Youth Power Space EBook

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The project, the people, the country

The Legacy of the Youth Power Space project, running in Baia Mare, Romania, from 1 June 2017 to 30 June 2018 1

This ebook is a result of the project “Youth Power Space”(2017-1-RO01-KA105-036188) that hosted 6 European Voluntary Service volunteers from 6 partner organizations from Austria, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands. This project is co-funded by European Union through Erasmus Plus Program.

EVS volunteers

Partner organizations

Angelika Petritz (Austria) Verein4YOUgend Barbara Pereira (Portugal) ProAtlântico - Associação Juvenil Cecilia Fini (Italy) Vicolocorto Jonathan van Varik (The Netherlands) Stichting UcDean Maëliss Vray (France) Ville de Nevers Juan Gallardo Roca (Spain) Asociación Building Bridges


Contents Our project - Youth Power Space Our Aim - EVS and ESC Integration in Baia Mare Our Activities Towards a youth strategy Our own projects Adventures in Romania Our personal experiences Testimonials Media Acknowledgements


The project - Youth Power Space "Youth Power Space" brought together 6 EVS volunteers from Austria, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands for a period of 6 months (01.10.2017-31.03.2018). This program sought to promote inclusion and civic involvement by empowering children and youth, including those with fewer opportunities, to become Ambassadors of the community, supporting diversity, tolerance, initiative, critical thinking, equality, initiative in order to create a society built on the principles of democracy and respect for Human Rights. All these activities took place in Baia Mare and the surrounding villages.

Objectives of the EVS project - To develop various competences of 6 volunteers, 2 of whom with fewer opportunities, by empowering them to implement community programs and to promote inclusion, youth participation, gender balance and nondiscrimination - To enable the participation of 95 children and young people with fewer opportunities in inclusion programs, aimed to combat discrimination, segregation, racism, harassment and violence during the service. And to build bridges of trust and local action - To involve 60 young people in programs in order to develop social skills, civic, intercultural, media literacy and critical thinking during the months of service. - To empower the 6 EVS volunteers to develop their own programs during the 6 months. These programs were related to certain themes: inclusion and employability, youth involvement, access to marginalized, minorities 4 and refugees.

The projects main activities consisted of:

- Inclusive programs for children and young people with fewer opportunities in Baia Mare, Cavnic, Copalnic Manastur foster care homes, the Hungarian school, refugees and young people from Somcuta Mare - Own workshops Youth Power Space - Personal development programs for children and pre-teens - Clubs on leadership and civic engagement education, on human rights, No Hate Speech - YMCA Youth Parliament program on civic engagement - Mentoring - Romanian language course - Media and ITC workshops - Community projects - Consultation meetings intended to contribute the youth strategy - Meetings with youth from other NGOs.

This activities in this project were nonformal. This concept very diverse refers to: experiential learning, learning by doing, simulations, role plays, energisers, reflection, teamwork, coaching, the class Divided, living library, YMCA Youth Parliament, workshops, clubs for children and youth, peer to peer, Punctum, Mandala, YouthPass Unfolded, Points of You. We consider that non-formal education facilitates and leads to a learning process with a great impact on volunteers and beneficiaries, stimulating creativity, active participation, initiative, objective-based competences development and entrepreneurial spirit. 5

Our aim - EVS and ESC EUROPEAN SOLIDARITY CORPS The European Solidarity Corps is an initiative founded by the European Commission. Practically it’s a database in which every youngster between the age of 18 to 30 years can subscribe and create his or her own profile. The initiative attempts to provide new opportunities for underprivileged youngsters from all over Europe. The Corps does also serve to connect youngsters from different cultures and backgrounds with each other. Associations searching for volunteers and companies looking for interns can see your profile, and following, contact you for an experience abroad. The subscription is free and deliberately easy! The platform can really give some chances to explore a new country and to meet new people. EVS This abbreviation stands for EUROPEAN VOLUNTEERING SERVICE. It’s part of the Erasmus+ program and it is supported by the European Commission. It’s a huge opportunity for all the youngsters from 18 to 30 years old to do some voluntary activities in a new country. It’s possible to find two different types of projects: short term and long term. The shorter term will have a length varying from two weeks to two months. The second form lasts between three months and one year. Every EVS Volunteer is send to his country based on an agreement between a Sending Organisation, a Hosting Organisation, volunteer and with the knowledge of National Agency from the hosting country. It’s fundamental to say that this opportunity is made for all the youngsters, regardless of background and financial status. To make sure every young person can join, the Hosting Organisation will pay the travel costs from and towards the hosting country. Accommodation is also being paid and every volunteer receives monthly pocket money and food allowance. Different projects about different topics do exist: environment, nonformal education, media and film-making and much more!. All the projects are collect in the platform Europe Youth Project, so finding the right project will not be a problem for you. Visiting another country, meeting new people, improve language skills, competences, travelling, growing and learning from mistakes, thinking about your future, these are only a few things that this wonderful experience will give to you. Accept the challenge and do it! 6

Integration in Baia Mare BAIA MARE is the capital of Maramureș County. In our opinion the most beautiful county in Romania! The city is located close to the borders of Hungary and Ukraine. It is perfect if you are planning to travel to the eastern part of Europe! This chapter will not to teach about some geography or to give you the some tourist information; you can find this on Wikipedia! This chapter narrates about the way we saw and lived this city. Our experience took mostly place during the autumn and winter and because of that, our story is accompanied with a cup of tea or, even a better, with “vin fiert”. The legend says that the temperature in this city can reach -20! We didn’t have the luck of facing this extreme cold. During the morning you will find Baia Mare as a quiet but cosy city. The city’s face is full of cafes and has a good diversity of coffees places to suit all tastes. For us this was essential, because we needed to awaken our brain before work started with long mornings of planning and implementing activities.


The public Library After a good weekend, a respectable volunteer is able to start again and work hard. For this, why would you not wish to go to the public library? Here you can find enough silence, concentration and computers to spend some hours, and trying to plan the entire working week. And so, survive until the next pizza-evening: every Friday night. This was also the place where Barbara’s event did take place, this gives the library all the more significance for our time here in Baia Mare.

The Mall The Saturdays and Sundays in Romania included also another important element: Golden Plaza. The Mall. Our Mall. It’s the place for shopping, chilling and spending some of our pocket money on things that are fundamental for all EVS-volunteers like Monopoly or chocolate.

Gastronomy in Baia Mare Baia Mare would definitely not have been the same without its restaurants. Food is a very important part of EVS (in particular FREE food, but this is another story) and every weekend, every volunteer deserves a good pizza or placinta. Or why would you not treat yourself with a good beer?


Culture in Baia Mare A huge Orthodox Cathedral welcomes the visitor of Baia Mare. This vast structure can only amaze the foreigner: firstly because of its size, secondly because it is not finished, and probably never will be. Baia Mare offers a lot of cultural landmarks that appeal to Romanian and foreigner alike. Perhaps the most impressive is the Village museum. This museum can be visited in combination with the Ethnology Museum, which is located next to this place. The traditional houses show a glimpse of what Maramureș has to offer. The old town of Baia Mare features multiple cultural highlights. The Piața Liberație offers a cosy atmosphere and middle-point of celebrations over the year. You can also visit the various churches: the red-hatted Reformed Church, or the various churches that surround Piața Cetății. Here, you can climb to the top of the lonely Stephan’s Tower: from here you have a perfect view over the city.

