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Volunteering Promote Goodness – A strategic EVS project focused on emphazising non-formal learning and raising the awareness about EVS and its values.

The wish to carry out this project was due to the fact, that there is a favourable environment in Europe that makes this not only possible but also desirable as shown by the fact that a growing number of stakeholders from various sectors intends to take advantage of the potential of NFL (non-formal learning). But there are still many people, who don´t know that EVS is good method for using formal and non-formal education and they are not aware of value of EVS and opportunity to participate in it.

This is not only emphasised by the growing attention of youth-targeting programmes (such as YiA and now E+) but also by our own experience. During a needs assessment exercise with returnee volunteers we identified a whole set of skills that their experience brought about. In particular: Global awareness; Adaptability; Interpersonal skills; Delegation capacity; Stress management; Self-confidence; Problem solving; Self-learning capacity; Strategic thinking etc.

In spite of this, links between youth organisations and other actors (i.e. government structures and labour market forces) are still scarce. This is possibly due to the lack of mechanisms to acknowledge and take advantage of inter-sectorial synergies and has emerged as a priority of our partners in the course of our growing collaborations.

Therefore, there was this wish to create an inspiring international environment for Estonia people in order to promote purposeful participation in lifelong learning and contribution to a community on the way of personal development in the global world.

EstYES was targeting the following strategic aims and objectives during the project:

  • To raise an awareness of value of EVS and opportunity to participate in it in Estonia county through increasing number of organisations working with EVS;
  • to raise an awareness of value of EVS and opportunity to participate in it amongst the organisations and youth;
  • to raise an awareness of European Solidarity Corps;
  • to increase the number of EVS accredited organisations and sending Estonia youth to EVS
  • To increase a capacity of EstYES NGO to coordinate, receive and send EVS volunteers
  • to create a systematic and structured new approach to service delivery in order to optimize work with all parties – volunteers, ROs, SOs, supervisors, mentors – involved into EVS;
  • to improve our competence of preparation and supporting EVS volunteers with fewer opportunities during the service with the help of supervision;
  • To create prerequisites for social inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities into EVS
  • to strengthen partnership with international organisations working with young people with fewer opportunities.

Our volunteers within this project did a great job with the promotion and raising awareness of the programmes. They shared their culture and information in the youth centres, education fairs and events, schools and kindergartens, among the parents and teachers. EstYES was also meeting with their partners to develop their collaboration and made agreements with new interested organisations. Collaboration was made with a few organisations who are supporting the youngsters with fewer opportunities.

The project is funded by the Archimedes Foundation Youth Agency from the Erasmus + program.

Anastasiia’s Initiative Project: Find Your Balance

Anastasiia’s Initiative Project: Find Your Balance

I am Anastasiia from Russia and I worked in Acrobatic and Circus School in Tallinn, Estonia for 12 months. As part of my volunteering service, I decided to promote healthy active lifestyle for young generation and organize an open training outside.

We met with the participants at Pirita bus stop at midday of 2nd of September. We came all together to the special calm spot – the wooden pier on the river. I did streching and breathing exercises for stress release. After that we tried aero-yoga and exercises in pairs. People were smiling and enjoying! They learnt how to break barriers and feel connection with stranger and overcome personal fears of contact and trust.

Then we had a picnic and I explained reasons why it’s important to eat right healthy food and did master-class in cooking vegetarian dishes and showed how delicious it can be.

During a picnic we had interesting conversations and discussed many topics all together. I told about volunteering abroad as an inexpensive and educational way of travel. I described different programs (workcamps, EVS, trainings, youth exchange program). I gave my own example and told about personal experience in all this kind of projects. The age of young people who participated in my event was perfectly suitable and they were fully involved and interested.

During the picnic, I demonstrated the photo-exhibition, my short EVS story, what I got from this year and how kids can become a great motivation to act (pictures of kids made by me during the EVS project in the Acrobatic school). The idea was to show how strong, brave and hardworking can be kids and what everything is possible, demonstrate what sport can be a mental therapy. We had discussions about pictures, exchanged opinions and thoughts. I was glad that young people highly appreciated the idea and found it great!

I displayed the pictures of my exhibition in my school with the description and short story of my experience, how EVS can change life, how working with kids I found my balance and what was the EVS for me.

The final activity was a training of SUP-surfing as a way to keep a balance on the water, be strong and healthy. Emotions of youths were incredible, we had fun and my goal is achieved. The main goal was to help expand horizons mentally and physically and get new knowledge about health and active lifestyle being in harmony with nature, to know how is important to keep a balance in our life, how is important to go out from comfort zone and find yourself.

I saw bright eyes of young people, I answered many questions about my way to become EVS volunteer. The main thing for me that I saw some changes of young people. For example, one girl from the center «Ema ja lapse turvakodu» was shy and closed in the beginning and after all trainings, talks, new ideas and knowledge about volunteering, travelling, interesting people she started to smile and be involved. She was afraid a water and after SUP-surfing she told we that would like to come back and try again and hugged me! This is the main award for me.

After the SUP-surfing lesson we had the second picnic and continued conversations about opportunities of non-formal education for young people and made a good parallel about the slogan “learning by doing” and learning to surf!

We spent the evening of weekend in an educational and active form, learnt more about possibilities of programs for young people abroad and in own country and got full information, met interesting people and shared experience and knowledge, found out new hobbies, young people discovered the new water activity and overcame fears, had fun and good vibes.

Anastasiia Olina stayed in Estonia for 12 months within the project “Boost the Mind” which is funded by Erasmus+ European Voluntary Service program.

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