Passing on the Torch: warm words from Valentina

Last Month, two dedicated members of Y-E-N handed over their seats at the Board table to new young people equally eager to change things around!

They wanted to pass on their wisdom of experienced Y-E-N members! 🙂 Here is the letter of Valentina, who was a Board member for two mandates! Thank you for your work Valentina 🙂 We sure will see you again very soon!

Y-E-N WAVES

Youth Express Network’s projects move like waves: it is a powerful natural force, which we can only watch, swim by, but not control.

Y-E-N Waves is the name of our first time ever made research on the impact of Y-E-N’s project on young people’s life.

I was working in Y-E-N’s office for an internship when we were preparing the research, about two years ago.

To me, thinking for a proper name for the research, wasn’t just about finding “the name”. In Y-E-N anything is thought “just because”. There is always a long process of researching and deep reflection behind everything we do. 

Y-E-N waves: moving fast or slow but always bringing new surprises.

Since I attended my first project in 2012, I remember how fascinated I was by the amazing opportunity I was having. I travelled for my first time to Strasbourg, I was being welcomed by nice people and most of all, I was working for seven days with 30 other young people from everywhere in Europe! How incredible for a 17th years old girl to be in such a space with people from different countries, all speaking different languages.

That was the beginning of an incredible journey.

 On the last day of that project, I wanted so much to speak with a trainer from Y-E-N and say: this is what I want to do! This is where I want to be! 

I got great support and motivation.

Since then, I attended more than 2 projects per year, met INCREDIBLE people from all over Europe, learned about Human Rights, elected member of the board, being the vice-president, and facilitate the creation a local group of young people in Rome within my organization Affabulazione.

More than that, I learned about Humanity, Integrity, Motivation. I would never EVER be today the woman I am (personally and professionally) without the experience in Y-E-N. This network gives you a unique gift: sense of responsibility.

A sense of responsibility not just for yourself, but for the society we live in, for the community around us. 

It is definitely a long journey, but every step is incredibly rewarding.

When you understand about integrity and responsibility no-one EVER can take you this things off from you: they are forever yours, no matter which challenge life presents you.

Today, after taking the decision of leaving the board, I never ever feel to leave the network and I want to contribute to feed its creativity, its uniqueness.

I look back at that 17th years old girl in Strasbourg looking at the window and wanting to be in Y-E-N so much, and I look at myself today and still, wanting to be in Y-E-N vividly, sincerely, with a new vest.

All this, to say to every human being, that Y-E-N is is a human example that all together WE CAN make changes, defend our rights, promote our integrity, create a stable, creative and INCLUSIVE community. 

This is Y-E-N, like a wave, its power never ends, it recreates itself.

I will always say: go beyond, be critical, and think for the others as well. 

Be a Wave, be Y-E-N.

With Love,

Valentina”

Passing on the Torch: warm words from Katarina

As Youth evolves through generations, our board experiences changes every two years. Passing on the torch to new people and ideas is important, necessary and beneficial for the evolution of the network, its accuracy, its strategic directions…

During the last GA, we said goodbye (and see you soon!) to two of our Board Members. They wanted to mark this special role switching with a few words 🙂 Here is the letter of Katarina, who was Board Member twice, for 4 consecutive years!

Social inclusion is needed everywhere in the world today, but not everywhere you can learn how to fight for it for your self and others in your community. And then, there are those people who are even more socially excluded than yourself, how to support them is life important lesson.

Youth Express Network is a bit of a parallel universe where magic for social inclusion for Young people is happening. It is not a place since it is so many people in many places across Europe and in some stages across world, it is not place and time since social inclusion is an eternal necessity of today’s Youth. Youth Express Network is a unique personal and Professional experience that will never leave you and you will never leave it even if you physically left.

I met Y-E-N in 2009, I think, as participant. It was love at first activity which motivate me to motivate my hometown organization to start working more on social inclusion and become member of the network. We were members for several years before we decided to have me as Bord member candidate and it worked four years ago I became board member. Between organizational membership and me being in the board we, as organization and me personally were learning a lot from the network, people working in secretariat and we really enjoyed meeting new organizations. For me personally it became a place where I charge batteries for local activities, where I meet really passionate people willing to contribute and support each other and more importantly support Young people in fighting for social inclusion across Europe.