Planetarium In an indistinctive corner of Baia Mare, a remarkable building can be found. The small dome tends to disappear in its environment. One might even miss this building. What a shame this is! The planetarium of Baia Mare is very impressive despite its modest size. This building features an exposition about the miracles of our solar system. Have you not yet been there? Give it a shot. It is worth it! 9

Nightlife in Baia Mare: pubs and bars After a hard week of work volunteers deserve to have fun ! And for that, Baia Mare several places to hang out and reunite with the other volunteers. For us the most famous is LogOut. A casual bar where you can go to have a drink and later in the evening to dance. So we spent many evenings there, enjoying the music and dancing until the end of the night. In the old center are as well some other bars like Le Moustache and Route 66 where we spent some times. We shared a lot of good moments with the volunteers of the city also in the Point. A bar/cafĂŠ/restaurant which became one of our favorite place to have a drink or eat something. As you understand we had some really funny evenings and nights in Baia Mare!

The Climbing Hall Already before her arrival in Baia Mare, Angelika inquired on the internet about possible climbing halls. Her search proved indeed successful, as she did find Gaia Climbing Gym! Since the beginning our team, but mostly Jonathan and Angelika, had a more or less weekly “mandatory� session in this hall. The welcoming and homely atmosphere made this place to be appreciated and memorable. In addition, the weekly visits proved to be a good opportunity to get to know other volunteers, whom we asked to come and join our climbing. 10

Groceries: where to get your food A big topic in our Youth Power Space Team: healthy food. If you opened the fridge you were not able to find convenience food, all you would find were vegetables, eggs and milk. To fill the fridge some of us preferred to go to the nearby supermarket-chain Carrefour or the smaller and cheaper version Profi. To buy fruits and vegetables, Fragus was a hotspot for cheap, mostly local products. Also the local market was tested once, but ended with a bad experience. This leads to a small piece of advice from our side: boil fresh cow milk before you drink it!

The apartment Every family needs a foundation. Every family deserves a warm place where it’s possible to share stories and where family members can support each other This kind of place is called home. For our team, Strada Gheroghe Bilascu rapidly came to represent our refuge. That little flat number 24 was an essential part of our adventure. Lots of souvenirs are to be found here: the meals we ate together, the movie nights, the dinners with our association or with the other international volunteers and not to forget the afternoons of playing monopoly. Living with six people from different countries can be scary in the beginning, sharing a room for six months may appear to be a challenge but the final result will certainly be amazing. We created an international family wherein everybody is important. Every individual is fundamental to keep the balance in the larger group and to create new energy. We arrived as a strangers in the same house, but we left as brother and sisters. Everything began in our little flat, THE FLAT NR.24.


Our activities During our stay in Romania, we devoted ourselves to a set of very diverse activities. Many of these took place in Romanian Schools. These activities covered many different subjects. Other activities included visits to Foster Care Homes and activities with refugee families., in Youth center. All the activities had one thing in common: all were given shape in a nonformal manner. This means that we sought to educate through games and active association with the youngsters. This distinguishes non-formal from formal education: the latter stresses a dominant role for theory and disciplined learning. Non-formal education seeks to empower the youngsters to find the lessons for themselves. This chapter will give more clarity about the different subjects we taught about and will give insight in the way in which we tried to achieve this.

1500 youngsters were directly reached during this project


Civic Engagement To address public concerns and promote the quality of the community we were involved in several diverse events – a Campaign against domestic violence, a Halloween-themed event with refugees, the celebration of the Romanian National day with refugees, the Hideaway event, youth gathering in Campia Tineretului, activities related with the preparation of Baia Mare-National Youth Capital 2018-2019, environment awarness activities. In the schools we organised activities on engagement and volunteering in Romanian society. Each of these separate events and activities was an enormous success!


Coordination ‘’Every ten seconds, three persons must rise. One more and you have to start over again. You must do this without practice and without speaking.’’ How does a large group such an objective? Do they appoint a leader, do they use gestures or do they trust on the coherence of the entire group. Coordination is about patience, about being attentive, about trust and about leadership. These are very important aspects for the development of youngsters. No Hate Speech The activities about “No Hate Speech” were integrated in the “I AM because YOU ARE” program. During these six months we intended to motivate the youngest for the youth campaign of the Council of Europe for Human Rights. The main goal was reducing any form of acceptance of hate speech and develop youth participation and citizenship. A scenario game with an open ending sought to do this. Emotional theatre Expression is natural, but sometimes supressed. How does one cry, does one show fear, does one express love? These ‘skills’ are very important in nowadays society, in which emotion is reduced to a stereotype only found in children’s cartoons and movies. We invited the youngsters to play: ‘’Express love by using your eyes’’, ‘’Have an angry conversation with an different person, but use numbers instead of words.’’ Result was a loud and enjoyable series of activities, in which youngster could at least reach true freedom of expression.


Personal Development The inclusion of Personal Development as part of our activities does barely require any further explanation. Most of our non-formal activities included a certain degree of Personal Development. All our activities intended to motivate youngster to do new things in new ways. We sought to encourage youngsters to express themselves differently, to train new skills and expand their knowledge about unfamiliar things. All these activities contribute will become handy later in life, when the demands of both social and professional life require a person to be adaptable in new situations.

Family houses/services - HHC Visits During our experience we worked with Directia Generala de Asistenta Sociala si Protectia Copilului Maramures and Hopes and Homes for Children (HHC) Romania..There are several houses in Baia Mare but we went to two so we split in two groups. One was in Alba Iulia and the other one in Grivitei. Every week we were there to play with the children and enjoy time with them. We also organised event with the kids such as a day in Cavnic in the ski slopes and involved in Special Olympics. We created a strong relationship with the children and enjoyed every minute with them. 15

Teambuilding Teambuilding activities were a substantial part of our experience. They were always a success. Students in some of the classes could even confirm, that they got closer together. We helped them to become more like a team. Multiple games were at our disposal to do this. ‘Build a pyramid with sticks’’, ‘’accomplish an objective while tied to another person’’, ‘’guide a blindfolded person across the room’’, these objectives sought to create a connection between the youngsters and encouraged trust and friendship. Another game leaves the children with a long list of diverse objectives. As a group, they have to finish as many of these objectives as possible. They have to find a good way to do this. How are they going to organise this? This “Mission Impossible’’ was a great success. Europe Approximately one week was dedicated to the subject Europe. The corresponding activity included a quiz about Europe as a continent, as well as the different languages in Europe. We did also adapt our earlier “Mission Impossible” game to fit the topic of Europe. 16

Gender Equality We decided to introduce this topic after the International days against violence on women. We really wanted to understand how men and women are seen in the Romanian society from a child’s perspective. We asked the questions: ‘’What must a man/woman do?’’, and ‘’What could a man/woman do?’’. The result was very interesting. Little by little, the children started to be more involved and they started to reflect about the role of the women in a society. We really wanted to raise the awareness between the youngster to build an equal society for both genders.

