On the International Volunteer Day on December 5, 2020, Biserka Selimović (72), a Depaul Croatia volunteer, was named the best volunteer in the Republic of Croatia for 2020. In 2020, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, which set numerous obstacles for volunteer activities, Biserka volunteered for as long as 607 hours. Biserka participates every weekend in the preparation and distribution of a hot meals for the homeless, and after so many years of volunteering, she knows the users, follows their life course. Users accept it, respect it, are grateful and are happy to talk openly and honestly. In addition to regular volunteering, Biserka participates in various trainings, often finds donors and offers creative ideas for the soup kitchen and meal preparation. She was also the oldest participant in the “One Night Under the Stars” initiative last year, which showed support and solidarity with the homeless. Her application was distinguished by her long-term volunteer engagement, dedication, regularity, the number of volunteer activities in which she is involved and the fact that the volunteer is elderly, which makes her volunteer influence even more significant and admirable.
Biserka Selimović received the news about the award during volunteering at the Haven House – Day Center for the Homeless. She received the happy news with great surprise and sincere gratitude: “I am grateful to Depaul Croatia director Sr. Veronika Popić, all the volunteers I work with and all the clients of the Haven House and my son and grandchildren for their support and understanding to do what I love. Through all these years of volunteering and helping, I realised that I received a lot from our clients because volunteering is always more receiving than giving. Volunteering opens new horizons, expands the heart for our neighbour, teaches us selflessness, recognising man and his needs, and makes us better people ourselves. The meaning and fulfilment of our lives is the life we live by giving ourselves to others. I believe that anyone who chooses to volunteer and donate their time and talents that they have to others will feel joy, blessing and heart fulfilment. You can receive the love of others only if you give it, and therefore I invite others to start volunteering and find their place as I found it in Depaul Croatia. ”