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GARDENS: Generating Active Relations through the Development and Enhancement of a Natural lifeStyle
Start date: May 4, 2015, End date: Dec 3, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

GARDENS (Generating Active Relations through the Development and Enhancement of a Natural lifeStyle) is an EVS project coordinated by InCo with the participation of 8 volunteers from 7 different countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Latvia, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Volunteers, sending and receiving organizations have been involved in the project design from the very stage of volunteers’ identification, highlighting, in particular, the activities they would like to carry out. Considering the event Expo Milano 2015 "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life", together we decided to address the issue of sustainable development as a multidimensional concept, fostering social cohesion and meeting individuals’ needs of health and wellness while respecting nature and the environment. Volunteers will be involved in the activities of four receiving organizations located in the Trentino -South Tyrol region to promote a more natural, environmental-friendly, respectful of social diversity lifestyle as well as psychological and physical well-being. Receiving organizations are active in several areas: ASSB and Civica manage rest homes for elderlies, CTS is committed to work for people with mental illnesses, addictions or debilitating diseases; Caritas has different services for people at risk of social exclusion while youngCaritas promotes active citizenship among youngsters and raises awareness on social issues. If it's true that receiving organizations meet the needs of different beneficiaries, it is also to be considered that they are all sensitive to the issues of sustainable development and social exclusion. Each organization offers residential services; moreover ASSB, Civica, CTS and Caritas (Emmaus House) all have gardens cultivated in collaboration with their beneficiaries. Besides this, Caritas carries out workshops on food waste. Therefore in the receiving organizations volunteers will mainly implement activities dedicated to people at risk of social exclusion and take part, in particular, in recreational, cultural, educational and raising-awareness initiatives. Volunteers will also be involved in parallel activities “Salad Bowl in Trentino Alto-Adige per la promozione di stili di vita naturali”, title that has been suggested by the volunteers. As part of the parallel activities, under the supervision of the receiving organizations and of InCo, volunteers will participate in workshops to raise awareness on food waste and organize events such as "Orti aperti" in the different receiving organizations, inviting also the local community. Therefore volunteers will encourage beneficiaries of the organizations and the local community to "grow their own garden" together, being more environmental-friendly and respectful to people facing economic difficulties, addiction and/or health problems but also paying more attention to individual psychological and physical well-being. The parallel activities involve all 8 volunteers, and they are an opportunity to stimulate peer-to-peer contact, boosting not only socialization and learning outcomes but also volunteers' spirit of initiative. From these activities will emerge a group of international volunteers that will stay in touch even after the end of their service. GARDENS’ activities are designed to have an impact on each actor involved. The project is a learning opportunity for volunteers who wish to develop and reinforce skills and attitudes relevant to their personal growth and future employment. Receiving organizations will benefit from the enriching elements and new activities designed by the volunteers. The activities of the partners will have a greater impact due to the creation of synergies and the exchange of good praxis between organizations working in similar fields at local and international level. Beneficiaries of the receiving organizations will have the chance to weave relations with people of different cultures, sharing their stories, games and recipes. Finally, the local community will have the opportunity to know better EVS volunteers, receiving organizations and their beneficiaries, who live close to them but nevertheless might be unknown to them.

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