Human Rights Our activities started with this huge topic. These Fundamental Rights are not explained in a normal school program. We noticed how some children never heard about this argument before. We started with a Quiz and asked the youngsters to draw and recognise different rights. How good do you know your rights? The participation was high and the feedback was incredible. Through media, theatre, Power Point presentation we went deeper and deeper in this subject and we had beautiful result. 17

Interculturality Exchange different point of views, learn something from the unknown, explore, give the sense of wanderlust. These were our goals for all the activities that we did related to Interculturality. It was a real, rich exchange! We learn a lot about Romania and the kids learnt a lot about our countries: traditions, songs, food, poems, etc.. Everyone was more than willing to share and to understand the something far from their comfort zone. Know your Country Whilst staying in Romania, we often received the question ´´What do you think of Romania? Do you like our country?’’, we always could give positive answers. At one point, we decided to return the question and asked: ‘’How much do you know about Romania?’’ In groups, the youngster had to find answers to questions about culture, politics and habits, afterwards the groups would debate the outcomes. This activity sought to motivate the youngsters to look up and critically judge the information that they found. What is real and what is exaggerated? This activity did also intend to help the youngsters to grow more familiar with their own country.


Consultation meetings How is the municipality of Baia Mare going to provide for the young people a good living in the city? Let’s ask them! The municipal government provided the YMCA and other organizations with the task to host multiple consultation meetings. During these meetings, it was sought to make the youngsters think about the future of the city: ‘What does this city need to make it a better place, to become a youth friendly city? Also in February 2018 we did some consultation for the National Structured Dialogue Committee held by YoUth and Sport Ministry, YMCA Romania being a member of the Committee. Consultations where done in Baia Mare, Somcuta Mare, Cavnic. As volunteers for we YMCA, we were part of these meetings, we helped to prepare and we sought dialogue with the young people of Baia Mare and other places. These ‘consultation meetings’ took place in multiple schools and reached hundreds of youngsters from different schools and from different backgrounds. You can find the results of these meetings in the next pages of the ebook!


EVS Promotion and project dissemination ‘’What are you doing here in Romania?’’ This was a question that was asked to us quite often. Being a volunteer abroad is fun, and not difficult at all! We wanted to give every Romanian youngster the opportunity to consider to do it as well! We created a presentation and shared our experiences in during our school visits. Who knows? Perhaps these Romanian youngsters will become the next generation of EVS-volunteers…

Creative activities Sometimes, bridging the language barrier was a difficult feat. In these cases, we had to rely on games we could explain without to many words. In some cases, we managed to do this with help of creative activities. Write a letter in your own language, create a play about a story, make Christmas decorations… the added value of these creative activities was that it was an excellent opportunity to teach the youngest kids some English words in the process, making future communication easier. 20

Towards a Youth Strategy Results of the consultation meetings Giving youth a voice! In order to propose to Baia Mare Local Council a strategy for the youth based on the real needs and grass rooted, some of the youth NGOs from the town took the initiative to interview using different methods the young people from different high schools, neighbourhoods, ethnic communities, young people with less opportunities. There was a consortium of organizations - Federatia Organizatiilor Neguvernamentale de Tineret din Maramures, Asociatia Rotaract Club TEAM Baia Mare, Asociatia YMCA Baia Mare and Asociatia Mansio who run different methodologies with young people from Baia Mare in order to find their needs, to identify resources and to find what motivates them to get engaged in the community. The EVS volunteers were involved in the 7 consultations with young people done by YMCA. The aim of this wide research was to find out the motives for which the young people engage in the community (or not), if they volunteer and how they implement their own ideas. The methodology started from the necessity to know the percentage of young people who are involved in community activities, what are they content of/what are their discontent of, what are the reasons they choose to get involved or not, what are their opinions and perspectives according with their age group. The educational European identified policies which concerns the youth, have 4 specific priorities to foster youth active citizenship: information, participation, volunteering and a better understanding of youth.


Education/Culture Motivation: breaking routine, educational and emotional support, preparation for life, personal development, wish to change something, networking opportunities, new friends, youth initiatives, increasing cultural knowledge, opportunity to relax in an non formal context, trainings for professional development; Obstacles: lack of free time, lack of information, lack of interactive activities and non-formal activities in schools, youth opinions are not listened, lack of resources, conflict between generations, lack of spaces for these types of activities, lack of interest from the local authorities, lack of funds for more relevant and more impactful activities, lack of school books; Solutions: better promotion of these activities, organising festivals and carnavals in the community, free transport for pupils, creating personal development courses in the school curricula, opening of functional youth centres with European standards, professional and vocational counselling, youth worker in schools and university, more extracurricular activities, introducing non formal education in schools, use of different spaces from the city for tutoring, for implementing youth initiatives, new school books for free. Sport/Free time Motivation: wish for a healthy lifestyle, obesity prevention, relaxation and recreation, better state of mind, socializing opportunity, get rid of negative emotions, teamwork, creative ideas, outdoor activities, selfdiscipline, competition and fair play spirit. Obstacles: lack of free time, poor time management, costs for sport equipment, lack of equipped spaces for sports activities and recreational ones in the community with free access for young people, unhealthy food, a permanent fatigue state given by the responsibilities coming from the formal educational system and family, lack of qualified personnel, lack of material resources, lack of motivation from the parents or professors side, multitude of fast foods with prices more accessible than the places with heathy food. Solutions: less homework, healthy food inside and in the vicinity of schools, more bicycle tracks, more sports activities for the public, campaign to promote sports and healthy living, nutrition courses in the school, canteens inside the school with healthy food, first aid courses in schools and at job, more outdoor recreational spaces: open air cinema, indoor skate park, community pools, easy access to medical cabinets, creating camping areas.


Participation/Volunteering Motivation: a better future, wish to help, acquisition of new competences, development of social and communication skills, broaden personal horizon, participation together with friends, recognition certificates, involvement in the organisation of camps, teamwork, new experiences, helps to enter in good universities, discovery of new countries, cultures, people , helping those in need. Obstacles: lack of funds, lack of spaces for this type of activities, lack of information regarding these types of activities , lack of interest from authorities, lack of good public transport that will foster the travelling of volunteers to the activity sites, lack of confidence, fear of the new, fear for taking responsibilities, teachers and parents who do not understand the importance of community engagement and volunteering; the fact that not all employers recognise volunteering as professional experience. Solutions: inclusion of children and young people from different areas, promotion and support of volunteering in schools, personal development workshops, creation of sustainable volunteering activities and civic engagement activities , creation of a Volunteering Centre as a common space for the NGOs from the community, more funds for the youth activities, renovation of Casa Tineretului and giving it back for NGOs use; free transport for volunteers.