As board member for three years I learn so much about international cooperation and collaboration, European mechanisms for Young people and social inclusion and most importantly I was very happy to meet people, projects and organizations across Europe. Within the network I had a chance to be member of board as international team but also I was honored to be president and support international board and network secretariat in their work. This was such special year for me, so many learning points about myself, people, international Youth work, team building, leadership and Mutual support with one group. It was a very interesting, extensive process to be part of the board and to be president. Each day in Y-E-N brought new ideas, new challenge and opportunity and at the end of each task people feel that they really contributed. All the time I felt useful and responsible.

In these four years I had many opportunities to be part of international Training teams and meet and support hundreds of Young people and what a special pleasure it is to have some of them as coworkers within the board. Cooperation with secretariat team of the network is very interesting and unique experience because trough their work you see how important organization is in local and International context and at end of the day it is them who bring us together.

Every challenge, every day and every ideas in Y-E-N is Worth your personal commitment and challenges. In this parallel universe you can create and in real life these ideas make so much sense. I would recommend this journey for every Young person for their Professional and personal development.

Hugs :)​

Katarina Vuckovic

News from our General Assembly 2017

This week, the whole Network is gathering in Timisoara: member organisations, board members, coordination office, participants… The program for this week is FULL with events : 2 board meetings, 1 GA, and the second activity of our Work Plan “TOG(AE)THER EUROPE“: the partnership building activity “Working Together for an Inclusive Europe”.

The General Assembly of Youth Express Network was held on the 25th of June in Timisoara, Romania. Overall, the event gathered 16 Representatives of Member Organisations. It was hosted by our friends from FITT and facilitated by Ghita Petrus from the organisation Butterfly Dreamer Network.

Among other little things, Y-E-N presented to its member organisations its Activity Report, accounts and results for the year 2016. The network also welcomed 3 new members and elected a new board!

WELCOME !

3 NEW MEMBER ORGANSATION

UNITED SOCIETIES OF BALKANS

In May 2017, we had the opportunity to be hosted in Thessaloniki by the local youth organisation United Societies of Balkans (USB) for our last activity, the Youth Seminar “Living in Europe Together“. USB is a Non-Governmental Organisation which was founded in 2008. It promotes youth mobility, youth involvement in volunteering and their further awareness around social issues. Its objective is to create a better social environment in the Balkan and Eastern European region.

YOUTH VISION

We met Youth Vision through a few of our participants who, after participating individually in our project and discovering the network, decided to join the adventure with their own organisation! Youth Vision is an NGO based in Romania and whose mission is to improve the quality of life of people at social risk by offering educational opportunities and socio-professional integration. The Association aims to carry out information and awareness raising activities on the issue of people at social risk.

YOUROPIA

Since 2011, Youropia has been a close partner of Youth Express Network, sending participants, hosting events and sharing projects. Youropia is a spanish NGO which works everyday to raise awareness on learning opportunities, promote non-formal education and respect, create a safe-space to encourage participation. Its main fields of actions are Youth and participation, childhood, mobility and cooperation, non-formal learning and cultural animation.

A NEW BOARD

Another big announce is the New Board! Elected by the GA, it welcomed two new members, both long time participants of Y-E-N’s activities and more recently facilitators on our Youth Seminar “Living Together“. Another board member was elected, or more accurately re-elected: Mirela starts her third and last mandate this week! Congrats to the three of them!

Here is the new board and their respective new roles, as decided during their very first Board Meeting, held on the 26th.

(from left to right)
President :
Mirela Lupu
Vice-president : Ramiz Aliyev
Treasurer : Mariam Sahakyan
Secretary : Iasmin Scundea
Board members : Vasil Tanev & Gaia Ciccone

Here’s to beautiful future projects all together !

My 2 weeks of Intership at YOUTH EXPRESS NETWORK

My name is Arbenita, I am 16 years old, I come from Kosovo, I live in Strasbourg, I am in hight school Jean Geiler, I have to do a training period. I had already worked two weeks from January 16th to January 27th. And my last two weeks I started, from 12 June to 23 June today is my last day (23/06/2017).

I learned a lot of different things through the Y-E-N (Youth Express Network) and thanks to my colleagues. These  two weeks, I learned new things, for exemple : I did some accounting, searched for information on Timisoara (Romania), I sent emails in English, I made the Infosheet « Working » + sent it to the participants, I did Photocopies for the Accounts + Accountant, I did the list of participants for the upcoming PBA & GA, and I did the subtitles in youtube of Voice it in French and English (3 video), I sent many emails, I worked with EXCEL etc.

Thank you so much to Youth Express Network for having accepted me for my internship and for understanding at work.

World Refugee Day: one of our members’ project

On the 20th of June, we celebrated the World Refugee Day, an important day for the visibility of a community too often discriminated and victim of intolerance.

