Padova, Province chieftown of the Veneto Region (North East of Italy) is a multicultural city of more than 200.000 inhabitants, among which many immigrants from all over the world. Padova offers to youth many encounter possibilities and rich cultural occasions. The city hosts the second oldest University in Italy which counts more than 60.000 people enrolled, including students from other Italian regions or other countries. In town is very active the Erasmus Association which works to favour encounters between Italian students and foreigner ones: frequent will be the occasions for the hosted volunteers to meet their peers coming from different socio-cultural backgrounds. Padova is also a remarkable tourist destination due to its abundance of artistic and cultural patrimony and the proximity with the city of Venice.
Ufficio Progetto Giovani is situated in the historical down town of the city of Padova, at the Altinate/San Gaetano Cultural Centre which hosts the homonymous auditorium and municipal library.
Ufficio Progetto Giovani also has at its disposal two other operative premises situated in areas of the city close to the down town: the Toselli Youth Point and the Ada Negri Aggregative Cultural Centre.
The project activities will involve the volunteers mostly in the following service ambits: Animation, Info-youth and Euro-Space
• Animation. Working seats: the Toselli Youth Point and the Ada Negri Aggregative Cultural Centre. Main activities: informative front office, cultural events organisation (i.e. film forums, intercultural evenings, reviews), festivals and music contests, cultural and recreational courses (i.e. photography, language), users support (children from local families or second generation immigrants, adolescents with fewer opportunities, elderlies, etc), management of the film-lending service, bookcrossing, newspaper library.
• Info-youth. Working seat: at the head office of Progetto Giovani. Main activities: linguistic tandem learning with young Italians or mother tongue foreigners.
• Euro-Space. Working seat: at the head office of Progetto Giovani. Main activities: participation to the
implementation of mobility projects (i.e. blog with volunteers testimonies), testimonies about the voluntary service during meetings with student delegations in schools or Universities.
Volunteers will be also involved in some activities developed in the Social Service field: initiatives with underage youth (i.e. after-school activities) or elderlies (recreational activities). In these occasions the volunteers will be engaged to support educators in the various initiatives following a time schedule which will be variable according to the period of the year and to the number of intervention requests from the users of the service.
All the activity premises are situated in spaces regularly served by public means of transportation and easily reachable also with own resources. In order to allow volunteers to be more independent and quick in transferring from one place to another, they are normally assigned a bicycle.
The volunteers will be hosted in an apartment rented by the Municipality of Padova and situated a few minutes from the historic down town and the activities locations. They will not be lodged in community houses and therefore will have to follow only the ordinary co-habitation rules and those established by the block of flats (silence hours, bed room and common spaces cleaning, etc.). The Office will work as a mediator between volunteers and the landlord in order to facilitate the relationship among them.
This project offers to volunteers the chance to test their skills in two principal fields: 1) promotion of cultural initiatives and services addressed to youth; 2) youth active participation to social life, due to services to targeted to children and elderlies and, in general, people in need.
In respect to the above mentioned proposed activities, we identify the following learning objectives:
ANIMATION: to acquire organisational skills in offering a service (i.e. supporting the management of the informative front office answering to the users’ needs; promoting initiatives as photography, culture and language, or drawing courses; realising a cultural event which involves local youth).
INFOYOUTH: to improve language competencies and develop relational skills (i.e. participating to a tandem learning program in their mother tongue with youth from other European countries);
EUROSPACE: to experiment teamwork with other young people (i.e. collaborating to the organisation of a hosted Youth Exchange or Training Course); to contribute in the diffusion of an intercultural sensitivity within the local area (i.e. bringing their testimonies as European Volunteers to schools or Universities, or realising an intercultural evening addressed to local people in order to tell about the habits of their Countries of origin).
SOCIAL SERVICES: to experience the value of solidarity; to develop listening skills and competencies in support of people who live difficult situations (from a socio-economical, psychological or physical point of view); to learn about and inform of the interventions which the public administration addresses to people in need.
The intercultural dialogue process is a transversal opportunity common to all the project ambits where the volunteers will work.
Their whole service will be characterised by non formal learning occasions due to their training on the job with the operators and to the co-ordination of their planned activities by the mentor of the hosting organisation.
