“Put your gloves on,
and your old trainers too.
Don’t forget your tools,
Viškovo is waiting for you.
Read on and see
why that may be.”
SMART – association for civil society development is participating in the implementation of Erasmus+ project EDUVOL – Volunteering as an Educational Opportunity. The project is financed by Erasmus+ program and is implemented by the following organizers: Platforma volonterskih centara i organizacija from Slovakia, Pro Vobis from Romania, Volunteering Hungary from Hungary, Volunteer Centre Warsaw from Poland and Association SMART – Volunteer Centre Rijeka from Croatia.
The project focuses on young people and/or people who work with the youth in a formal or informal ways, such as civil society organizations, to which DIP also belongs. The main goal is to improve competences of young people and their capabilities for the purpose of an active and full participation in their society in an economic and social plan on all levels – from a local to a European level. In order for that to be achieved, the program implements different kinds of tools, for example: training for people who works with youth, a guide for people who work with youth (about the implementation of service learning methodology and good examples of practice), a guide for young people (about developing service learning projects) and a webinar, as an introduction to service learning.
As you can notice, service learning is a key concept in this project and it refers to the innovative methodology, which connects volunteering and learning of young people. Learning through giving support in a community represents the experiential learning model which entails, in this case, young people gaining specific knowledge and skills, while giving back to the community at the same time.
You probably have a lot of questions about the role of DIP in this project? Who are the young people in our project? In what way will the objectives be achieved? Why is the project important? Well, first things first.
1.What is DIP’s role in this project?
Society for research and support (DIP) is a non-profit civil society organization which has been working with young people for many years, as well as with their members and volunteers who’s number keeps growing year after year. Therefore, in collaboration with SMART, DIP started the implementation of the project DIP GREEN, which is part of the EDUVOL project and which is intended for our youth. Through this project they will get the opportunity to be, so called, Youth Workers, that is young people who are learning while giving back to the community.
2. Who are the young people in our project?
Young people refers to our DIP volunteers, who are participating in various DIP activities and workshops, for the purpose of providing social support and help to our DIP members, who are young people with developmental and psycho-social functioning disabilities.
3. In what way will the objectives be achieved?
You’re probably already familiar with our little eco garden in Viškovo, which we love to visit on days when the weather is beautiful and sunny, so we can clean it and add new plants or monitor their progress. Our garden in Viškovo is the foundation for our project. The young people will be in charge of the project, with a mentor, who will provide assistance and support throughout the whole project. The young people will prepare the needed tools, plants and everything needed for the start of their project, which will be tending to the garden and enriching it by planting medicinal and culinary herbs, flowers, fruit trees and various other kinds of plants, which will revive our garden and improve our mood. In order to achieve everything mentioned, the young people will have to work well together in a team and everyone will play their part, so that the project can be successfully completed. Besides our young volunteers, our DIP members will also work and assist in order to complete the project. This will promote inclusive volunteering, which will enable the development of skills and new knowledge for everyone participating in the project.
The project will start at the end of March and will last until the end of May. Within that period, 5 visits to the garden are scheduled, starting from the 24th of March 2021, when our first official visit together with our DIP members will be.
4. Why is the project important?
This project initiates the development of inclusion and inclusive volunteering, seeing that our DIP members, namely, young people with developmental and psycho-social functioning disabilities will be participating. The connection between our volunteers, as well as our volunteers and DIP members, will strengthen and everyone will feel as part of the community, while at the same time contributing to the community at large. The social capital will be strengthened this way and will contribute to the sustainability of our project, considering the fact that new plants and fruit trees can always be planted, we can get-together again, work together and later on enjoy our products, which will contribute to our well-being and health.
We’re looking forward to this project, gatherings, working in nature and acquiring some new knowledge and skills, which will help us in everyday life!