We wanted to take this special day as an opportunity to celebrate our member organisations’ work in link with newcomers. Our french member organisation Association Etage – Club de jeunes recently organised a creative workshop for families of new immigrants. Of course, many of our member organisations act directly with and in favour of newcomers, and this particular action is only one example of what can be done at local level to really make a difference in that matter.

Paint as a mean of expression

The project Peindre notre Histoire (Painting our History) lasted three afternoons during which 9 families were invited to paint and create their own paintings. They were guided in their task by two artists: Inge Panter from Offenburg and Luc Demissy from Strasbourg.

This workshop allowed the children and their parents to tell their story together using art and creativity. The group had also the common objective to create a serie of paintings which would then be presented on an exhibition, an aim which gathered the different families around the same artistic project and allowed them to meet and exchange about their stories, backgrounds, cultures and origins.

The theme of the paintings were not imposed at the beginning, but it became clear that the families were going to tell their stories through pictorial language. During the workshops, a language training was provided to the participants for them to get to know some french words in link with the activity and art in general.

An exhibition and vernissage was organised to show the results of the activity on the 5th of July. Some of the families gathered again around their finished pieces of art and presented their pieces of art to the public.

The project was driven by our member organisation the Association Etage – Club de jeunes and financed by our long time partner the Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau.

Our participants talk about us: poem

Youth Express Network sticks in our participants’ mind, and they really are the best ones to talk about their experiences! Here is a text written by one of our participants for the writing contest Plaisir d’écrire organised by the Crapt-Carrli, for which our member organisation l’Etage Club de jeunes was also a contestant. The theme of this year’s contest was the word “Network“:

While the whole world seems to organise itself around social medias, all digital and impersonal, each text submitted to our contest brings us to one simple truth: we are part of one single big network of men and women, which constitutes humanity.
Source

Here is a theme that surely inspired our participant, so she wrote this poem:

The child of the network

I am the lost child
With a network of friends
They saw me crying
And when I stay connected
It is with the whole world

I am the child of today and tomorrow
And when on my way, my head is full of ideas
To help humanity
It is with a network that I put my projects
in action

Child in search for traces
It is by communicating
That I continue to evolve
To be honest, I never stole 
Even if my father was in misery
I always had the right education
There is still a network to hang on to

And here you are, the child I met
At the other end of the globe, without the internet, without toy
I learned a lot from you
You, the child all by yourself
You taught me the word network.

L. G.

 

News from Member Organisation: LYVS

At LYVS, one of our Member Organisation from Belarus, spring is THE SEASON: new members, active preparation for the summer projects and programmes, stress of the April deadline and, in spite of everything, the time for fresh ideas!

In the end of February and the beginning of March, LYVS usually promotes and starts their two major summer programmes for young people: international volunteer workcamps and educational programme for camp-leaders “RESpublika”. Both programmes offer the crucial experience of intercultural communication and help the participants to become more mature, responsible, active and aware. Participating in the programmes, their members take part in a number of various activities: specially designed trainings, team-building activities, group activities etc.

During their annual charity action “April is the month of good deeds”, the organisation and their volunteers help various institutions to get “in shape” after winter. This year LYVS is working with the center for people with physical disabilities, a social center in Minsk, the Museum of Architecture and Household (Belarusian skansen), and the Children’s Hospice. It’s always great to work together!

There are at the moment about 300 people taking or about to take part in these programmes, and LYVS works really hard to make their experiences meaningful and useful, trying to come up with more interesting activities for them!At the same time LYVS is working with their partner organisation “Belarusian Association of UNESO Clubs” on preparation of the summer archaeological workcamps at Mir Castle – one of the top tourist attractions in Belarus. They are hoping to host many motivated and active volunteers, interested in history and archaeology from all over the world through their partners from the Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations.

To follow LYVS and their activities go to their website or Facebook page!

My 4 days of Internship at Y-E-N by Arbenita

My name is Arbenita, I am 16 years old, I come from Kosovo, I live in Strasbourg, I am in high school Jean Geiler, I have to do a training period. I had already worked two weeks from January 16th to January 27th. Since April 10, I have returned to the Youth Express Network for my third week of internship.

In fact, I learned a lot of different things through the Y-E-N (Youth Express Network) and thanks to my colleagues.

