human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Time for the youth

Youth Activity Centre

In Warsaw, at Kawęczyńska Street 16, as part of Caritas Poland, a Youth Activity Center was established. The first aim of the centre is to be a space for workshops and training for the ‘Youth Time 2019 Project’ (projekt Czas na młodzież 2019). Secondly, we want to create a space where things not directly related to the project can happen. However, they will bring a lot of knowledge to project participants and build positive attitudes towards social problems, ecology and local communities.

We aim to ensure that meetings, workshops and other forms of activity are led by professionals. Nowadays, in Poland, we have a large number of NGOs, local communities, social committees or informal citizens’ initiatives that are specialized in helping specific social groups. Their actions usually focus on a very individual fragment of society. They have a mission and specific goals, often working in the spirit of some idea or philosophy. They go out into the world with a message.

We created an open space for exchanging experiences and best practices. A space that will draw from what the project participants and invited guests have to offer. We use the potential of our participants, who are often professionals in their fields, and with their help we organize psychological, improvisation, music, and ecological workshops. In addition, we offer workshops on writing social projects. Each of the acquired skills can be used to act for the benefit of the local community.

What do we do within the Centre? We go to schools with volunteers to promote the ideas of selfless work for the benefit of others. We meet with members of the school volunteering club to promote the ideas of acting for the benefit of people in need. We believe in the power of interaction between people and learning through action. Young people, despite the circulating stereotypes, want to help and want to get involved. They just need to see sense and purpose. We hope that in the Youth Activity Centre, our participants will learn to see the sense of selfless work. From January, meetings and initiatives are taking place at least 3-4 times a month, and activities are based on calendar holidays and special days, such as Children’s Day, Earth Day, Mother’s Day or World Day of the Sick. On Children’s Day, we will organise activities for children from the orphanage, on Earth Day, organise zero-waste workshops, we plan to spend Mother’s Day collecting accessories for the Single Mother’s House, and on World Day of the Sick we will meet with employees of a hospice home.

The first edition of the project will last until June 2020. Next year, we will launch the next edition of the project, to which we will invite new participants. Thus, the character and spirit of the Youth Activity Centre will change slightly. We want to draw from a variety of experiences and we realise that solutions and ideas developed in one edition, while helpful, may change to meet the needs and expectations of new participants. Each group is different, and our role is to bring out what is the most valuable. We create a place where volunteers will flourish and learn a lot. We enable people to develop their talents.