This EVS project is the result of a strong partnership between Unis-Cité and Mission Locale de Villeurbanne.
Unis-Cité – association which offers Civil Voluntary Service to French youngsters aged 18 to 25 – has got as a priority the diversity in the teams: these are composed of young people of all social and cultural backgrounds and of all ages, sex and educational levels. They altogether work on a common project and help destitute people. Each volunteer can find his/her place thanks to his/her team diversity. Besides, Unis-Cité has recruited European volunteers through the long-term EVS since 1999, in order to allow them to get a cultural and linguistic experience and bring different practices and experiences.
Mission Locale of Villeurbanne is an organisation for young people aged from 16 to 25. It helps them for all professional problems (carreer advices, search of work, professional training,…) or social problems (health, money, lodging,…). The aim is to enable them to become more autonomous and build step by step their future.
Since 1997, we have worked in the EVS action through the organisation «Envol» for young people with fewer opportunities. This kind of action is a good way to enable them to have mobilityexperience they couldn’t have in another way and bring them more confidence in themselves, show them they can make something by themselves, for them but also for the others, and enable them to come back with a good experience to prepare their future.
After hosting for four years European volunteers in Villeurbanne, it appeared necessary to deepen the project by offering the volunteers more diverse activities, in the required frame, thanks to a strong local actor.
Unis-Cité brings its strong experience in community actions in the frame of the voluntary service and in long-term EVS hosting. Mission Locale of Villeurbanne brings its knowledge and experience in youngsters with fewer opportunities and in sending and hosting them through EVS action.
Unis-Cité organizes teams of youngs who support local non profit organisations ( retirement houses, municipalities, social centers, shelters, environmental organisations) to launch new initiatives or meet concrete needs. The young volunteer will participate to several solidarity actions during the stay.
Unis-Cité organizes a pedagogical program for the volunteers, exposing the many facets of good citizenship, organizes workshop aiming to give them additional technical skills necessary for their professional plans (CV, IT skills…) and support each one in defining his or her future projects, professionnal or personnal.
For more information about Unis-Cité, please have a look at the website www.uniscite.fr
This EVS project, implemented for more than 11 years, in partnership between Unis Cité and Mission lOcale has been succesful both for the European Volunteers and for the local volunteers who share their daily tasks. That’s why we wish to continue hosting EVS volunteers, and make their experience rich in Unis Cité StEtienne.
Through a program of various activities, the diversity of the teams, and a program of awareness to citizenship, volunteers gain many competences and knowledge that facilitate their adaptation to the chosen professional life.
The aims of Unis-Cité project are:
– to implement in team solidarity projects for local partner organisations which act for the benefit of the local community ( retirement houses, orphanages, environmental organisations)
– to give the volunteers a specific educational program to open up volunteers to the society and help them become active citizens . Provide various workshops and technical tools to enable them to prepare their future and their future plans – CV, computing, meetings of professionals,….
4 main goals for the volunteers: active participation and commitment to the project, involvement in team work, European dimension and general citizenship.
– Commitment Of Young People
The main goal of the project is to allow each volunteer to find his place in the team and to participate actively to the teamwork, regarding everyone’s abilities and personality. The volunteers implement several actions during 10 months as we consider it important to approach several target groups(children, disabled people, old people, people living in precarity…).
Thanks to the autonomy acquired, and to enhance their sense of initiatives, they will separate from their teams and be an individual volunteer in a non profit organisation for the last month of the project.
In the realisation of the different projects, the volunteers are monitored by a coordinator, working in Unis-Cité, and a referent of the local organisation. Nevertheless, the volunteers are autonomous in the implementation of the actions, as monitoring people guide them in the different steps.
– Involvement in the teamwork
The European volunteer is a member of a team of volunteers who work together. Over such a period, that requires on behalf of the volunteers real capacities of adaptation to the group to learn to know each other, to respect others and to organize themselves to work together. This training is essential and it will enable them to better apprehend their future life.
Tools are given to the volunteers by the mentors and the organisation to learn risk prevention and conflict management. Regular meetings are organised to enable the volunteer express his feelings and opinions, and think about his place in the team, and the dynamics he would like to bring into it.
– European dimension
One of the priorities of the project is the diversity of public within the teams of volunteers. Cultural diversity is thus very important. On the one hand, the presence of European volunteers reinforces solidarity between all the young people: indeed, the arrival of young people often not speaking French and being alone in Lyon ( without any acquaintance before), encourages young French volunteers to be listen more to others and to help them be integrated into the French culture; and they also become aware of the reality of Europe and its place in our daily life.
