works but is also a co-founder.
“It all probably started in childhood when I was an active member of the scouts. Later, after returning from my studies abroad, together with like-minded people I understood that the ideas of non-formal education were close to my heart, bringing joy and meaning into my life. This is how we set up a public institution Gerumo rankos, which is growing and expanding year after year: initially, it was only summer camps, weekend gatherings, and later it turned into weekly activities. And this year, we have opened a youth day center, where every weekday, from 3 pm to 7 pm all children from Vilijampolė, who want to spend their time after school in a safe, bright and purposeful way, are welcome. According to Pijus, working with socially excluded children, a few major issues become clear right away. One of them is an inappropriate support that causes the opposite effect. “Giving a child a euro or buying them new pants does not solve the problem. Often you allow them to fixate on the thought that it is convenient to be supported. The second problem is that children do not have the opportunity to get out of the surrounding social environment that tends to draw them in and thus they fail to experience social integration. Finally, we look forward to welcoming children from all backgrounds, not just socially excluded, as children from a wide variety of backgrounds often need a safe, welcoming environment where they could spend some time and we are always ready to welcome these children and invite them to join our activities.”
Although Pijus admits that working with young people is often a challenge - sometimes upon their return home, volunteers shed a tear - still other things make it all worth it. “I may not have understood it before I started volunteering but I perfectly understand it now that as much as you give you will receive twofold. Earlier I would say that I come here for the children, today, I can safely say that I also do it for my own sake - there is no better way to spend my free time.”