Tell your Y-E-N Story [Facebook Challenge]

At the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of Youth Express Network, we wanted to tell our story. Above all, we want to hear the stories of the people who joined us through our exciting adventures towards Youth Inclusion!

To give to our online community the opportunity to share bits of their Y-E-N stories, we launched a Facebook Challenge. Through it, we hope to read lots of anecdotes throughout the year: the stories of how they met Youth Express Network? The stories of their best memories with the Y-E-N family? The most memorable projects they participated to..

If you would like to take part in this online storytelling experience, here’s how the Youth Express Challenge works:

– Write your little story as a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram post. Don’t hesitate to add pictures or videos
– Tag your Y-E-N friends and invite them to tell their story as well
– Use the #youthexpresschallenge on your post. It will allow us to collect all of your testimonies afterwards
– Copy these instructions somewhere on your post for your friends to continue the chain

We can’t wait to read your stories!

READ THE STORIES HERE!

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

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.

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.

 

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 😉

Internship in Y-E-N by Arbenita Tetaj

Hello everybody,

My name is Arbenita, I am 15 years old. I come from Kosovo and I live in Strasbourg with my family since 3 years. I am a student in Highschool Jean Geiler. I am intern in Youth Express Network Office just for two weeks. I am learning “Gestion Administration” and in Y-E-N I am doing: search infos on activities in Kosovo Youth Centres’ Network, interview in Albanian, writing and sending emails etc.

I am very happy to be here and working with Youth Express Network because I am learning very different things. For me it is very different because I have never been working in my life and it is my first chance to learn and to continue my life.

“Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.”

Arbenita

Interview of Krenare Gashi (KYCN)

Arbenita TETAJ joined Y-E-N Office for a job shadowing and took the chance to interview Krenare GASHI, from our member organisation Kosovo Youth Centres’ Network.

Thanks Krenare for answering our questions!

Can you give us a brief history of your organisation?

Kosovo Youth Centres’ Network (KYCN) is a network of youth centres around Kosovo, which was established non-formally in December 2014. In 2015, KYCN changed its format from non-formal to a formally registered organization. Currently, as integral part of Youth Centers’ Network are 21 youth centres from different cities of the country, that develop activities on the focu of youth.

How many members does KYCN have now?

In 2014, KYCN started to work with 16 members and now we count 21 members. We are in the process of enlarging the umbrealla for new members.

When and why did you join Y-E-N?

In July 2015 we joined Youth Express Network. By becoming member of Y-E-N, we fulfilled one of our main objectives for 2015, which was to be positioned as the linking bridge between youth centres in Kosovo and youth NGOs in Europe.

Does this membership have a positive effect on your organisation?

Being a member of a European youth network such as Y-E-N made KYCN the first youth umbrella organization in Kosovo. In addition, KYCN became the Kosovo youth voice at European level.

And you, what is your role in KYCN?

I am currently the Executive Director of KYCN.

Can you mention some of the most important project that you have carried out?

The most creative project implemented by our organizations is the Electronic Plate-Form. This provides opportunities to its members, to promote their activities for free and use it as their website as well.

What do you like about KYCN?

The most unique thing about KYCN is the simple way of its function. With no complicated hierarchy on management, it makes it easier to work.

Have you participated in a Y-E-N activity yourself?

Yes, I have participated in 5 activities:
– 2 seminars organised by Y-E-N itself: in October 2015 and in May 2016;
– 3 seminars suggested by Y-E-N: in April 2016 with the Council of Europe, the “EYE 2016” in May 2016 and “Youth Peace Camp” in July 2016.

What is the future plans for KYCN?

Our future plans are:
– Promotion of youth employment
– Regional cooperation
– Enlargement of activities at European level

By Arbenita Tetaj (job shadowing in Y-E-N Office)

Interview of Mojca Makovac (Jeunesses Musicales Croatia)

jmlogoDuring our last activity “Voice it” in Groznjan, Croatia, the communication group took the chance to make an interview of Mojca MAKOVAC, head of the international youth meeting centre of Jeunesses Musicales International in Groznjan and former Y-E-N Board Member.

Thank you Mojca for answering our questions!

Can you give us a brief history of your organisation?

Jeunesse Musical Croatia is part of a bigger network called Jeunesses Musicales International which has its headquarters in Brussels.

The association was founded in 1969 in Belgium. Little by little it expended to many European countries. The main objectives are for young people, musicians and audiences to have access to music. We advocate for quality formal and non-formal music education for young people and greater music learning for young audiences.

All along those years, Jeunesses Musicales have organised different classes, masterclasses, workshops, in more than 90 countries. They are now collaborating with many international organisations, Youth Express Network being one of them.

When and why did you join Y-E-N?

Personally I was doing social studies with a master in pedagogy and there was a seminar organised by Y-E-N. It was a project related with art and other bigger issues. As I am a dancer, I joined the project and I got really interested in their work. Afterwards, I decided to become a member and it is now 19 years that we are part of Y-E-N.

How did this affect the organisation JMC?

It contributes to keep the international dimension for Jeunesses Musicales Croatia. We were more involved in international projects, we participated to many projects. We are already a big part of the culture in Croatia, we are a big organisation and being part of Y-E-N enables us to extent this.

How was it for you to have us in Groznjan?

I like it a lot, this is a great opportunity for us to have you here. It is always pleasant to see the dynamic of the participants here in Groznjan. The group is very active and the interaction with the inhabitants is very interesting to see.

Can you mention some of the most important project that you have carried out?

We organised a lot of projects as part of the international youth work. All of them are important, and not only for the music. Jeunesses Musicales places empowerment at its core and emphasizes on social inclusion and cohesion.

We launched a project called « Groznjan outside of Groznjan » with the aim of expanding the work of the artists of Groznjan outside to other cities in Croatia. In this way we aim at widening the education in terms of culture and wish to contribute to the artist’s development.

This summer was organised a big event which happens every summer, called the « World Orchestra from Jeunesses Musicales ». It has been going on for many years already. Young artists from all over the world gather and go on the road to play music. The JM World Orchestra represents part of the history of the organisation. It enables young musicians with the opportunity to travel to share their passion and act as ambassadors for intercultural understanding.

What is the importance of Y-E-N with regards to Youth Social Politics?

In term of organisation, Y-E-N has its importance as it provides young people with education, whether it is formal of non-formal. I think that those parts of opportunity should be a part of every youngster’s life. No matter if the project is only short-time, it enables to bring different lives together and contribute to the personal and professional development of the youngsters.

What is the future plans for JMC?

We will continue to be actively involved at the international level and we will also work on tools to tackle more on the social issues at the European level. During the year, in Zagreb, we will carry on with our project “Groznjan outside of Groznjan” in order to introduce the people of Groznjan in other cities and also introduce Groznjan to the people outside of Groznjan.

By Vanessa Deweer (Y-E-N Office intern)