When we face many stressors, personal to global, this can negatively impact a willingness to be active, engaged community members. Stress is prevalent within teens who are making important decisions about their future. Through community assessment, intergenerational community dialogues, intercultural exchanges, and workshops to better understand anxiety and positive coping methods, teens will have an array of experiences, working towards overcoming apathy their personal lives and community.
Project takes place in Sisak- Moslavina; postwar cities of Dvor, Glina, Petrinja in rural Croatia.
Extreme poverty is prevalent in this region, leading to a myriad of negative effects. A generational, learned behavior of apathy, has been developed as a coping mechanism, leading to a sense someone else will problem solve, whether related to COVID-19 or ongoing issues. Visible signs from the war 25 years ago leave communities seemingly located at the end of the world. Ownership of self & community is lacking. An absence of positive role models limits the influence on future generations. The problems listed lead to frustration, hopelessness & a lack of engagement regarding democracy & societal cohesion. This idea addresses apathy within the community by providing opportunities, highlighting positive role models, & teaching alternative coping methods promoting personal responsibility.
A community assessment will increase understanding of needs & best practices, leading to a stronger community connection. Round table conversations, intergenerational discussion, & highlighting positive role models will promote active citizenship through engaging dialogue. Activities will build upon community strengths. Apathy is present due to feeling a loss of control in influence on a personal and community level. Educating youth on what they have control over through building resilience and internal coping methods can enhance their ability to become active citizens. Youth will have access to tools and information on how to be more engaged. Peers outside of the local region can inspire youth through intercultural experiences & field trips. This can be motivation for innovative ideas.
Youth ages 13-18 are in a unique position to make important life decisions, often without extensive knowledge of opportunities beyond what they have been exposed to in their family or school. Youth from the towns of Dvor and Glina will specifically be the primary focus of this project, although youth from the entire region will be included. The city of Petrinja was selected as one of the five worst multiple deprived areas in Croatia with a development index of 73.34%, well below the country average. Local youth councils will be involved, especially through community conversations, providing a platform to amplify their voices. Youth organizations will be called upon as partners to extend the reach. A secondary target group by default would be the communities involved as they will benefit.
A community assessment will be conducted in the specific regions of Dvor and Glina to ensure the goals and solutions created from previous experience are still applicable to the community. Engaging in community conversations through round table discussions and intergenerational dialogue will be the first step in engaging the community.
In order to share opportunities with youth, field trips to events, promoting local career fairs, and intercultural experieces will be held throughout the year.
Finally, throughout these activities and specifically in workshops in the schools, youth will learn how to identify stressors and anxiety, what they have control over, and coping mechanisms to address internal thought patterns, which may contribute to perpetuating barriers.
As it may seem intimidating to address general apathy and extreme poverty, IKS can have some influence through this project in beginning to plant seeds and see success. A year from now, the teens in transition would be more likely to feel a sense of self-efficacy as it relates to personal and community responsibility. A sense of ownership will be heightened, therefore those in the community will be more likely to engage on a positive level. The more youth who learn coping skills will begin to normalize this for their peers, community & future generations.
Over the span of the project, 1 assessment, 3 community conversations, 2 field trips, 1 intercultural experience & 15 workshops will support 30 young people.
This initiative is rooted in strengthening democracy not only in rural Croatia but across Europe. Educating youth on what they have control over through building resilience and internal coping methods can enhance their ability to become active citizens. Youth will have access to tools and information on how to be more engaged. In promoting self-initiative and responsibility, teens can learn skills that will benefit them and their communities. They can share this through intercultural exchanges, promote positive peer influence, and share their ideas through their respective circles. In incorporating the European values and overall theme of strengthening democracy, teens can begin to feel a part of not only their local community but all of Europe as well.
This idea is important as it addresses the root causes of a disengaged community. As IKS has been active within the community for many years, there is already a connection and understanding of what individuals face. Building upon these communities’ strengths and promoting awareness of mental health as a means to individually develop the capacity to become more engaged combines experience from staff with the need from the community. Association IKS is committed to empowering young people to become active citizens, engaged in community development.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Intercultural Experience: 2500
Field Trips: 3500
Workshop Materials: 1500
Office Material: 1000
Equipment & Didactic Materials: 5000
Travel Expense: 1500
Office Overhead: 5,500
We are open to all feedback about our idea. Were there areas that were not clear? Is there a similar project in another region we could derive inspiration from? What are the areas we could strengthen? Association IKS always looks for ways to increase the quality of our project applications.