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Generationsbrücke im Gerhard van Heukelum Haus
Start date: Jul 1, 2015, End date: Jul 1, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The residents of "Gerhard van Heukelum Haus" experience support at the personal, medical and social level. The geographical position of "Gerhard van Heukelum Haus" in the district Mitte, where the number of elderly people increases, entails a growing number of elderly people who visit “Vogelnest”- social offer of AWO Pflegeheim for elderly people of the district Mitte. The project "Generationsbrücke im Gerhard van Heukelum Haus" of AWO KV Bremerhaven e.V. is a 12-month EVS project in Bremerhaven, in which two volunteers from Spain and Russia will participate. The goal of the project is to let the elderly people, who visit "Vogelnest", and the residents of “Gerhard van Heukelum Haus” take part in social life as independent as possible in an intercultural atmosphere. The activities of the project include assistance in everyday life and offering intercultural activities as for ex. introducing creative intercultural particularities or cultural differences from their own countries of origin; readings and information days concerning Europe and the countries of their origin, organization of traditional festivals; assisting in the planning and execution of intercultural and intergenerational events. This diverse and cross-border together being offers sustained mutual learning, networking and collaboration across borders and brings with it a very special quality to the HO. The everyday exchange between the volunteers and the inhabitants of the house happens in an informal way and allows them to experience, perhaps to look at their own culture with a critical eye and to develop their self-confidence and understanding the values of Europe as a shared culture. Creative activities in the Vogelnest will bring into the local community a variety of starting points to discuss the issues of Europe and to involve them into the learning field Europe. Moreover, through the presence of volunteers at the major events in Bremerhaven, such as "Europe Day" or "summer festival”, through the meeting with local media and visits to schools for the Information days promoting EVS and Erasmus + program, the European awareness of participants will be strengthened. Moreover, the interest of young people in Bremerhaven in the EVS and in the European dialogue and mobility will arouse. We expect from the volunteers an open, respectful and tolerant attitude towards elderly people, interest in new experiences and willingness to the intergenerational dialogue. The work and communication with the residents who are sometimes physically restricted or mentally deseased people, requires a lot of patience and empathy. We would also be glad if the volunteers have various hobbies and talents in the arts, sport or music which would allow them to organize some additional offers for the elderly people. The volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in various courses, for example “first aid course” or an additional German language course offered by AWO Bremerhaven. After the introduction period, in which the volunteers learn about different activity fields of "Gerhard van Heukelum house", it will be decided by the volunteers and their colleagues, where they would like to set their priorities. In their work area the volunteers will deal with the issues of age discrimination, social exclusion, stereotypes, etc. and will develop skills such as conflict resolution skills and empathy. They will also continue to develop their language and communication skills in all activities of the EVS. In the field of project management they will also get insights in their work and discover possibilities to implement their own projects and creative ideas. The volunteers will also develop soft skills that are important in the daily life by working with the colleagues of the "Gerhard van Heukelum house". All these experiences and competencies will help to encourage them to take an active role in their community and use their knowledge acquired in this work when they return to their home countries, so that even other organizations, projects and people of their countries would benefit from their experience. The local community and the employees of HO will also benefit from the EVS project, because their work will be seen from a different perspective, which will contribute to the self-reflection and the possibly of some positive changes. In addition, persons and organizations of the community will discover new opportunities of international youth work supported by the Erasmus+ program, which opens up new perspectives for their future work. The impact on the local community of the host organization will be achieved by spreading the results of the project. In the long term the partnership between the host and sending organization will be strengthened, which will hopefully have a positive impact on the number and quality of future EVS projects. Also the contact with former volunteers is aimed to build a kind of possible future network.
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