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Youth work in Esslingen, Germany
Start date: 01 May 2015, End date: 31 Jan 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Stadtjugendring Esslingen has a long tradition in working with volunteers (civilian service or a social year or just volunteering for for certain projects). The organization also worked with international interns and took part in or organized several international exchanges and projects with twin cities. It seemed like a logical step to reinforce the commitment in european exchange in the youth sector by hosting an EVS volunteer. The goal of this first EVS activity was to boost the intercultural competences of Stadtjugendring employees and to prepare the organization for the role of a future sending and coordinating organization, placing EVS volunteers in other youth organizations of its network or sending them abroad. Also, the project could intensify the cooperation with Esslingen's twin cities. It broached the issue of european exchange and solidarity in the context of youthwork in these times of new european challenges. The project was about hosting one participant, a young Italian man, who finished school and was facing a career orientation period. The EVS could convey important key competences and give outlooks on his future personal and professional life. This project's activity was a 6-month EVS. The volunteer was taking part in Stadtjugendring's daily work and discovering what German youth work is about. He worked with different teams of employees and other volunteers on several projects. This included taking part in project planning, the preparation, the realization and the evaluation. On one hand, there were long term activities like periodic youth club meetings or street work activities for kids. On the other hand there were projects like a children's city role play, an international youth music festival or the "city beach". In addition, the volunteer could realize his own projects. After his EVS, the participant knows different aspects of the field of German youth work. He also gained important professional experience through his participation in planning and conduction projects and pedagogical work with children and teenagers. This helped him in his personal and professional orientation process. He has also developped important intercultural, verbal and professional key competences. The volunteer sees himself as a part of a larger European context and is motivated to use this fact in his future personal projects. Stadtjugendring as hosting organization has gained first concrete experiences in conducting an EVS activity and is now able to amplify its dedication for this kind of activity: act as an information point and and as sending organization for German participants or as coordinating organization to place EVS volunteers in other projects. The EVS was a first step to promote European exchange and mobility on a regional and municipal level. These actions should give young people the feeling of being part of Europe. The partnership with Esslingen's twin cities will also intensify through the future exchange of EVS participants.
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