Period: from september/October 2015 for 12 months
Number of volunteers: 1
Name of the organisation: VIR’ VOLT – Solidarités Jeunesses Ile de France
Place: Paris, France
The organization of Vir’volt, Solidarités Jeunesses Ile de France is the local branch of a national movement: Solidarités Jeunesses. It has the same values as the national movement. Beside the aims of peace that are expressed by our international and national movement, there is a strong will to commit ourselves to local development.
To reach its aims, the association uses the following tools :
(1) The organisation of international workcamps (short and long term), organising projects of general interest in or around the hosting centre.
(2) The organisations hosts different groups, (schools, social centres, but also free leisure time groups…) .
(3) The organisation of trainings, seminars and different activities which support the learning process of the participants.
(4) We send volunteers abroad, on international workcamps, medium and long term voluntary service, or trainings and seminars.
(5) The development of cultural projects for young people with local partners
(6) The organisation and participation in activities regarding social, economical and professional inclusion.
(7) The organization of activities for young people with fewer opportunities, including preparations and sending volunteering in France and abroad
The local organisation »Vir’volt, Solidarités Jeunesses Ile de France» was created in Montreuil (93) in 1995. We are now settled at La Ferte-sous-Jouarre (Seine et Marne) 60 km east of Paris. We manage a hosting center where people are welcome, on which are developed intercultural actions cited above.
It’s a unique experimental place with important local dynamics. The association has developed many partnerships with local structures, including those related to youth (schools, youth groups, socio-educational, social center, etc..).
The local organisation »Solidarités Jeunesses Ile de France» organises around 10 international workamps every year.
Young volunteers in EVS are welcomed at the place of the association and participate in these activities during the year and in local life. In summer, they also have the opportunity to get involved in the organization of International projects.
Since 2009, when the association Vir’Volt moved on, we have developed actions with the Youth in Action program. We regularly organise European Youth exchanges to promote intercultural encounter between young Europeans and young locals, most with little access to mechanisms for exchange and mobility.
Social diversity and intercultural meetings are central to our actions. That is why we host EVS volunteers, but also French volunteers in civic service and local youth (as part of regional insertion device).
To run these projects, the team consists of four full-time permanent members, including a coordinator responsible for volunteers.
The association Vir’Volt, the « île de France » branch of Solidarités Jeunesses, has been working with the Youth in Action program for almost ten years. Our experience in this field shows us that EVS, and especially short-term EVS, gives to young people the opportunity to live a first great experience as a volunteer abroad.
Our experience teaches us that it is sometimes difficult for a young person to get involved in such project. The action of volunteering can be often considered as « free work ». Short-term EVS is then a good tool to work on these perceptions and to stimulate open-mindedness, international mobility and learning a new language.
Solidarités Jeunesses has a long experience with a lot of young volunteers as a hosting and a sending organisation.
Every year, we host two long-term EVS volunteers and two or three short-term during summer.
Short-term EVS take part in the daily life of our hosting place through different activities : protection of the Environment, promotion of cultural activities, refurbishment of cultural heritage… We have noticed that international workcamps of young volunteers are an interesting tool for young people with less opporunities. Whatever the difficulty, they are assimilated and stimulated by the group of young internationals working on this kind of project.
For long-term EVS, we suggest a deeper commitment of the volunteer. We offer them the opportunity to take part in the hole organisation and to find their own way of acting. Having European Volunteers gives us the chance to stimulate a local development of our actions and to get new local young people involved. The participation of EVS volunteers brings an original plus-value in the development of our activities. Volunteers question our projects and make them more interesting and meaningful.
Volunteers have in fact always given a sense in the actions of Solidarités Jeunesses, for inclusion projects, local development, promotion of cultural activities or international workcamps. They give us the opportunity to promote intercultural relationships and citizenship in our actions. They transform each project into a young and international mobilisation for civic commitment, tolerance, and collective living.
