Mladinski EPI centre Piran is a youth centre, established by the municipality of Piran. The centre operates in two locations on the Slovenian coast – in Piran and Lucija.
What is your target and why you chose that one? And what kind of events or activities do you organise?
The youth centre aims to provide young people living or going to school in the Municipality of Piran with the following:
- a safe place where they can spend their free time;
- organized extracurricular activities (theatre, language clubs, arts etc.);
- support and guidance;
- help with homework and studying;
- international youth exchanges;
- volunteering opportunities;
- career orientation activities and more.
Both youth centres are open from Monday to Friday in the afternoon. During the summer (and other school holidays), we organize activities for children aged 6 to 10 years old in the form of a «day camp». The youth that we usually work with are between 9 and 19 years old, but with different activities and projects, we try to involve all young people up to the age of 29. The staff consists of 5 youth workers and some volunteers.
Why did you decide to take part in the ESC program?
We decided to take part in the European Solidarity Corps because we believe that hosting volunteers brings something positive for our organisation and the youth that take part in our activities and also because we want to give young people from other countries the opportunity to become part of our team.
What do volunteers bring to your organisation?
Volunteers bring new energy to our organisation and with their ideas help improve our program, so we can offer something more to the kids and youth that visit the youth centre daily.
Volunteers serve as role models to youth that would like to discover the world and show them what possibilities are offered by Erasmus + and the European Solidarity Corps.
Volunteers also share their cultures and teach youth about their language, food, etc.
How long have you been hosted volunteers for? And how many have you hosted so far?
We have been hosting volunteers since February 2018. So far we hosted 3 volunteers and we are expecting 3 new volunteers to start in September 2019.
Nice! And what kind of activities do they take part in?
Volunteers help in the daily activities of the youth centre, play board games and sports with kids/youth, help them with homework and studying, based on their interests they can run different free time, creative, educational workshops, raise awareness among young people about the possibilities of the Erasmus / ESC program, work on (international) projects for youth (e.g. youth exchanges), prepare a language club for young people in their own language or other language (non-formal learning of foreign languages), assist young people in creating smaller events (e.g. movie nights, Magic the gathering tournaments, Halloween/Christmas party…), assist in designing promotional materials, take photos/videos of the activities, publish posts on our website, Facebook and Instagram, and develop a personal project.
Can you tell me a happy or funny moment that happened with a volunteer?
One of our volunteers loved one of the board games we have in EPI centre and was always up for playing it. She practised so much that nobody was able to beat her. So we gave her the game to take home and now she can teach her family and friends how to play the game that she learned in Slovenia.
What would you suggest to organisations that don’t take part in ESC? Why should they do it and what should they be aware of?
If you want to do something great for young people, join the ESC. It will bring positive things to the organisation and the local community as well. There is some work related to hosting volunteers, but you definitely get a lot from it so it is worth it.
The selection of a new volunteer is the hardest part. What are you looking for in a candidate? What qualities and what does convince you that that is the right person?
We are looking for proactive, motivated young people that like to work with youth and kids. The person needs to be open-minded, willing to learn new things, creative, flexible and most of all positive.
Are you still in contact with the previous volunteers?
Yes, we like to stay in contact with our volunteers and we made a good relationship with previous volunteers. So good in fact that we are planning to visit one of them this summer.
Photos: EPI Center Piran