In April 2018, the services of the young volunteers, arrived in Baia Mare in October 2017 through the European Voluntary Service (SEV), had ended: Jonathan van Varik (Netherlands – 7 months), Maeliss Vray (France-6 months), Barbara Pereira (Portugal-6 months), Angelica Petritz (Austria – 6 months), Cecilia Fini (Italy – 6 months), their host organization being YMCA Romania. The project was also attended by the Spanish volunteer Juan Gallardo Roca – 3 months.
The aim of the project is to promote inclusion and civic engagement by empowering children and young people, including those with fewer opportunities, to become Ambassadors of the community, supporting diversity, tolerance, initiative, critical thinking, equality, participation for creating a society in the spirit of principles democracy and human rights.
EVS volunteers have developed inclusive programs for children and young people in Baia Mare, Cavnic, Copalnic Manastur, Somcuta Mare, personal development programs for children and pre-teens, leadership and civic education for youth, human rights, No Hate Speech, have created their own “Youth Power Space” workshops ( languages: Italian, English, Dutch, Austrian dances, Hideaway – Stories of Refugees, volunteering and assistance at night shelter), participated in community projects by organizing events, youth consultations, meetings, etc.
Throughout the Youth Power Space volunteer services, from October 2017 till April 2018, the 6 EVS volunteers carried out activities for 1,500 children, young and adult beneficiaries, coming from both urban and rural areas, from ethnic communities (Hungarian and Roma), with less opportunities (educational, social, economic, family, etc.)
The local partners of this project were: YMCA Baia Mare Association, YMCA Cavnic Association, ASSOC, “Petre Dulfu” County Library Baia Mare, “Gheorghe Baritiu” Technical College Baia Mare, “Gheorghe Sincai” National College Baia Mare, “Nicolae Titulescu “ Economic College “Baia Mare, ” Vasile Lucaciu ” National College Baia Mare, ” Pintea Viteazul ” Economic College Cavnic, Maramures General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection, County Direction for Sport and Youth – Baia Mare Youth Center, Somaschi Volunteer Foundation, Federation of Nongovernmental Youth Organizations Maramures, Hope and Homes for Children Romania, Pentecostal Theological High School Baia Mare,” Ioan Buteanu” Theoretical High School Somcuta Mare, “Nemeth Laszo” Theoretical High School Baia Mare, “Lucian Blaga” Secondary School Baia Mare, Secondary School “Alexandru Ivasiuc “Baia Mare.
“I wanted a volunteering experience just to find my path in life, to develop, to improve my communication skills, to get out of my comfort zone. After the six months, I can say with certainty that I enjoy my decision for this experience has changed my perspective on everything that surrounds me. At first I thought I was an open, tolerant person, but all the context here gave me an opening process that led to being more tolerant, accepting other cultures, habits, people. “(Angelika, Austria)
“SEV is an adventure that drives you beyond the limits and takes you out of the comfort zone. The project came at a time of transition in my life. The biggest challenge was to be away from home. But here I found a new family: project colleagues and organization. The most important lesson learned was to discover many resources in my own person, many valences, thanks to the extremely rich and intense context created by the project, a safe place to experience, meet, and most importantly, to love. ” Maeliss, France)
“When I return home, I will be another person. These were the first thoughts when I accepted to attend this volunteer service. My whole experience of volunteering has taught me to listen and be pro-active. The enthusiasm of children and young people in activities cannot be matched by adults. I met many people, created countless activities, made new things, discovered many facets of friendship and what youth work means. Finally, I wonder: have I changed? The answer is yes without any doubt. ” (Jonathan, The Netherlands)
“Being a YMCA EVS volunteer was not just to help others, but to share our experience, learn from each other, listen , team work, adaptation and flexibility. Even when the daily schedule is over, EVS experience continues. Living together with five other people from different countries could be a good anthropological study. Different personalities, different countries and cultures, diverse perspectives to see the world can be challenges for some, but for us they have been the foundations of our new family in Romania. “(Barbara, Portugal)
“During the 6 months of my internship, I read a book titled” Everything Is Lighting “: here everything is enlightened, all the living here changed me, marking me in a unique way. This was a safe space in which I tested, developed, learned. I cannot imagine other project colleagues than Angelika, Barbara, Maeliss, Jonathan. I cannot imagine another project, another house. (Cecilia, Italy)
At the end of their service, the volunteers made a video about their experience in Romania, as well as an online guide to share their experiences both in the project activities and in terms of their integration into our community, their visits in Romania and people with which they interacted.
The “Youth Power Space” project is funded through the Erasmus Plus program of the European Union and is organized together with the sending organization partners: Verein4YOUgend-Austria, Asociacion Building Bridges-Spain, ProAtlântico – Associação Juvenil -Portugal, Ville de Nevers- France, Vicolocorto- Italy, Stichting UcDean- Netherlands.