Bridging the gap

As youth workers, we have a responsibility to speak out against practices that are not serving young people effectively, and to use our voices to promote innovative and effective approaches. We are uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between young people and the broader community. This can help us to communicate the needs and perspectives of young people to a wider audience, and to promote greater understanding and collaboration in the pursuit of positive outcomes for all. By sharing our stories and perspectives, we can contribute to a more dynamic and informed conversation about how best to support the growth and development of young people.

One of the major benefits of the YOUreSTART platform for youth workers is that it can help to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Many of us enter the field with a theoretical understanding of the issues that young people face, but may struggle to apply this knowledge in a practical setting.  A platform that offers peer support can help us to develop our skills and build confidence in our ability to work effectively with young people.

The YOUreSTART! platform can help to foster a sense of community among youth workers. During the covid-19 lockdowns, many of us had to work in isolation and due to the digital overload we prioritized our activities with young people, putting aside the communication between each other. This platform enables us to connect with others in the field, to ask questions, and to share ideas and resources can help us to feel less isolated and more supported in our work.

The YOUreSTART platform, as an educational practice platform, targeted to youth workers, has a lot of key elements that make it an interesting tool; it has been co-created and co-designed by youth workers and young people, it is to a good extend accessible, it is free and it is tailored to specific and specified needs that are faced by youth workers and young people. Of course, it is important to ensure that it should be updated regularly with new information and resources provided by the community of users, and offer ongoing support

While promoting culture, art, creativity and inclusion are certainly important goals for youth workers, it’s important to recognize that these efforts alone are not sufficient to address the complex challenges facing young people today. We need to take a holistic approach to youth development that takes into account their socio-emotional needs, as well as their academic and career aspirations.

It’s extremely promising to see that the platform has been created with a focus on inclusion and diversity, including being available in multiple languages. It’s important that the platform is accessible to a diverse range of youth workers and young people, and having it available in multiple languages is an important step towards achieving that goal.

In addition to language accessibility, it’s important to consider other aspects of diversity, such as cultural differences, socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, gender identity and expression, and ability status. It’s important to ensure that the platform is inclusive and accessible to all youth workers and young people, regardless of their background.

To achieve this goal, the project team could consider consulting with individuals from diverse backgrounds during the development and implementation of the platform. This can involve seeking input from youth workers and young people who come from even more cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds to ensure that the platform is responsive to their needs and experiences.”.

Furthermore, it’s important to create opportunities for cross-cultural experiences and learning to promote mutual understanding and respect among youth workers and young people from diverse backgrounds. That’s why the YOUreSTART platform should also consider offering interactive training and case studies, in the near future.

In conclusion, the YOUreSTART! platform has the potential to be a game-changer in our field. By providing us with access to tools and resources, fostering a sense of community, and helping to bridge the gap between theory and practice, it can only improve the work that we do with young people. I believe that interacting with the platform and actively participating in its digital community activities, is a smart and necessary step for youth workers and young people to better define youth work and its needs and make it a key domain in socialization and social inclusion.

Text composed by Nefeli Katsouli

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