Volunteers’ role will be to join the operators, and the other volunteers of the National Civil Service, in the activities they will be involved in. EVS volunteers’ presence within the Office will allow to empower the initiatives which are already activated, offering for instance complementary services to the existing ones, in order to fulfil the users’ requests. At the same time it will be possible to value volunteers’ attitudes concretely corresponding to their motivations and skills. As an example, at the Toselli youth point the service empowerment will be represented by the extension of the opening schedule to the public, the activation of a linguistic course promoted by the volunteer, or the realisation of a thematic review proposed by youth, etc. For this reason the co-ordinating meetings with the mentor and the service tutors will be also focused on the discussion of the volunteer’s proposals and suggestions, in order to find individual projects to be developed along the whole service. We believe that in this way the EVS project can be more formative and motivating, allowing the candidates to be more responsible about the success of their volunteering experience. Volunteers will never replace the service operators, neither they will be called to take individual responsibility during the service implementation. Nonetheless according to service needs, it will be expected the volunteers to be punctual, available and flexible to manage their working hours and tasks.
Standard activities – activities proposed by volunteers*
*in past EVS project editions
– Standard activities:
• tandem learning between Italian and foreign youth to deepen or improving mutual linguistic knowledge.
– Activities proposed by volunteers:
• tandem learning service empowerment in the volunteer’s mother tongue or in a language mastered by the volunteer (i.e. English or German), according on the service users requests.
– Standard activities:
• informative front-office during afternoons (users receiving, counselling in the research of work and formative opportunities, information about cultural and leisure courses and workshops, computer support);
• language courses, creative workshops, city events and reviews organisation;
• organisational support to the street animation staff to promote city events, cultural initiatives, concerts etc.) involving youth.
– Activities proposed by volunteers:
• front-office hours extension for reaching more youth;
• workshops realisation (i.e. music, recycling, photography, cultural tours within the city);
• individual or group language courses;
• intercultural evening organisation to introduce the volunteer’s country of origin or project.
Spazio Europa (Euro-Space)
– Standard activities:
• participation to guidance seminars and meetings addressed to youth (target of the Youth In Action programme – in particular secondary schools students) bringing testimonies of their EVS experience;
• organisational support for the activities of the hosted Youth Exchanges,
• support in the dissemination of the possibilities offered by the EVS programme, for instance joining the operator during the individual or group informative sessions.
– Activities proposed by volunteers:
• testimonies about the European Voluntary Service experience to students;
• promotion of meetings about the mobility area at Universities and youth aggregative centers;
• realisation of intercultural initiatives and collaboration to the dissemination of texts or audio-video material about EVS experiences, also in collaboration with other European youth;
• project writing for intercultural exchanges which could involve the volunteer’s country of origin or other sending organisation.
– Standard activities:
• Recreational and animation activities with elderlies;
• After school activities for underage people.
– Activities proposed by volunteers:
• Service in help of a night shelter for homeless people (i.e. warm drink and clothes distribution);
• Volunteering activities addressed to elderlies with Alzheimer disease.
We will value the volunteers’ involvement within the Social Services sector on the basis of their personal attitudes, and taking in account the effective possibility to activate the services. As an example, the elderlies assistance service will depend on the requests received from the families in need through the Social Worker, and on the kind of disease of the person. Regarding the beginning and frequency of the after school activities we will have to take in account the school closing periods.
The amount of working hours requested to volunteers will be of 35 hours per week, depending on the effective activities organised by the services. Therefore in some period of the year it could be asked a higher commitment for the implementation of the proposals within an area of service, which will be balanced with a lighter load of work in another ambit (i.e. considering a 35 hours schedule, 15 hours of activities in the Animation area could be balanced with 15 hours of after school for the Social services area, plus 5 hours of tandem learning with info-youth). The schedule will be jointly agreed between volunteers and the services responsible and will take in consideration the commuting time to move from a working seat to another.
Volunteers profile: the ideal volunteer for our hosting project should have a strong motivation for the thematic, the objectives and the proposed activities of the project, as well as a marked attitude to interpersonal relationships. Volunteers who have relational attitudes toward children and elderlies, and who are open to meeting and co-operating with youth, will be particularly valued. Availability to commitment and proactivity in taking part to the project are implicit requirements that could facilitate the volunteers’ engagement in the working team, and help them in achieving the project objectives.
Eventual past experiences in contexts similar to the ones proposed for the project will be also appreciated (i.e. past volunteering experiences with elderlies, or animation activities with children).
