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.

 

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

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

Article on “Voice it” training course by Tim Baloche

Voicing It!

“I took part in the second activity of the “Angle it right” work plan 2016 from the Youth Express Network which was held between the 30th of August and the 8th of September . The project called ‘Voice It!’ centered around the topic of digital storytelling. This project was held in Groznjan, a small village in Croatia, a truly magical place! The project lasted a total of eight days. Although it was a short time I do think that everybody who participated in this project shared the feeling that time passed very slowly, and that it was like we’ve known each other for years.

The aim of the project was to give young people with fewer opportunities the chance to express their talent, to tell their own life story and to empower them to see themselves differently. In this activity we had the opportunity to learn how to tell your story with digital tools. The training was given by a very talented movie-director who gave us among other things some technical aspects  of movie making. We’ve learned for instance a little bit of the  history of filmmaking, and also the development of the camera throughout history. We’ve also learned how to use our creativity to develop the different scenes in our personal stories and how to direct and film them. And finally to create a storyboard of the exact details that you want in your movie with regard to the different scenes.

This experience was great in many ways, I’ve learned a lot! First of all I had the opportunity to share one of my life stories. This was very challenging for me because this story was very personal and it forced me to face different aspects of myself which I’ve buried very deep inside. But it was very important for me to share this particular story and I’m happy that I did it. This experience was also quite inspiring because of all the unique stories of the other participants which I had the opportunity to hear. I’ve realized that story telling may it be digital or in any other way is very important. This is a way to connect with what bonds us as humans. After hearing all the stories of the other participants I found that we all have a certain type of connection as human beings, and by hearing the story of others you can see this connection. I could relate in a certain way to nearly all of the stories that I’ve heard. After listening to these different stories I’ve realized that we as a human beings are more the same than different, it does not matter where we come from. This is the connection that you feel with a person when they decide to open up and share a deep part of themselves. You will see this person as a human being and not as a particular stereotype.

So this was overall an unforgettable experience and inspiring in every way, personally for instance but also professionally. The bonds that we’ve made taking part in this activity will hopefully  last for a long time. And I am very happy and grateful that I had the opportunity to take part in this activity.”

By Tim Baloche (Vocalsz, The Netherlands)

“Dream it loud” Study Session in Strasbourg, by Ioana Dudila

From 22nd to 29th of May 2016, Y-E-N organized a Study Session entitled “Dream it Loud” together with Rural Youth Europe and in collaboration with the Youth Department of the Council of Europe.

Read about the experience from the inside, with a testimony from a participant:

22-29th. May 2016 European Youth Center Strasbourg, France

”Inclusive society”, “social exclusion”, ”youth rights”, these are all words we are very used to hearing, words we nevertheless understand thoroughly, but they are also concepts we are very unaccustomed to actively or efficiently pursuing in our immediate realities. Because of how deep their meaning is, because of the uncountable obstacles that arise on our paths when fighting this battle, whether set by individuals or groups of individuals who are resistant to the changes th
at are urgently needed to follow.

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In an effort to identify and share the challenges in the process of social inclusion and young people’s access to social rights in European urban and rural areas, to open us, Europeans, from all the corners of the continent, to sharing experiences, examples of good practices and existing mechanisms of social inclusion in young people’s local realities, to explore the European tools and policies for access to social rights and how they can be applied locally to promote access to them, to increase the capacity to advocate for improved access to social rights and last but not least to provide participants with the opportunity to create appropriate tools, adjustable to their respective local realities, Youth Express Network and Rural Youth Europe came together for the 3rd time and taught us about the importance of ”dreaming it loud” and pursuing it assiduously.

We were taken on an13260274_1081779198528190_8505134113538009416_n elaborate six-day journey, aimed at enclosing the multitude of facets that embody the vast topic that is ”social inclusion”. We started by building our team on Monday, continued with defining our terms and discussing good practices, tools and mechanism on Tuesday. On Wednesday we were given some mind bending examples of true activism and ”stubbornness” to carry on, during the visits we received and the visits we made ourselves to see people and places who refuse to take society`s no for an answer and give up this toughest of fights. Thursday we took part in the very creative workshops prepared by the organizers and on Friday we took our first steps into the creation of tools to bring home and consume in our challenging endeavors. Saturday was the day we drew our conclusions, a great day to enjoy the harvest of our joint effort, but also a sad day, to say good-bye to the beautiful pack of dreamers that arose from our ”struggle”.

Our journey was not long but it was arduous. For almost 7 days we were given the opportunity to grasp Utopia, a place where cooperation is capable of superseding any language barrier, and more importantly any cultural frontier we tend to sometimes build between each other. We learnt so much and we dreamt so far, each of us might be having a hard time readjusting to life outside of the land of no hate and eternal spiritual summer. But what we take with us is far more important than any momentary joy or sadness. It`s desire, no, need, to try our best in winning this battle.

Written by Ioana Dudila from the Centrul de Voluntariat Resita, Romania.

Click here to know more about the organisation: https://voluntariat-resita.ro/2016/06/06/dream-it-loud/

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And here are the videos that result from this amazing week!

 

Internship at Y-E-N, by Elia Saettler

Hello everyone,

My name is Elia SAETTLER, I’m 14 years old, I’m in 9th Grade and I live in Strasbourg.

I did an observation internship at Youth Express Network from 30th November to 4th December 2015.

I chose to do my internship at Y-E-N because I really like speaking English and this internship could help me to improve my English.

During this internship, I discovered the aim of the organisation and the projects organised throughout Europe.

I helped to write e-mails, to translate texts, to organise future projects (EYE 2016) and to evaluate past projects (Inclusion Train).

I also photocopied many documents (boarding passes, invoices and receipts) and helped to prepare the greeting card for 2016.

I ate at “Club de Jeunes L’Etage”, a Y-E-N member organisation.

I really liked to do my internship at Y-E-N because I’ve learnt many things, I improved my English and I wasn’t bored all the week. I could see many different things.

It was super!

Elia.

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