The Vir’Volt association has been working for almost four years with young locals having less opportunities (action held by a regional inclusion program). The young people are send to Vir’Volt by local inclusion counsellors or social workers and work in the organisation for a limited period (4 to 6 months). We also host short-term EVS with less opportunities.
For hosting these young people, we provide human resources such as : a coordinator taking care of the « trainees » (young locals) and in charge of their training, an EVS tutor taking care of the volunteers and following them during their stay, and a technical manager who supervises the young people during the activities.
We have then sufficient means to host short-term EVS volunteers with less opportunities. The structure of the organisation allows us to host two long-term volunteers and two to five short-term during summer.
Short-term EVS are followed by the EVS tutor. She pays attention to their inclusion within the association and within the group of other volunteers, supports them and offers a psychological, administrative and pedagogical help regarding their needs. In addition, two local volunteers gives French lessons.
Our organisation allows us to host all types of volunteers and young people except the ones with physical handicap because of the house that is not adapted (stairs, etc.).
The project takes place in « Seine et Marne » (77) at La-Ferté-sous-Jouarre. This is a little town with 9500 inhabitants. We are located by the river « Marne », 40 minutes away from Paris (there is a direct train to Paris-Gare de l’Est station).
Volunteers are hosted in the place of the association Vir’Volt, which is an « intercultural hosting centre ». It is a converted campsite with a house. Volunteers live in the house and the place is located 5 minutes away from the city-center. They are directly integrated to local life and have access to all facilities. The house is made for two long-term volunteers. There is also the head-office of the association.
This place is provided with all the sanitary facilities, a kitchen and a collective bedroom for the volunteers. We pay attention to the intimacy of the volunteers and make sure that they can live individually within the community.
Most of the activities take place in the city or in a circle of 15km around. Volunteers, if they want to, can integrate the local community with a large range of activities. We have a long-list of partners with who volunteers can get involved (schools, sport and cultural clubs, etc).
The project of the association Vir’Volt-Solidarites Jeunesses has also a very important value that is social mixity. Therefore, volunteers are working with local young people that sometimes have less opportunities. There is also a lot of local volunteers coming in the organisation.
Sometimes, the volunteers will have the opportunity to move outside of the town for certain activities (such as the promotion of volunteering). During the year, they might have the choice of travelling around the region « île de France » for promoting volunteering and youth civic commitment with one member of the association.
During summer, EVS volunteers participate in international workcamps organised by Vir’Volt in île-de-France. For three weeks, volunteers discover an other town of the region. They live with the group of young volunteers coming for this specific project (international workcamp).
Proposed activities for EVS volunteers
Through their commitment into the local project of Vir’Volt, we give to the volunteers a sense of responsibility and we offer them an experience which will make them think of their citizenship and the role they can play back in their own community. We are convinced that responsibilities volunteers can take on our projects are giving them a useful experience and encourage them for being more responsible. It also provides them a rich experience for their future social and professional life.
In short-term as in long-term volunteering projects, we organise a weekly evaluation with the group of volunteers aimed to assess collective life and the feelings of volunteers concerning the project. There is also concrete time for training, discussions, analysis of their motivation, of the objectives of the activities and the results. Individual evaluations are organised when volunteers need it (at least once a month).
For long-term EVS :
Working hour are around 30 hours per week. We give informations to the volunteers regarding the nature of the activities they will work on and local projects: theater projects, international workcamps, sport activities, travelling in other delegations or Solidarites Jeunesses, …
Week-ends are free and often focused on discovering local heritage and french culture. Volunteers can also participate to the activities of Vir’Volt-Solidarites Jeunesses that are sometimes organised during the week-end.
The wide range of activities offered to the volunteers make their learning process really diverse. Volunteers can get involved in :
the organisation and the leading of workcamps (workcamps can be painting, gardening, masonery, etc.)
participate to meetings and promote European and international volunteering.
Help the team running the daily life of the association (activities for local youth, meetings and events between volunteers, etc.).