We suggest a basic knowledge of the Italian language, although it is not a discriminating criteria for the volunteers’ recruitment. On the other hand, the language proficiency can facilitate the volunteers in establishing a relationship with the service users since the very beginning of the activities. The linguistic training which will endure for the whole service duration will be useful to enrich their personal vocabulary and improve their language mastery, allowing the volunteers to feel more confident in their interpersonal relationships with youth and the services co-ordinators.
Volunteers selection and transparency in the recruitment process: the volunteers selection is open to any youth aged between 18 and 30, female and male. No specific qualification is required, but considering the kind of activities the volunteers will be called to develop, we will positively value the following attitudes:
– predisposition to human interpersonal relationship;
– good motivation to the project themes and proactivity;
– interest in the projects developed by the distinct areas of engagement;
– adaptation skills and capacity to manage the work schedule and tasks.
In order to guarantee the greatest visibility and accessibility to this possibility to all the interested candidates, the project will be promoted through the E.V.S. projects database, Progetto Giovani website, the firstname.lastname@example.org network, Eurodesk and other mailing lists and European Web Portals. The proposal will be also sent to the several European partners that have been co-operating with Ufficio Progetto Giovani for many years, in order to reach the broadest number of possible applicants to the selection.
Cooperation with the sending partners: in order to ensure a good project realisation and to safeguard the volunteers during their service, we believe it is important to count on already existing partnership networks. These co-operation relationships, in fact, become stronger along the years through the implementation of many different projects (i.e. youth exchanges, TCs, EVS). On the other hand, we consider truly important to broaden the European and Third Countries networks above all through EVS projects, involving different sending organisations of motivated youth. Both new and well-established partners will be actively involved along the projects cycle, from the selection of the volunteers, to the follow-up phase. It does not exist a specific profile for partner organisations we intend to collaborate with: it is for us essential to verify their reliability and their commitment to appropriately prepare volunteers before their departure, and keep constant contact with them during the service.
We will host maximum two volunteers at the same time: from the point of view of a well co-ordinated development of the activities this is the ideal number for them to complement the operators’ work in the planned activities. They will be able to interchange their work in the different services and to confront with each other about the learning process and the personal modalities to be involved in the project. Meanwhile mentor and service tutors will be able to monitor the volunteers’ work in good synchrony, having the possibility to alternate practical activities with feedback collection (i.e. when a volunteer is working at the front-office, the second one is involved in planning initiatives, or in monitoring the activities with the mentor).
INSURANCE: hosted volunteers will be covered by European Benefits Insurance, a company with which we have a solid and active collaboration since several years. AXA insurance will refund volunteers’ medical expenses during their whole stay in the hosting country and for two months after the EVS period. Insurance also safeguards young volunteers from injuries and damages, covering as well their civil responsibility in this last case.
As a co-ordinating organisation, Ufficio Progetto Giovani will provide insurance coverage for hosted volunteers. The European Benefits punctuality and professionalism allows us to open with trust new contracts for future volunteers, and to count on its services efficacy.
ACCOMMODATION: We will ensure to certificate the conformity of the building to law, while guaranteeing a good care of the house. Volunteers are expected to respect behaviour rules defined in the house regulations, also in order to keep a good cohabitation. Volunteers will be assisted by an assigned responsible for any accommodation problem (i.e. loss of keys, furniture and household appliances reparations).
ACTIVITIES: activities will take place in safe and certified buildings, being them structures of the Municipality (social services, schools, informative youth points…) where the employees and other collaborators work daily.
TRANSPORTATIONS: Volunteers will be given a bicycle each in order to allow them to quickly and independently move around, in alternative to the available public means of transportation. The city is provided of several bicycle paths and, in particular, the down town is better viable by bicycle than by car. For this reason, biking is a safe practice, appreciated by the most of the young people in Padova. Youth will be in any case give a public transportation pass (bus and tram) for longer distance journeys.
Psychological risk factors:
Volunteers will be able to count on the constant support of their mentor and of the team of the persons in charge of the services where their project activities will take place. The office is available for the 360° volunteers’ support. We attempt to ensure the widest possible availability also for the their personal needs (i.e. practical support for first expenses, legal registrations, eventual search of a doctor, psychological support, etc.).