Entrepreneurship/Employability Motivation: valid option to support family, gaining a stabile job, financial independency and stability, personal achievement, opening a family business, taking responsibilities, professional satisfaction, personal and professional development, studying the success cases, a happy/fulfilled life, the possibility of getting the dream job, promotional packages/bonuses for employees. Obstacles: lack of financial resources, lack of self-esteem and confidence, financial insecurity, racism and sexism toward employees and potential employees; lack of specific studies for a certain job, lack of job for young people under 18 years old, lack of information, bureaucracy, the employers do not recognise the volunteering experience, poor vocational counselling, poor digital competences, lack of practical abilities, fear of failure, lack of jobs. Solutions: promotion of entrepreneurship among young people, increased number of internships at local companies for development of competences, professional counselling, free trainings on entrepreneurship education, simulation of „interview� exercises in schools, sources of motivation and inspiration( TedEx), business incubators/hubs for youth, mentorship programs in private companies, equality between employees. 23

Proposed priorities Professional development and employability - these two represents challenges of social and economic area. Personal development/opportunities for nonformal or experiential education: vital for a holistic development of a young person, the two of them completing the formal educational programs. Cultural activities/interculturality - in the present European context it is necessary to promote the continuation of cultural values and increase intercultural understanding and sensitivity. Participation of young people in the community - it is essential to encourage the youth to play an active role in the development of the community. Volunteering opportunities – we see this aspect as one of the most easy methods of civic engagement, development of competences. Social inclusion – creating equal opportunities for all young people, without any discrimination, moreover, encouraging and supporting all young people with less opportunities (NEETs) to take part in programs, projects, activities. Health and sport - essential element for a harmonious physical development that leads to increased team spirit and responsibility. Free time - development of healthy programs for recreational activities that will reduce the toxic/noxious habits of young people. Creative industries and entrepreneurship – according with age the initiative of young people needs to be encouraged and supported in the context of informational and digital era, due to the long term benefits .

In the next years, for the young people of Baia Mare, the active participation and engagement in the community will increase substantially. The title Program Baia Mare- Nationa Youth Capital 2018 -2019 will offer the context and the multitude of attractive activities for youth. Due to the increased funds for youth sector, new youth NGOS will be founded who will develop new programs and projects, complementary or in the same areas of existing ones. Moreover, the local community will fully understand the important role played by the youth NGOS in the community and about the importance of volunteering experiences in the development of young people. 24


Our own projects During our stay in Romania, every volunteer got the opportunity to concern him - or herself with a personal project. Herein was space for personal talents and interests to be put to use in service of the Romanian community. Every volunteer put his fullest and most enthusiastic effort into it.


Angelika At the beginning of my EVS I really struggled to get an idea of what kind of workshop I was going to do. But then, I realised that I have been doing Austrian folk dances for about 10 years now and so far I really enjoyed it. Having reached this conclusion, I decided to share the joy I gain every time I dance and share my experience as central part of my workshop. When I went home to celebrate the holidays after New Year’s I gathered some material. I planned to start mid-January. And so I did. I have to say that my idea really paid off. My sessions were mostly about the participants having fun and learn some basics about Austrian folk dancing and culture.


Barbara: Project Hideaway HIDEAWAY took place on the 15th of March on the Biblioteca Judeteana Petre Dulfu in Baia Mare. The goal was to increase the awareness about the living conditions in the refugee camps and the challenges that refugees faced during the trip and on their search for shelter. I will start for the beginning… During my master thesis I had contact with refugees in Nampula, Mozambique. During the months that I spent there I had the opportunity to hear their stories and use these in Romania during my EVS. In Romania I was also in touch with a refugee in Satu Mare, Romania. My mind was full of questions. How did the refugees live before they fled their homes? What happened during their trips to Mozambique/Romania? How is the live in the refugee camp? – The answers to these questions were numerous and different, but have one thing in common: all are from fighters. They are about people that never gave up trying to took control over their lives again. These are the people that are constantly struggling to be heard, but to no avail. For this reason, I decided to share their stories and create a space where everyone could be an active listener. How does one do that? We achieved this by creating a ‘Living Library’, where the participants could hear the true stories of “Amani”, “Aslan” and “Enam”. Listening to their realities could be hard sometimes, so I decided to allow the audience to have a say in these stories. The audience was challenged to finish the refugees’ stories. These alternative “endings” where a start for reflection and debate about what they heard. It intended to challenge the participants to take a walk in the shoes of others. This event was only possible with the help of an amazing YMCA team, and the great services of the Biblioteca Judeteana Petre Dulfu in Baia Mare. All of these enabled these people to be heard. Thank you all!


Cecilia: Italian Classes The idea for my workshop arrived in January, I was in my room with MaĂŤliiss, trying to teach her my native language, Italian. She really wanted to learn it and we settled to have some lesson after dinner sometimes. I started to enjoy this time so much and I decided to try to do this for the community as my personal workshop for the project. I opened my classes: every Monday and Tuesday at 5 pm I began to give my Italian lesson. I was incredible happy after the first class: more people that I expected showed up and the most amazing part was that they were all from different ages: the youngest girl was 15 years old and the oldest one was 75 years old. Everybody was there for a different reason: the lady that loves Italy and really wanted to speak fluently the language, the elderly man that wanted to speak with his far friend from Pisa or the young man who has an Italian boss and needed to study Italian. It was not only about learning something new but it began also a way to promote the integration in the local community. I am really glad for this result! My workshop was an important part of my EVS: learning how to prepare a lesson all by myself, guide a class and give all the motivation that I can to my student to study a new language.


Jonathan: language classes At one point during this EVS experience, the question rose whether it would be a possibility to organise language lessons for those without any knowledge of the English language. A small group of students applied and my first lesson could start. Despite enthusiastic response, the English classes did not attract a lot of students, few did stick. After a few weeks, the workshop was dead. Around the same time, however, a new request came to my ears. ‘’Would you like to consider Dutch classes?’’ I was initially reserved and skeptical. How many people would be able to gather enthusiasm for a language spoken only in a small country? I decided to inquire about the interest in such a project. Quickly, I was in contact with a loyal group of students. My classes could start. Teaching is difficult, that is a truth. Grammar is difficult, especially in one’s own language. How many silly small rules does my language feature, that I am barely aware of? How good do I know my own language? It appeared difficult to prepare and implement my lessons. The experience was nonetheless needed. Even the difficult times, that left me incapable of explaining the rules of my own language, taught me a lot about formal education. Preparing classes is timeconsuming, teaching is difficult and teachers are, it appears, also just humans.


MaÍliss: work in a night shelter For my workshop, I chose to visit a night shelter held by the association Somaschi. It is a shelter made with sheet steel, where street people and street kids can come at night to have a hot meal and spend the night if they want it. When I visited the shelter for the first time it was a revelation. I haven’t experience this before and it was a strong and powerful moment. I found myself in the middle of kids, holding their hands and trying to speak with them, mixing Romanian, English and French. I knew I wanted to come here again and do something for them. The task is simple: to be. Sometimes I just sit with them while they are dancing, sharing a dance, a smile and a hug. Sometimes I help also in the kitchen. After the preparation of the dinner I help to serve the dinner. There, time expands, no time notion anymore. We simply share the moment, share what we have: love.


Adventures in Romania During our six months in Romania, we did visit many places in Romania. The purposes of our travels differed: sometimes we attended trainings, sometimes we travelled to attend special events, and sometimes, we just travelled for the sake of travelling. We can look back on a large amount of adventures that brought in all the corners or Romania.