These four days, I learned new things, for example: I did some accounting, searched for information on Thessaloniki (Greece) to prepare the next European project of the Y-E-N, I learned to use Photoshop , I sent emails in English, I sent the call for participation to the General Assembly of the Youth Express Network in June, modified an English questionnaire on Google Form and also sought out restaurants and bakeries Around the Maison des Associations to prepare for the reception of a group in May.

Arbenita

Interview of Daniel Grebeldinger (Nevo Parudimos)

Last Saturday was International Roma Day. We thought it was the perfect timing to interview our friend Daniel, long time participant in Y-E-N’s activities and  founder member of Nevo Parudimos, one of our Member Organisation from Romania which dedicates its work to Roma Youth Inclusion.

Thanks Daniel for answering our questions!

Could you tell us a brief history of your organisation Nevo Parudimos?

Nevo Parudimos was founded in 2008 by a group of Roma Activists and teachers working with Roma kids with the idea to work and try to increase the social inclusion of the Roma communities and to develop civil society in our area.

What is your role in the organisation?

Actually, I was the person initiating the group of people which founded the NGO. Initially I was the president, then I was working as a project manager, now I am mainly dealing with the fundraising and everything in relation with developing our project which targets Roma.

When did you join Y-E-N?

Nevo Parudimos joined Y-E-N immediately after we were funded because I was personally involved with Y-E-N since 2005 as an individual member.

And what did Y-E-N bring to your organisation?

Initially, we joined Y-E-N to be part of the experience and to seize the opportunity to train some of our people. Then, we started to work more on the inclusion side, specially targeting Roma young people. We learned from Y-E-N, we became partners with Y-E-N… Actually, Y-E-N was the first international network we became a member of, but at this moment we are member of 5 different networks, all connected with Roma or inclusion.

As you may know, International Roma Day is coming soon. Could you tell us about your project Roma Youth – European Youth?

Y-E-N is partner with the project Roma Youth – European Youth since the beginning: Roma Youth 1, Roma Youth 2 and Roma Youth 3. During these 3 events, we created the guide « 9 steps in working with Roma youngsters ». We are currently implementing the 4th session of this training with the same great core team of trainers, together with some COE experts. It is a great project, one of our best trainings until now. It is a long term training course dedicated to Youth Worker which aims to teach them how to work with Roma Youth specifically. After the first training session, the participants work at home, at their local level, and facilitate a Roma Youth group to develop activities. So, it is actually Happening and it gives great results.

To finish, we would like to know, on a more personal level, why did you chose to work with Youth?

The first time I attended an international activity was a Y-E-N General Assembly in Turkey in Cappadocia. It was the moment when I realised: Okay, that’s what I want to do. I decided to quit my job, I was a teacher at that time, and I started to attend trainings to learn more about non-formal education and how to become a trainer. And since that moment, I’m only working in civil society, doing project for civil society, fundraising and developing civil society… Y-E-N changed my life.

Interviewed by Margaux Dos Santos

Y-E-N has a new Communication Officer!

A little History of Y-E-N’s Communication

For 24 years now, Youth Express Network has worked for Youth inclusion in Europe thanks to a large team of invested and passionate people: Board Members, Coordination Office, SAYers, Member Organisations, Young People… For the majority of this time, the internal and external communication of the Network was managed little by little and task after task, by the Coordination Office and the Board Members mostly.

In 2014, the Network created the Communication Group, a little working group consisting of former participants, SAYers, coordination officers and board members. The Group, still active today, perfectly symbolises the very definition of the Network: Young People, brainstorming and working together to speak and communicate about Youth initiatives.

Though the Group worked and still works well, the need for a dedicated position remained and it was decided that 2017 would be the year. And so, after dozens of applications and a few interviews, Margaux was chosen.

Me, Margaux, 26 y/o, one of many voices of Y-E-N

I am Margaux and I am very happy to join Y-E-N’s vast and European family. I have been working at Y-E-N’s offices in Strasbourg since the beginning of February and many people were enthusiastic and curious to know why I applied for this position?

When I saw the position offer and discovered Y-E-N, I recognized that it looked in many ways similar to some of the organisations that gave me fantastic opportunities during the past couple of years, when I was trying to find a job and felt a bit left down by society. I wanted to change side and participate to the one that announces good news.

At Y-E-N, I see good things happening and young people meeting to change what they can change, and being able to talk about the positive initiatives happening in an Europe that have given me so much is a great feeling 🙂 I am looking forward to working together with the Communication Group and to develop this one-of-a-kind initiator of ideas: who better than Youth could talk about Youth the best? 🙂

I am very glad to have joined this beautiful project! Let’s make Europe more inclusive, with words and actions 😉