On the other hand, young Europeans give the opportunity to the volunteers and the local organisations to discover their culture, their way of life, their language, and also an external point of view which helps step back and think about French realities.
One of the paramount objectives of the project is also to make it possible to the volunteers to become more active citizens, while preparing their future. Indeed it is important that the volunteers are aware that the EVS is not an objective in oneself but a stage in a course of life. Therefore, each volunteer follows one day per 2 weeks a specific program : raising awareness about citizenship and preparation for future plans.
• The volunteer is part of the teams of 4/8 french volunteers of Unis Cité. All teams are mixed in what concerns sex, religion, age, background, education.
The association Unis-Cité St Etienne is part of a national network, which offers youngsters aged 18/25 a civil voluntary service, in help to organisations working in different non profit fields( social, environmental, cultural), for the benefit of the local community.
Saint-Etienne, 60 km SO from Lyon, used to be a mining town, in the middle of various plateau and hills. Although at the end of the XXth century, the town was declining seriously, it is know having a renewal, and attracts both tourists and inhabitants.
It is a young and dynamic town ( ¼ of the inhabitants are under 20 years old), and it is known as the town of design.
Activities to do are varied, and urban transports are well organised.
Practical arrangements :
The volunteer’ll be accomodated in a private flat, not far from the center of StEtienne by tram.
(A monthly local transport card is delivered to the volunteer for free). The volunter’ll share the flat with 2 other young volunteers. He/she’ll prepare his/her own meals in the flat.
The volunteer’ll be provided with a monthly allowance ( 125 € ) and an allowance for food ( 260 €).
The allowances’ll be paid by the mentor into a bank account at the beginning of each month.
The volunteer can use Internet and make international calls to his sending organisation and family in Unis Cités or Mission Locale ‘s office.
Trainings and support:
All volunteers will receive predeparture, on-arrival, mid-term and final trainings from the National Agencies in the sending country, and in France.
The volunteers receive an intensive language course at their arrival in Saint-Etienne in September, integration month.
Unis Cités gathers all civil and European volunteers for an integration week at the beginning of October, so that all the volunteers get to know each other, start to build relationships, and have an overview of the different projects they will implement during their service.
Throughout the service, each volunteer receives from qualifies interveners a training on citizenship and professional programme, one day per week.
Support to the volunteers is provided at different level : a team coordinator is taking care of the daily development of the activities, and of the volunteers. Evaluations are made every 2 weeks to discuss the project, the adaptation of the volunteer, and the future projects. A mentor from Unis Cité, and a mentor from Mission Locale de Villeurbanne, meet with the volunteer every month to speak more generally about the feelings and opinions of the volunteer.
At any time, the volunteers can contact the EVS coordinator in case of questions or emergency.
Proposed activities for EVS volunteers
Learning opportunities :
Through this EVS project, European volunteers get the opportunity to participate to different activities in support to local organisations, as well as to receive a weekly training on citizenship and integration into the professionnal life. Below is a non complete list of competences and knowledge they develop all through their stay :
– teamwork: Alternatively, volunteers work in small teams (4 volunteers), bigger teams (6 volunteers), and really big team when the organisation gathers all them volunteers together for special events. Therefore, each volunteer has to learn to observe, communicate and suggest ideas to find his place inside the teams.
– sense of initiative: Although the team coordinator and the responsible of the partner organisations take care of the projects, most of the activities are implemented regarding the volunteers ideas and competences : each volunteer is free to invest himself fully by suggesting new activities, and ideas to better those which are in progress.
– opening to others: One of the great advantages of this project is diversity:
Diversity of the teams, which requires to get rid of one’s prejudices, and try to know the other before judging, in order to better cooperate.
Diversity of the target groups: the volunteers meet people they might not have met another way, and learn to listen, observe, open to other to exchange.
– versatility: In the same week, volunteers are involved in 2 different projects: theyhave to manage time, energy, and clearly establish limits between the different tasks and activities to realize.
– French language and culture: Thanks to the immersion in a new country, to the lessons, and especially to the integration into a team of French volunteers – who generally speak little english-, all volunteers we have already hosted learned French and mastered it by their departure.
– knowledge of the different social fields: The diversity of the projects lead them to have an overview and a better understanding of the non profit sector and social area.
– knowledge of oneself and others: Volunteers have the opportunity, throughout their stay, to stand back from their situation, their curriculum, and think about their future. They also get the chance to analyze their opinions and ideas in all different situations.
– practical and technical knowledge: In each local project, the volunteers acquire new practical knowledge, in relation to the activities they implement.
