In Velos Youth we believe that learning happens all the time: socially, interacting on the street, understanding past experiences, inside a classroom, in the work place and in many more situations.
Therefore in our youth centre we try to support young people seeking education from various angles – LEAP (Learning & Education Action Plan) is a tool we use to help with practical self-organisation, Learning Support Sessions help with homework or introductions to a new language and then we also have wider discussions about education and learning.
We know that every young person has experience of learning regardless of the level of their previous formal education, and therefore in Velos Youth we try to break down what is learning? how do we each learn differently? and in what situations are we learning?
These are the conversations leading our Educational Group Discussions. By having these conversations in a group we share our experiences with each other and listen to how others have overcome difficulties. In addition to this, we look at responsibility for learning and try to identify barriers young people face. Education and learning are certainly something that young people can feel they have some control over, and it is an area through which they can escape daily difficulties and instead see themselves progressing and moving forward.
Primarily, we encourage these conversations through practical and motivational support. This is another reason why building on what young people have already achieved and learnt is fundamental. Our aim is through empowerment to increase the feeling of importance and self worth. The discussions and workshops we hold in our youth centre always aim to hold young people and their opinions at their core, and this is especially true for the Educational Group Discussions. One of the toughest skills across the world is listening, which is why these discussions aim to encourage the ideas and stories of the young people so that we can take a step back from teaching, and instead learn from them.
Covid 19 has of course hampered many elements of young people’s lives in Athens, especially those who are living on the streets. Services have been cut and the importance of physical and human connection has been minimised to the detriment of all of us. Educational efforts and progress have of course suffered as well. Online classes and printed material are a good method of support for the current situation, however access to technology or WiFi has caused further challenges. Through online connections, phone calls, and promotion of services and opportunities, the team at Velos Youth are committed to continue supporting young people as best as we can, even at the toughest of times.