Volunteers will be specially followed during the assisting phase to the service operators: this represents the most delicate period for their insertion in the activities. The mentor’s presence and the meetings with the services supervisors will be useful in order to keep the volunteers’ motivation high, as well as to check their satisfaction and receive a feedback about their lived experiences. In this way it will be also possible to underline eventual reasons for dissatisfaction, mistrust, demotivation and uneasiness both from a personal and professional point of view.
We will try to involve the volunteers in the office working life, as well as in the various cultural events we organise. We will give them the possibility to suggest ideas and projects, in order to make them feel an active part of the staff and keep vivid their initial interest and enthusiasm. For this reason too, the volunteers’ work tasks will be proposed rather than imposed, in the same way as the weekly schedule will be agreed with them – always in consideration of the services needs (i.e. front office hours, after school service hours, etc).
In order to prevent crisis situations, that could lead to the volunteers’ dissatisfaction and demotivation, and to prevent in the same way also project interruption risks, we believe it is fundamental to meet the hosted volunteers needs.
MOTIVATION AND EVS EXPERIENCE
Please describe the motivation of your organisation to participate in European Voluntary Service as Host Organisation, Sending organisation and/or Coordinating Organisation as well as your current or previous involvement in EVS (including the approximate starting date and the frequency of your involvement).
If the present expression of interest is an update or a renewal of a former accreditation, please indicate the EI reference number previously assigned:
Progetto Giovani has been a hosting and sending organisation for the European Voluntary Service since the master programme of the current “Youth in Action”, before the year 2000. Last accreditation was in 2010 and granted us the EI ref 2010-IT-67. With the passing time, an increasing number of youth had the chance to participate through the EVS programme to a formative and learning experience, in a non formal and informal context, which is useful for completing the student career or initiating the working one. Progetto Giovani is also part of the Eurodesk network and offers twice a week individual guidance sessions about mobility projects within Europe to all youth who are interested in living such an experience.
On average, during a year, Progetto Giovani offers about 150 individual consulting sessions to youth interested to EVS, while over 500 young people are reached by the Office due to informative meetings addressed to associations and student delegations (high schools and Universities).
About 15 to 20 EVS volunteers are sent or hosted by Ufficio Progetto Giovani each year. These youth, in the context of the follow-up activities for their projects, share their testimonies through institutional channels (i.e. school meetings, local newspapers articles or publications regarding their services) or informal meeting situations (i.e. community parties, former volunteers’ blogs, tandem learning activities) allowing their peers to discover the opportunities the Youth In Action Programme offers. In the last three years Progetto Giovani realised additional initiatives to increase the visibility of the Programme and disseminate some project results as theatre performances or video-interviews (“Tutte le altre destinazioni” e “Noi, lo SVE e tutte le altre destinazioni” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy8RU-NvO0A), or original publications with the testimonies of sending or hosting volunteers who came across our office (“Passi di volontari, il giocalibro delo SVE” – http://issuu.com/pgpadova/docs/_sve2a).
Due to the experience gained along the years by the office, many associations, informal groups, organisations, and other public bodies in the local and national territory addressed questions to Progetto Giovani concerning the application procedures and grant requests in order to receive the EVS accreditation. This supporting role reinforces Ufficio Progetto Giovani’s motivation to confirm its function as coordinating organisation (beside being sending and hosting organisation as well); this same role has been implemented by the office for many years managing projects hosted by the University of Padova, in addition to sending projects with third party Countries at Jardin de los Niños association (Posadas – Argentina) and Casa del Almendro foundation (Santa Cruz, Bolivia).
Sending foreign volunteers, and hosting youth coming from European Countries or other partner Countries of the World, has been important for Ufficio Progetto Giovani both for the establishment of co-operations with entities which work in the youth policies field, and for sustaining other associations or foundations from geographically disadvantaged areas. In the last few years, Ufficio Progetto Giovani widened the partnership network reaching Countries like Georgia, Turkey, Guatemala, Bolivia, Argentina and Nicaragua; this capacity was reinforced in the passing time due to a deep motivation and the awareness of contributing to sustain projects of a high humanitarian value.
The proposed EVS hosting project aims at offering meeting occasions between the local community and the foreign young volunteers. These encounters will contribute to demolish some prejudice barriers and to favour the local population to open to intercultural dialogue. Due to the collaboration with the Social Service Sector of the Municipality of Padua, the hosted young volunteers will have the chance to meet people who live marginalisation situations (i.e. elderlies, underage, and immigrants) and to confront the policies activated in Padua toward these target groups with those present within their own Countries.
