In April, the pilot experience “Youth Bank” was launched, a laboratory journey carried out within the T.R.A.P. project – Tutt* Rivendichiamo Altre Prospettive (We All Claim Other Perspectives).
T.R.A.P. is a project selected by Con i Bambini (With the Children) under the Fund for Countering Educational Poverty in Minors. It is aimed at minors under the care of the juvenile justice organs, their families, the operators of the U.S.S.M. (Office of Social Services for Minors), and social services, with the aim of building an integrated approach to activities that allow the involved minors to discover and desire perspectives beyond violence. The Community Foundation of Agrigento and Trapani will take care of the “Youth Bank” experience, the Youth’s Bank: an initiative active in many countries worldwide that we will bring to Menfi (AG) aimed at a group of teenagers reported by the Juvenile Judicial Authority and already under the U.S.S.M.’s care, guests of the community accommodation of the Walden Institute S.C.S Onlus. The “Youth Bank” aims to support the minors’ responsibility process by inserting them into a financing system for projects carried out by other young people (in this case, the other territorial centers in Sicily involved in the T.R.A.P. project). The minors will be part of a management committee of the “Youth Bank”; after a training course to learn how to identify the community’s needs, they will build and manage a real call for applications for the allocation of a micro-grant. The same minors will evaluate the ideas to support and implement. This activity will allow the young people to play a leading role in improving their community, recognizing themselves as responsible for generating real changes. We want to give them back the magic of creativity, convey the desire to make impossible things possible, teach them how important it is to plan for themselves, but also for the people around them.
The activities of the “Youth Bank” began on April 20 in Menfi, and the first three meetings have been held. On the first day, after some ice-breaking activities and an introduction to the work to do together, the kids took part in an imaginative activity identifying all those services, essential and not, that a society needs to go forward and then actually building their ideal reality. The topics covered in the second meeting were Active Citizenship and the Constitution. Through games and interactive activities, they came into contact with the main rights and duties of an Italian citizen. The third meeting, instead, focused on the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals: the boys identified the ones that are a priority for them, based on their experiences, their values, and their idea of an ideal society. These Goals will form the basis of the “Youth Bank” call for applications that will be constructed in the coming meetings.
The boys are showing great imaginative skills and a good knowledge of their rights and duties as citizens; they are outlining their responsibilities and their values as young adults, with the specific needs of their particular stage of development. The educational value of this activity lies in allowing the boys to understand that everyone, including them, can fight for a better future for the planet and its inhabitants.