Far up north and full of life. Maramureș is a unique region. One must not go there for the cities, but for the unexpected marks in nature. The traditional wooden churches are unparalleled, wooden gates welcome visitors to the charming homes in the traditional villages. With regards to activities, Maramureșș offers myriad of options: skiing, walking and enjoying silent nature are all possible. One can also go and visit Sighet with its intimidating Prison Museum. The countryside features the monastery of Barsana of the colourful Merry Cemetery of Sapanța. On the way, you will pass many wooden churches, some of which are part of the UNESCO list of world Heritage. 32

The other corner of MaramureČ™ provides traditional architecture offset to wild nature. One can also find relics of the past. The steam train of Moganita is very characteristic and is an experience you will not forget. The Eastern Carpathian mountains are beautiful and unique wonders of nature can be found here. One could for example go to the CascadA Cailor, or gaze over the Moldovian mountains from the lonely Monastery of Prislop.

Cluj-Napoca Cluj is a really nice city near Baia Mare, only 3 hours of bus! We spent few weekends there, enjoying a bigger city. The architecture is beautiful and the city is full of cafĂŠs and restaurants where you can have various types of food and atmosphere. We also met some volunteers there. Cluj is the place to be in Romania! Besides drinking coffee and hot chocolate we went see the Romanian and Hungarian Operas as we strolled through the city centre. 33

SATU MARE is a small city, close to the Hungarian border and also not far from Ukraine. Because of this proximity to national borders, the city is an industrial and business centre in north-western Romania. It is here, that you can find the Administrative Palace, famous for being the tallest building of the country. If it is an interest in architecture that brings you to the city, Decebal Street Synagogue and the Chain Church should definitely be part of your journey. The first of these was built in Moorish style at the end of the 19th century. It is a waypoint that you should not forget! If you want just to take a walk in the city, we suggest you the Garden of Rome as well. Oradea The last weekend of March, we decided to go and explore a city relatively close to Baia Mare: Oradea. We started hitchhiking on Saturday morning and we found a bus that take us for free in the city centre! It was a lovely weekend! The spring had barely arrived and all the youngster started to go outside for a coffee or ice cream! The city was vibrant and we had enough time to visit the city’s beautiful churches, its old town and its renovated Citadella. Oradea contains beautiful and colourful buildings and walking near the river under the first rays of spring sun was an extraordinary experience. We have beautiful memories of those days, being together with other volunteers from different associations was amazing. This made this journey also a nice occasion to get to know one another! Our trip to Oradea was short but intense!


Brasov and its surroundings Mid-Term training was the perfect moment to reflect about the things we have done so far. It was also a great opportunity to meet with new people and reconcile with old friends from the on-Arrival training. Our Mid-Term was located in PREDEAL, part of Brasov County. The small town is known for being the highest town in Romania, as well as a major ski resort. Some of us used their little free time here for skiing, or made long walks in the snowy village. The landscape is amazing!

Following our Mid-Term-Evaluation Meeting we took a train to Braşov to visit this beautiful city. On the arrival day we decided to do the Free Walking Tour to show us the city centre. This was really interesting, but it was also really cold at that time. There was quite a lot of snow in and around the city. This did not stop us from allowing the German architecture to impress us. Also, as we walked through the city, we were impressed to see Chinese and Greek Restaurants. We had not seen these since we left our own home countries! We nonetheless remained traditional and ate soup for dinner. The following day was dedicated to visit historic castles. Johnny went to the royal Peleş castle in Sinaia. Maëliss, Angelika and Cecilia spent a few hours to Bran Castle, located close to Brasov. Somewhat further lies Sinaia with its famous Peleș and Pelișor castles. Both castles are definitely worth a visit! But this does not diminish the splendour of Brasov itself; it is a small city, full of colours and life. We could also arrange time to visit the church of Prejmer, and Libe(a)rty brown bear sanctuary.


Bucharest Bucharest. The city, the capitol, the big metropolis of Romania. We had the chance to spend one week in this amazing city. A city full of history and culture but also full of cafés, pubs in its Old Centre and everything you want and need. You can start your tour from the huge People’s Parliament built by Nicolae Ceausescu, have a nice walk to the old part of the city, enjoy an excellent dinner in the most famous restaurant of the city “Caru’ cu Bere” and finish the night in some famous clubs or pubs around the city. Just be lost in the city and you will find the Ateneul Roman, Piata Revolutiei or the beautiful Palace Cantacuzino, dedicated to George Enescu (whose home is just behind the Palace).

Sighişoara Already during our second weekend in Romania, we travelled to the centre of the country, to see the beautiful medieval city of Sighişoara. We left Baia Mare during the afternoon and arrived after a six-hourjourney by bus in our planed destination. It was around 1:00 am when we reached the pension we booked. The place had a perfect location in the citadel of this beautiful town. Much to our surprise, we were awaited by a very hospitable owner with a shot of homemade Palinca and some delicious sweets. The following day turned out to be the high-point of a very beautiful and warm autumn. It was a perfect day to collect amazing impressions of this place… and that’s exactly what we did. We wandered around and allowed Sighişoara to mesmerize us. The fascinating old buildings, the bright colours, the German influence, the history, the view and, not to forget, the traditional food like Ciorba de Fasole.


Sibiu After hearing about a mysterious city, in which houses have eyes and follow your footsteps, we were determined to visit this place. This place was Sibiu, a medieval city in the heart of Romania and the cultural captial of its German minority. We took the chance to test the magic of Blablacar in our process to reach this city. Jonathan and Angelika arrived together in the heart of the city, our hostel was not far. According to the Hostel the best way to discover this medieval town centre is just to randomly walk around… and that’s exactly what we did. We let the eyes on the houses watch us during our afternoon walk. Of course we also took the chance to experience Viennese cafe house culture in a foreign country… A German city with classic Viennese coffee specialities in Romania. One of the most important things was not to miss the famous Brukenthal museum. We visited this museum, very coincidentally, on International Women’s Day, this meant free entry for women! Barbara arrived later that day and the man of the group bought flowers for all the women of the team. Of course we did not miss the chance to eat Austro-Hungarian dishes for dinner.

Bistrița One thing we learnt during our time in Romania, is that hitchhiking is one of the best ways to travel in this country. It was this thought that brought some of us in Bistrița. We went to this city in order to meet some others EVS volunteers. As usual we encountered amazing people during the travel and, at its end, one of the drivers did even give us a bottle of unusually good wine! With this bottle we flew straight to our friends’ house. This city is located at the foot of Bargau Mountain range and not far from the Borgo Pass that connects the Transylvania region to the Bucovina. For your ‘’do not forget’’ list you should write “Coopers’ Tower”. Located near to the Municipal Park, this Tower is the only survivor of the original 18 towers that formed a large medieval fortress. Here you will find a huge collection of folkloric masks and puppets.


Timisoara and its surroundings Our journey to Timisoara started in Sibiu. We had been here for a few days and we started our hitchhiking adventure early in the morning. Even though there were quite a lot of other people we waiting around 25 minutes to get into a car. We planned to stop in Deva and go to Hunedoara to see the famous Corvin Castel and it was definitely worth it! During our tour through the castle we allowed ourselves to go back in time and imagine the stories we read about this historical place. Back in the reality and in Deva we hitchhiked again to reach Timisoara. As soon as we got there we continued to go to Arad but we didn’t manage to get a car, so we went there by train to visit some of our EVS friends. We forced ourselves to stay awake till midnight and clink glasses with Barbara. After all, the next day would be her 25th Birthday! The following day we went to Timisoara to join the YMCA Romania’s General Assembly meeting where we presented our Project and the results, but also to surprise Barbara with a Birthday cake and a small celebration. Next day it was already time to return to Baia Mare, by train. The journey lasted seven hours and spanned aprox. 360 km.