Participate and organise cultural events with local young volunteers and local partners (and then try to get young people involved in the association).
Organise workshops in the schools of La Ferté-sous-Jouarre
take part in the life of the place by helping with the hosting of groups, trainings, etc.
Each volunteer will get involved in these activities after having discussed with permanent workers of the association and other volunteers. Coordinators will organise meetings with the volunteers to prepare the activities, regulate and meet their needs. They will have to share the tasks together.
It will also be possible for each volunteer to suggest a personal project which will enrich the place and benefit for the different projects of Vir’Volt.
On a general manner, projects we are running are a great opportunity for discovering collective life and live with other people that they may never has known in an other context. That is how we aim to learn democracy, tolerance and decision-making process.
The main motivation for us to host international volunteers is that it gives an intercultural dimension that improves our actions. Intercultural exchanges through concrete work and collective life enhances our projects and encourage a reciprocity in the learning process of all participants in the organisation. Volunteers brings their own ideas, culture and values with their motivation and initiatives.
In each activity, volunteers experiment their sense of responsibility and autonomy. Their initiatives are welcome and will be strongly supported by permanent members. In case of any difficulty, the volunteer will be accompanied till he will be able to find his place in the project.
For Short-term EVS :
They will get involved in :
– the hosting of different groups and the entertaining on the campsite during summer. Their rôle is to make sure that life on the hosting centre is nice for everyone and that everybody enjoys its stay. To accomplish such missions, a permanent worker responsible for Short-term EVS and coordinating the place will follow and accompany the volunteers.
Tasks of the volunteers will be :
participate in the collective life by taking care of the hosted groups of youth in the menus-making process, cooking workshops and cleaning tasks in the common areas.
Participate in the organisation of events on the campsite such as international dinners, cultural evenings and games, aimed to promote intercultural open-mindedness.
Take care of the garden and possibly create little entertainments around the garden (and co-animation of environmental activities).
Take part to local events organised by the association
Volunteer profiles and recruitment process
Solidarites Jeunesses don’t ask for any specific competence from the volunteers. That is why we never have established a profile in the volunteering projects we are running. SJ has even a strong principle which is promoting and encourage a volunteer participation of everyone, especially young people with less opportunities.
Moreover, regarding the Youth in Action program recommendations, EVS has to be opened to every young people, with no distinction for any competences, social background or sexual identity. We agree with this principle and that is why we make sure that our projects are accessible to each person who is motivated.
This involves a strong partnership with the organisations abroad we are working with : we give them detailed informations that are then given to the volunteers in order to meet their expectations. Volunteers who are expected on our projects are young unemployed people having less qualifications. EVS tend to be a key step in their professional and personal career. These young people are followed by social workers in their country, connected to their sending organisation and therefore EVS is a long-term process.
We are expecting that volunteers have a great understanding of the global project and that they want to get involved in a collective dynamic. We consider volunteering as an act of exchange between a volunteer who offers his time and his motivation for a collective interest and a hosting community which offers a field of experimentation and personal construction. Regarding these objectives, the most important factor for the hosting organisation is the motivation of the volunteer and his will of getting involve in the project.
Only motivation of the EVS volunteer is watched. The equality of the selection is guaranteed by the national head-office of Solidarités Jeunesses.
We make an individual phone interview for each volunteer before his coming into the project. It attest that the volunteer knows well the project of Vir’Volt-Solidarites Jeunesses IDF in its globality.
The head office of Solidarites Jeunesses is the coordinator of the hosting of volunteers with sending organisations and guaranty the accessibility for short-term EVS to people with less opportunities.
For the selection of the volunteers we will need:
– Europass CV with picture (made in the last month)
– Motivational letter, writing that your sending organisation will be “Building Bridges”. We ask all candidates to send a specific letter of motivation – why they want to volunteer with us rather than just a general EVS one.
-the complited application form
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 “VIR’ VOLT Francia”.
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