Activity time and holidays
The activities of the volunteer won’t take more than 35 hours a week.
The volunteer has got 2 consecutive free days per week, which are saturday and sunday. If the volunteer has to be present over 35 hours,extra free days will be given.
The volunteer has got 2 days per month to be taken as holidays. Some holidays are fixed in advance by Unis-Cités ( Christmas, Easter), but the remaining days are to be agreed by the volunteer and the team coordinator.
Activities of the volunteer:
The volunteer and his team realize activities in partnership with and in support to local organisations- charity associations, municipalities, shelters, social centers…- to which an additionnal help is always welcome.
Activities of the volunteer can be very varied:
– more handy activities: Restoration of a centre, an office setting up a reading room for children etc…
– service to people : animation for kids/elderly organisation of events for handicapped people help and support to homeless people
– cultural activities : creation of a show for a special event implementation of workshops about other cultures
– environmental activities : creation of a garden in a residential centre cleaning up of a park, a protected site awareness raising about environmental protection
Volunteer profiles and recruitment process
By caring about diversity and mixing people, we are open to all candidates, without consideration of origins, social/cultural background, age, experience, scholar or French level.
Nevertheless, it is essential that the volunteer wishes to integrate a team of French volunteers, which means being ready to integrate despite the linguistic and cultural barriers.
It is also essential that the volunteer is aware of the involvement long term EVS is, and the variety of target groups and activities he/she will face during the length of his/her.
Nevertheless, social projects are easy ones, to everyone’s reaching distance, without diplomas or experience. The volunteer should not expect to be responsible of the implementation of social projects, but more a local actor of the social cohesion, and of the integration of excluded or marginalized people into the society.
Number of volunteers
We wish and can host 1 volunteer for each french volunteer team, so 6 european volunteers maximum.This would enable them to experience cohabitation, and bring a stronger European dimension to the teams of Unis cité.
Risk prevention, protection and safety
Mission Locale de Villeurbanne and Unis Cité have been cooperating for many years about hosting European volunteers, and have clearly established a sharing of the responsabilities concerning the support of the volunteers.The 2 partner organisations are used to working with youngsters from various backgrounds and count with staff competent in crisis resolution.
Before their arrival, all the volunteers are enrolled to the compulsory AXA scheme, and explanations related to it are given one more time at the first group meeting in September.
At the arrival of the volunteers, we dedicate one month to the discovery of the city, orientation, intensive language course, and all the practical aspects such as bank account, phone… thus the volunteers can start their activities on secure bases and landmarks.
Risks prevention is done during this introductory phase, and also during the integration week in Unis Cité, and with the meeting between Unis-Cité’s mentors and coordinators, volunteers, and Pierre Perra.
Regular evaluations are made this way :
– twice a month with the team, to approach the implementation of the projects, and the place of each and every one in the team.
– once to twice a month with the volunteers’mentor in Unis Cité, Marine Jourjon
– once a month with Pierre Perra, EVS coordinator in Mission Locale, to approach the general ongoing of the Voluntary service, the personnal matters, and therefore prevent any situation of crisis. This evaluation is done in the volunteers’flat, thus in a familiar place, enabling at the same time to deal with potential cohabitation problems, or maintenance problems.
Moreover, volunteers can use Internet and the phone, in Unis cité office, to stay in touch with their family, friends, and sending organisations. They are also given a » emergency paper» where appear the contact details of their team leader, the responsibles of Unis cité,and the coordinators of Mission Locale.
In case of a problem,team leaders will solve the technical aspects linked to the activities, and inform the coordinators of the problems and solutions.In case of a problem linked to the project in general, homesickness, or physical or moral difficulty, we will support the volunteer, and discuss about the solutions. The sending organisation will be kept informed of the measures engaged.
For the selection of the volunteers we will need:
– Motivation letter with :
1 – motivation to go abroad, which step in your life?
2 – motivation for voluntary activity, which values in voluntary
3 – motivation for France
4 – motivation for our projects in partnership with “Unis Cité” organisation, as you understand well our project
5 – what you could bring to our project, your personality etc.
(Motivation letter could be in french if you have some knowledges)
– Volunteer application form *(attached file) (document could be in french if you have some knowledges)
– Support worker form* (attached file, to be fill in by your mentor in sending organisation= Building Bridges)
Remember to write in the motivation letter that your sending institution is “Asociación Building Bridges”.
All documents written in english you can send to: firstname.lastname@example.org with subject “EVS Saint Etienne Unis Cite”.
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