The three squares of Timisoara greet every visitor with hospitality. On a good day, every square offers a different atmosphere and does give possibilities to see different buildings and have a drink in different places. Timisoara does also offer plentiful restaurants and bars to go and enjoy nice meals and spend cheerful evenings. Here it does not end, the interior of the Orthodox cathedral is one of the most beautiful and the old city centre indulges any visitor with comfortable charms


Arad is located in the western part of Romania, in Transylvania. It is a modern city, an industrial area and a crossroad of communication. The city possesses a lot of remarkable buildings. It is a charming city and not even that far from Baia Mare. We had the chance to spend one night in the company of other volunteers. They are the main reason to go to the Arad: the city accommodates an extraordinary quantity of EVSvolunteers. With them, we did enjoy the beautiful architecture and gazed to the lights of the city at night.

We did not only stay within Romania‌ Our journeys crossed many borders. We travelled as far south as Austria, and as far north as Ukraine.


Our personal experiences Five different volunteers in one team. Every single one of them had his or her own reason to go to Romania. Every single one of them leaves the country with a different feeling and different emotions. How did the individual volunteers experience their stay activities in Romania? In this chapter, it is up to them to have their say.


Angelika My reason to do an EVS was mainly to take a break from formal learning, to make a break between finishing High School and starting University, to clarify my thoughts and also to learn for myself, to improve very basic skills like communication and to strengthen my personality and the most important thing to step out of my comfort zone. When I decided to go to Romania, I did not really know a lot about this country, about its history or its current situation, so I did not have many expectations. Honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect. Now, after spending some time here I am really glad I made this choice, because it changed my worldview a little bit. At the beginning I thought I was openmined, but in fact it was a process to learn to think more openly, to accept other cultures, habits and individuals, I am sure I will definitely never regret my decision.


Cecilia It’s very hard for me to sum up or try to explain what it means EVS for me, what gave me this experience, this city, this strange piece of life in Romania. During these months I read a book, it’s called “Everything is illuminated”. It’s exactly this: everything is illuminated, everything change me, pass me and mark me in an unique way. I passed the first phase of pure excitation, the phase of adaptation, the black phase of homesick and now this is kind of my home, my flat, my international family, my daily routine in schools. It’s seems so time ago that I left Italy but it’s only six months ago. Months where everything was illuminated. This sort of break from responsibilities before coming back to university. A safe space to test my self, to grow, to learn from the others. And for me, “others” means my team, my new family, my friends, means Angelika, Barbara, Maëliss and Jonathan. I can’t imagine another EVS, another team mates, another flat. Thanks to them everything is definitely illuminated

Barbara EVS, in the beginning, was one break between the end of my academic studies and he long procedure to find a “real job”. However, after 6 months I guarantee you that is more than a break or one way to full a empty space in my live. This experience changes the way that I saw what was a “real job”. This concept is a “learning process” that it means to turn my dreams into reality I need to work. Does it sound cliché? It was thanks to EVS that I realized, before falling several times, that sometimes take small steps it is ok. As a lumberjack, from time to time, I have to iron out the ax before everything. Be a volunteer with YMCA is not only about helping others, is about sharing experience, listening, teamwork and a lot of adaptation and flexibility. Even when our work on schools it is done it not means that our experience as a EVS stop. Living with six people from different countries could be part of an anthropologist study. Different personalities, different countries and diverse ways to see the world can be challenging but these were the foundations of my intercultural family. Amazing people that know that will still with after the project ends.

Jonathan “When I return I will be a different person.’’ This was one of my initial thoughts as I entered the project in Romania. Things were bound to change. Living together, working in a field I was unexperienced in, a whole different language. All made me fear, rather than rejoice in anticipation. Then, Baia Mare happened. The work taught me to be listen as well as to contribute. The activities in the Romanian classrooms shed a new light on children. The enthusiasm of youngsters and children is unparalleled by that of adults. Living-together opened me up for valuable life-lessons. Romania’s position allowed me to travel wildly and visit many places I would never consider to visit. I met countless people, did countless new things and through this discovered new sides of friendship and activity. At last, I ask myself: ‘’did I change?‘’ No doubt about it!

MaÍliss EVS is an adventure. A human adventure which can carry you far away beyond your comfort zone and limits. The project arrived in a moment of transition in my life. I quit university and decided to involved myself in a bigger project, to live abroad and to give time for others. It was the first time I committed myself in such a project, far away from home and the ones I love. During this experience I have faced challenges. The biggest one was to be far away from home. Fortunately I found here a family: the volunteers I live with, and the association. It has been harder than I thought to adapt to this new environment and to find new point of reference. I was really afraid to loose myself here but the important lesson I’ve learned is that I can find the resource in myself, no matter what surrounds me and where I am. This is an intense and rich experience in which I have crossed the road of a lot of inspiring persons who touched me in my heart. It is a safe place where you can experiment, you can meet, and the most important you can love.

Testimonials During their time in Romania, the EVS - volunteers came in touch with many different people. Youngsters and adults, teachers and pupils, all had a part in this adventure. How did they experience this experience? You can read this in the next chapter.


Dana Kiss (teenager volunteer, Baia Mare) I am not too keen to meeting new people, but this dynamic group of people turned out to be such great company. At first, I didn’t think much about them or what they would do, simply because I was pretty busy with school. Yet when they needed help and I was free I would always be there. And being there I witnessed some pretty awesome stuff. I loved working with them and I believe their activities, not only in schools but also with the refugees, have made a great impact in our community and I am very grateful for their implication. I am thankful for the opportunities they brought for me and for my city and I do hope I’ll get to meet them again, if not in Romania then perhaps somewhere in this big world.


Cristian Morozan (teenager volunteer, Cavnic) During the activities with the volunteers I had a lot of fun but also I learned a lot of new things. During an activity I realized how hard it is to be in the place of an important person that must have the last word in an important decision when you have to fight against what you believe or think. Even if I did that activity before now it was different because I enjoyed hearing more people with many more different opinions, which learned me how different we all are. I also enjoyed the other activities, but this one was the best one for me. I think that what they did during their time here is awesome and they made it possible that not only I learned something from them.

