THE YOUTH CENTER – MLADINSKO SREDIŠČE VIČ, LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA
Youth Centre Vič is a non-profit, community based organisation serving the socially excluded and disadvantaged children and youth. M.S.V. is a preventive program established by Social Services Centre in our district of Ljubljana. We are a project program partly funded by the local Municipality (Mestna občina Ljubljana – MOL) and the State (Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Affairs); the rest of the financial and material resources are garnered through voluntary contributions.
Our facilities are opened every workday from 9a.m. to 5p.m. Starting with the year 2000. There's a specially designed program available during school breaks from 9a.m. to 3p.m. Some of the attendees who partake in our activities are directed our way by Social Services Centre, while others hear of us from various sources (district primary schools and their resident social workers, newspapers, word of mouth etc.). We frequently co-operate with Social Services workers, this districts primary schools and other related organisations. We are in constant contact on the progress of our charges and regularly form professional teams where we revise our existing work and search for most suitable ways to proceed. Progress is constantly discussed and analysed. Professional teams are regularly formed, who then revise the our existing work and search for most suitable ways to proceed.
From a demographic point of view, most of the youth attending M.S.V. originates from socially threatened environment and/or non-supportive families that are monitored by Social Services Centre. Especially problematic is the sub-district Rakova Jelša. Most of the population in Rakova consists of minorities from ex-Yugoslavia countries and Roma people. M.S.V. deals with youth that comes predominately from problematic families (e.g. parental neglect, alcoholism in the family, various kinds of physical and psychological abuse), they have to cope with conflicting cultural values, have problems in school and learning disorders, and suffer from other forms of social maladies (e.g. poverty, social isolation). We strive to deter them from negative behavioural patterns by offering them professional advice and engaging them in positive, structured and educational activities. The average age of our charges is from 12 to 14, but some are as young as 7 and as old as 21 years.
For every individual that joins the Youth Centre we determine – in co-operation with said individual, his parents and the involved mentors and volunteers – specific goals and set a course of action to achieve them. These pre-devised programmes also anticipate individual's educational support (on a weekly basis) and determine which group activities will be attended.
Every year we gather a group of volunteers (mostly students). They provide educational support, by organising either group lessons or lessons on individual basis. They also assist mentors with organisation and implementation of group activities, summer camps, various workshops etc. Our volunteers are provided with a two-day training seminar each year. We hold intervision meetings with them every fortnight and discuss individual cases they are responsible for.
Mladinsko središče Vič organises various group activities for children and youth that visits our Youth Day Centre with the intention of providing them with safe/warm environment and quality ways to spend their spare time. We strive to improve their self-confidence and help them to develop a healthy, independent and responsible personality. Some of the group activities, which also reinforce social interactions amongst them are: creative workshops (e.g. painting, modelling, working with clay, drawing,…), sport workshops (e.g. swimming and dancing) and interactive art therapy.
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