Activities developed in projects of the Social Service Sectors take in consideration the volunteers’ interests and attitudes. As an example, recently a volunteer, who had been interested in themes related to elderlies with Alzheimer and homeless people, dedicated part of her project to both these situations working with an woman with Alzheimer and collaborating with an association that supports homeless persons. In this way EVS could integrate and value, due the volunteer’s request, a previous experience with an activity of real impact and importance. In general the initiatives foreseen by the project are open to value volunteers as much as possible allowing them, for instance, to tie collaborations with associations which work in the local territory at a cultural and social level.
Our office, being it composed by different services, is a never ending source of new initiatives to involve youth and pursue, at the same time, the mission for which it has been established: to facilitate information and access of local population to services and initiatives in the social, artistic, cultural, education, working, and European mobility fields.
The office motivations to renew the accreditation are:
1. to boost the annual number of volunteers we send to other EU organisations within the EVS frame, promoting informative talks and guidance meetings on the available projects;
2. to activate each year a hosting project for one or two volunteers. The activity would last for 6 to 10 months, starting and ending, as an indication, between September and July.
3. to reinforce existing collaborations and boosting the establishment of new international partnerships due to the promotion of new projects which could involve strongly motivated volunteers;
4. to develop new projects with third party Countries in order to keep pursuing humanitarian objectives, and to facilitate the access to formative and non formal learning opportunities to youth coming from disadvantaged geographical contexts;
5. to propose itself as an applicant to co-ordinate hosting and sending projects for partner organisations;
6. to offer consulting to associations and organisations within the local territory which address to the Municipality of Padova to empower their EVS expertise.
In synthesis, the outcomes we expect due to this EVS accreditation renewal are:
– to allow the volunteers we send and host to participate in the organisational life of the hosting institution and project context, as a model exercise of active participation;
– to favour the insertion and the direct involvement of volunteers in the socio-cultural context of the hosting community as a way to achieve an intercultural exchange between volunteers and the local people;
– to promote mobility within Europe as an opportunity to actively contribute to build an European conscience due to the volunteers’ short or long term permanence in the socio-cultural context of the hosting country;
– to offer personal and professional growth occasions allowing the young volunteers to mature experience in a field of own interest;
– to give continuity to the partnerships activated in these years with associations and institutions of other countries, and to establish new collaborations, also outside the European borders.
DESCRIPTION OF THE ORGANISATION
Progetto Giovani is the Office of the Youth Policies Assessorship of the Municipality which promotes services and realises initiatives in different fields of interest in favour of the local youth.
Informagiovani (Info-youth): group and individual counselling sessions for career, volunteering and study guidance; tandem learning language projects; magazine consultation; local association database; notice board (i.e. for work); internet point.
Spazio Europa (Euro-space): promotion and realisation of youth mobility services, in particular socio-cultural exchanges and EVS; group and individual guidance sessions for EVS projects hunt; individual meetings and counselling sessions to local associations and informal groups for the ideation of projects and the accrediting process to the Youth In Action Programme.
Creatività (Creativity): activities to sustain and value Italian young artists; realisation of competitions, seminars in the artistic field, and art exhibitions in the local and national territory; meetings with curators and professional counselling; participation to international networks and contexts for the promotion of youth art.
Animazione (Animation): services to foster youth activities, as photography courses or painting, informatics, music and languages ones; realisation of aggregative cultural events, as photographic reviews, film forums and debates, thematic meetings in the public local square; festivals and music competitions for young emergent music bands; possibility of newspapers and magazines consultation; internet point; film lending and dark room service; information front-office and brainstorming sessions for gathering youth ideas and projects.
Comunicazione: promotion service through the Ufficio Progetto Giovani web-site of the initiatives activated and of other interesting information for youth; editing of the weekly newsletter and press communication; realisation of multimedia material (pictures, audio and video recordings) which is possible to download from the web-site.
Progetti: a number of projects which are transversal to all the Office services which are addressed to local schools and associations (i.e. trips to historical sites, sensitisation days about the mafia issue or about drugs and alcoholism prevention.
Please note: knowledge of basic italian is required!
We’ve opened the new selection for the next term *SEPTEMBER 2015 – JULY>> 2015.*
Send CV and motivation letter: email@example.com
Remember to write in the email that your sending institution is “Asociación Building Bridges ES-2010-120 !