Alex Nan ( gymnasium pupil, Cavnic) I always wanted to meet new people from different cultures, even though I’m not the same with people that live near me. The foreigners always have something special. When my teacher told me that they would come to Cavnic every week to see us, I was very happy. I actually was excited every Friday and I was waiting for every Friday so much. My experience was very pleasant, they wanted to talk to us dearly and warmly. Actually, every EVS meeting was important to me, I would cancel every plan to go see them. What did I learn from them? Well, what is their culture about, they explained to us so nicely about respect, emotions, the worldwide bullying phenomenon and I remember we played a game about religious diversity. In other words, those guys were phenomenal, were spectacular and the project was a good one. I hope there will be more EVS projects like this. 48

Terezia Silaghi ( educator Hope and Homes for Children Romania) The EVS volunteers have done weekly program in two of the family services /foster care houses that belongs to Directia Generala de Asistenta Sociala si Protectia Copilului Maramureș. Their weekly educational and recreational activities consisted of: hygiene, cooking, doing sports, teambuilding, arts&crafts on different thematics, socializing time and taking kids out in the town for different events, English lessons, etc. The children developed life skills and really enjoyed beautiful moments together with the volunteers. These children and teenagers with less opportunities really needed this programs and this interaction in their lives. They developed friendship with the volunteers, and learnt life skills, good manners, to socialize, to cooperate, but more important, they learnt what love is and how you offer it. The children from the 2 houses, with ages between 519, saw in the EVS volunteer their mentors, role models from whom they gained a lot. We are honoured that we had them as volunteers, as friends. We truly respect and appreciate them for what they have done and we recommend them because they did an excellent program and the kids and us will never forget them. Much esteem and respect!

Patricia Melania Ghita (psychologist, „I Am because You Are” Program coordinator at Scoala gimnaziala „Lucian Blaga” Baia Mare) The pupils were always enthusiastic and curious about the activities with the volunteers. And, we sort of never knew what is the surprise of the activity. We began each activity with a little shyness in communication in English, but step by step the pupils overcame that barrier with the permanent support of the volunteer. They were provoked to send relevant information, to actively participate in the discussions and debates, to always pay attention to the ideas expressed by colleagues. They have realized that they need to analyse what it is happening in the world, not only just in their own lives, in little scale. The volunteers challenged their curiosity and interest abut volunteering- when, how, where, starting with what age they could be actively involved in these activities. The key words for the program would be: new, information, energy, respect, emotions, positive thinking, freely expressing the ideas and own opinions.


Larisa Ciataris (teenager volunteer, Cavnic) For the beginning, I am Larisa and I am also a volunteer of the YMCA, and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to participate in different events or activities within this organization, so that one of these activities is the meetings with EVS volunteers. I decided to take part in these meetings for the simple fact that I am a very sociable person and I wanted to meet friends from other corners of the world but also in order to be able to apply the English language skills, due to the fact that in our city we don't have such occasions very often. What marked me in EVS volunteers was that they had the courage to travel so far from their homes just to spend a few hours a week with us but also the fact that they did not give up with the meetings in Cavnic when they realized they did not have the most convenient transport. The activity that attracted my attention was the Dutch course supported by Jonathan, because it gave me the occasion to push up my limits and learn something new that it will help me at the faculty on the Netherlands. I thank the volunteers for giving us this opportunity to know through non-formal activities and I hope that in the future I will be able to do something similar for others teenagers.


Nicole Marton (teenager volunteer, Cavnic) Hello! I’m Nicki and I must say that I gladly participated in some activities held by the YMCA EVS volunteers. Well, it all started when I heard they would come in town and, to be honest, I was a little bit hesitant in the beginning, but the thing that actually motivated me to take part in this was the thought that I’ll learn something new and so it was – besides the ‘lessons’ about life, for example about emotions and the inclusion of minorities/emigrants/refugees, they also taught me something extremely important, that I have to be more sure about the thing I want to do and not to hesitate a lot because after that it will make me feel fulfilled and happy that I made it. I learnt this through their desire to come long road here only for a few hours for us. I was unsure and “To go or not to go?” – this was my question owing the fact that I had to study for school and it seemed not to have enough time for that, but in the end, I realized it really mattered. So all the little things in life matter. Thank you all for the moments spent together! En dankjewel, Jonathan voor de Nederlandse lessen! Hope to see you in the Netherlands!

Alina Coman (Romanian teacher) I used to teach the volunteers Romanian language these last six months. In time, we became friends. They were part of our lives, too. And I think that this is one of the purposes of the project, to connect people. I admired their work and their evolution. This project has brought the best in them, has made them stronger and more responsible. I’m glad I witnessed this process, and I’d do it again.


Andrei Filip ( teenager volunteer, Baia Mare) It is impossible for me to remember how many days or weeks or even months have passed since you came to Baia Mare to exchange experiences, memories, and thoughts. I am really grateful for the moments spent with you whether we just walked around the town or we organized different projects (Hideaway, the youth consultations in Somcuta Mare, etc.) or we simply had fun together. I want to thank you for the workshops that you organized. I hope that you enjoyed your stay as much as I did. Hope to see you again soon. Lots of love, Andrew.

Anca Pascui (teacher , Program coordinator at Liceul Teoretic “Ioan Buteanu” Somcuta Mare) For an entire semester, the YMCA Romania EVS volunteers ran weekly an inclusive program in our highschool Liceul Teoretic ,,Ioan Buteanu”, Șomcuta Mare, with a series of activities that were very well received by the students of our school. In the weekly program done in an non formal manner, they presented some of the issues of the nowadays society: tolerance, No hate Speech, antibullying, antidiscrimination, interculturality, equal chances, etc. Seduced by the attractive non formal methods used for the activities, by the dynamic and enthusiasm of the volunteers, our students from secondary school and high school, shared that they had learnt a lot from this project. Exercising English language, the opportunity to meet young people from very different cultures, multiculturality, solutions for our society`s challenges, understanding and overcoming barriers, development of communication skills are just some of the immediate benefits of this program, as the students shared. Moreover, inspired by the YMCA EVS volunteers, many of the highschool students said that they would love to become a volunteer. 52

Gabriela Hotea (teacher, Scoala Gimnaziala Copalnic Manastur) A very meaningful experience! Not only have the volunteers brought instructive and relaxing games, but they also had topics that actively engaged all of our students! They showed them how to think for themselves, how to be analytical and critical and to use their thoughts and believes to communicate in English! We all are part of the European Union and we must start with our youth if we want a change for a better functioning unifying system! And we, as teachers, have also learnt that topic diversity is favourable and even necessary in building the future social groups!

Peter Buju (young leader, Baia Mare) The courage to persistently step out of their comfort zone has been one of the key things that made this team so great. This has been shown consistently, from the mere presence into this EVS program, all the way to the activities and projects that reach out to the local community. Their work is truly a breath of fresh air to the local community, managing to create a context where something truly unique and new can be experienced. I had the pleasure of taking part of the Hideaway team, a one-of-a-kind activity that established a deep atmosphere and addressed the refugee situation. The session's discussions led to fascinating stories, experiences and hopefully, a more tolerant, empathetic and knowledgeable audience. The community is grateful for your amazing work !


