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Youth Atelier La Strada
Start date: Jan 1, 2016, End date: Oct 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Jeugdzorg Emmaüs Antwerpen (JEA) is an initiator in special youth care which is operating in the province of Antwerp. We help young people and families with severe educational problems and work with youth who committed a crime. We want to give young people new opportunities to grow. We do this by providing care, support, mediation and intense supervision. JEA includes 13 departments: facilities or services which are mobile, ambulant or residential. Each service or facility has its own kind of help or work frame. Jeugdzorg Emmaus Antwerpen is a part of Emmaüs vzw,a big healthcare organisation in Belgium.In the Youth Atelier of La Strada, the Support Services of JEA, we want to activate young people by providing an inviting and accessible environment that brings them in contact with their intrinsic motivation and gives them some succes experience. We also teach them a fixed day structure. Coached by a trajectory guide, they get the chance to make a trajectory plan. The most important achievement of this service is to bring young people back into the normal circuit (school, work, volunteer work, sport clubs, youth work,...) as soon as possible. This way La Strada aims to prevent early school leaving and combat failure in education and youth unemployment. These young people have lost the link with society and need new chances for integration. Our project helps the fight against poverty and marginalisation in the region.Between the 1st of January 2016 and the 31st of October 2017 we welcome two EVS-volunteers (of minimum 20 years old) to work in La Strada, starting in our Youth atelier. One volunteer from the 1th of January 2016 untill the 31th of December 2016 and another volunteer from the 1st of September 2016 untill the 31 of August of 2017.We are looking for volunteers who are creative, flexible, enthousiatic, engaging, empatic, willing to learn and develop, open for new ideas and motivated to learn Dutch (to connect with and engage youngsters). Volunteers who have social and interpersonal competences and want to work in a process-oriented way with disadvantaged young people between 12 and 18 years old. The volunteers will be part of the Youth Atelier team, consisting of professionals and other volunteers. In the beginning they can follow and assist in the Ateliers. In time and step by step, the volunteers can take more and more initiative, organize and lead Ateliers. In this process the volunteers will be coached by their godfather-colleague (a professional collegue working in Youth Atelier), a supervisor (following the learning agenda and goals on the basis of the youth pass) and a mentor (following his/her well-being and practical support). Ateliers are workshops or activities organised in smaller groups (1 to 6 youngsters) based on the passion of the educator, e.g. music, sport, outdoor, creativity, gardening, animals, nature, woodwork, bicycle repair, artistic crafts. The volunteer will also get the opportunity to follow, assist and lead group conversations and project days, to do individual talks with the youngsters and to give and receive feedback with youngsters and colleagues.We work process-oriented based on frameworks like Institutional Pedagogy, New Authority, Empowerment and Experiential learning. Within a fixed and predictable day structure and 10 rules, which are not negotiable, we give space and follow the youngster and his perspective, experience, pace, goals and way. We have only basic expectations (being present, not disturbing the group, recovery when breaking a 'law', ...).There are no prescribed goals. There is no message we want to teach them. This way we want to give young people time and space to (re)connect and discover what they are good at, what their interests are and eventually arrive at their intrinsic motivation. This method allows to open new paths and moves borders.The impact on the volunteers will be considerable. They will gain more experience and competence in the learned pedagogic methods, techniques and frameworks. Through the use of the youth pass and coaching by the godfather-colleage and mentor, the volunteers will continue to develop their basic (personal) attitude as an educator and their own learning goals. This kind of (experiential) learning can be very personal and will also have an positive impact on the personal life of the volunteer. Volunteers will take their learning experience back home an can inspire other volunteers, (future) colleagues and organisations they (will) work for.The EVS-project will also have impact on the disadvantaged youth we work with. A new, peculiar, appealing person with other cultural background but maybe similar or interesting passions can motivate, inspire or challenge them to connect, engage or participate in our studios or in other important parts of their life.

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