Alina Pop (Project coordinator Youth Power Space, CEO YMCA Romania) This project brought a new perspective and new understanding to our organization, to our human resources, programs and beneficiaries. Never expected such a big impact, and again this proved to me and to us as an organization that if the right safe space is created for the young people they will not only be empowered, but they will take action and will perform in a way of making a change. This project put in practice the recommendation of United Nations regarding youth civic engagement: was a model of educational program led by young people for young people, it was relevant for the needs and interest of young people, was oriented on community action, recognized and fostered reflection, facilitated the youth-adult relation. The EVS volunteers promoted inclusion and participation by empowering children and youth to become Ambassadors of the communities, advocating for diversity, tolerance, initiative, critical thinking, equality, participation, to build communities where everyone should have equal opportunities to learn, grow and thrive. Youth Power Space project was a transformational project for everyone involved. The values ​transmitted - care, respect, honesty, responsibility, trust, equality, diversity, cooperation- the children, youth, teachers, community stakeholders representatives, the EVS and Romanian volunteers have created a “power space” – where we engaged youth through appealing activities, linked them with different opportunities to grow, built awareness and developed competences. We are very thankful and proud of our EVS volunteers – Angelika, Barbara, Cecilia, Jonathan, Maëliss, Juan- for their commitment and dedication, for believing in the mission and achieving the great results. 54

Dan Carpov (mentor, president YMCA Romania) First I heard about EVS was when I participated in an international project meeting and I was welcomed by a couple of nice young people that spoke English fluently and had a very nice and fresh attitude. One of them interviewed me and during that interview, I found out some basic facts about their activities as an EVS volunteer. After I returned, I presented some basic info about EVS to my organization and we decided to find a way to apply to welcome EVS, since we were sure their activities would influence the community in a very good way and also support the activities in our organization. Soon we were ready to receive our first team of EVS volunteers. I became an EVS mentor, and it was a great opportunity for me to get to know better them and their needs and together find solutions to better integrate the volunteers and offer support in their activities. Years passed and we had many volunteers, we had great times and we were always sad when their stage finished and they left. Some of them returned to visit us; it was always great to listen to what they do now and how they empowered other people and finally yet importantly talk about the good times we had. Being a good European or a citizen of this World is much easier after you have shared information with these beautiful people that offer to spend some time with you and do good things in your community, stereotypes disappear, lifetime friendships are made, and trust is stronger than ever. Thank you volunteers, thank you EVS!


Ioana Bran (psychologist, Program coordinator Scoala gimnaziala “Alexandru Ivasiuc”) Participating in the activities organised by the EVS volunteer helped the pupils from our school to discover specific aspects of different European cultures. They had the chance to reflect on their own values and see how it works in practice. The context created by the EVS volunteers helped the pupils to live that good state of mind fostered by the support, tolerance and unconditional acceptance of the volunteers whom with passion and a lot of patience engaged them in series of non- formal games, activities full of meanings and learning outcomes. The children felt and truly learn that they are a team - pupils and volunteers all together. The impact was felt as well on the teacher, who were involved as well, truly understanding the concept “I AM because YOU ARE”!

Tunde Balint (primary school teacher, Program coordinator Liceul teoretic “Nemeth Laszlo”) In the program, the volunteers used a diversity of non formal education methods that foster creativity, development of competences and active participation. The topic of the activities was very diverse: interculturality, human rights, civic education. The activities supported inclusion and engagement in the community, so the children could become community Ambassadors, promoting diversity, tolerance, initiative, participation, building at their level a community that respect the human rights and democracy. As the children said in their evaluation, this was a wonderful fairy tale created by the volunteers through which we enriched our minds and souls. Once again, through the program with EVS volunteers we planted a good seed that will grow and in the future we will harvest! 56

Adela Corcalciuc (mentor) For me is an opportunity to take part at this project, and I'm honoured that I had 2 wonderful mentees- Angelika from Austria and Jonathan from Holland. At the beginning was a challenge for me this position of mentor, but I learned a lot from my volunteers. Actually I think we learned things from each other, and together. During the months of this project I saw how this 2 youngsters were growing, rediscovered themselves, doing thinks that they never thought they were able to do. Learning new skills, gaining experiences in working with kids and youngsters, developing their communication skills, integrating in community, making friends, creating a daily life, it all was a challenge for them, but they found the way to do all this. They found what they liked to do, about what will be their future, what path to take for the next chapter after the EVS project. The young people from our times, they need to be listened, they need to be encouraged, they need support for gaining trust in themselves and achieving great things in their life, in their community and for society. So let's listen to them, support them and stand up for young people.

Roxana Pascan (mentor) As a mentor, over the past 6 months, I observed the volunteers as they grew personally and went through diverse challenges. I was fortunate to have been given 2 lovely mentees, Barbara and MaĂŤliss, whom challenged me each meeting with new insights and perspectives. Through a lot of effort they successfully overcame obstacles and personal fears, they learned to have patience, to look deep in themselves, where they found all the answers they needed. EVS itself is a process of self-discovery. A process that comes both ways. Mentorship can be an invaluable experience for both mentees and the mentor. In order to make it work, both mentees and the mentor need to understand the role they play. Communication and openness is the key. The rest will follow. 57

Youth Power Space in media ❑ The volunteers of this project made a wonderful video in which they introduce their project. You can find this video here. ❑ Every single volunteer made a video in which they explain their greatest lessons and their plans for the future, are you curious? You find them below: ❑ Maëliss ❑ Angelika ❑ Barbara ❑ Jonathan ❑ Cecilia ❑ You can find an interview with Alina Pop, our coordinator, here. ❑ Interested in the details of Barbara’s Hideaway Event? You can find two videos: ❑ An interview with Barbara on TV Sighet ❑ Fragments of the Hideaway Event ❑ The volunteers left a lot of pictures, you can find their album with this link. ❑ Other Media performances can be found here.


Acknowledgements Program coordinators Inv. Tunde Balint prof. Valerica Bobb Consilier scolar Ioana Bran Prof. Adina Costinar Consilier scolar Patricia Ghita Prof. Teodora Palencsar Prof. Anca Pascui Ed.Terezia Silaghi Prof. Claudia Stoica Mentors Adela Corcalciuc Roxana Pascan Dan Carpov Romanian language teacher Alina Coman Local Partners Asociatia YMCA Baia Mare Asociatia YMCA Cavnic ASSOC Biblioteca Judeteana „Petre Dulfu” Baia Mare Colegiul Tehnic “Gheorghe Baritiu” Baia Mare Colegiul National „Gheorghe Sincai” Baia Mare Colegiul Economic „Nicolae Titulescu” Baia Mare Colegiul National „Vasile Lucaciu” Baia Mare Colegiul Economic “Pintea Viteazul” Cavnic Directia Generala de Asistenta Sociala si Protectia Copilului Maramures Directia Judeteana pentru Sport si Tineret Maramures - Centrul de Tineret Baia Mare Fundatia de Voluntari Somaschi Federatia Organizatiilor Neguvernamentale de Tineret Maramures Hope and Homes for Children Romania Liceul Teologic Penticostal Baia Mare Liceul Teoretic “ Ioan Buteanu” Somcuta Mare Liceul Teoretic “Nemeth Laszlo” Baia Mare Scoala gimnaziala “Lucian Blaga” Baia Mare Scoala gimnaziala “ Alexandru Ivasiuc” Baia Mare Universitatea Tehnica din Cluj-Napoca - Centrul Universitar Nord din Baia Mare Special thanks Dragos Tarta Tudor Rus Ovidiu Coman and his family To all the Romanian volunteers, students and teachers that welcomed and supported our activities and our integration in the Romanian community. Project coordinator Alina Pop


This publication is a result of the EVS project Youth Power Space organised by YMCA Romania and funded through the Erasmus Plus program. The information and views set out in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinon of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained herein. @romaniaymca @RomaniaYMCA 60