2.8 Raising awareness about youth volunteering opportunities
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IUVENTA – Slovak Youth Institute provides information on various opportunities for young people, not only on volunteering, using the basic instrument EURODESK – European Information Network, in which Slovakia participates, too. IUVENTA has been managing the European Union programmes for youth since 1998. IUVENTA has contributed to youth volunteering's popularization, focusing on recognizing volunteering and its impact, building up organizations' competencies working with young volunteers, and developing volunteering with vulnerable young people, especially Roma.
As a specific contact point, we can mention regional Volunteer Centres, which enable young people to receive information. Volunteer centers are service organizations. The centers connect volunteers and organizations, promote volunteering, provide training, consultation, and supervision in volunteer management, network volunteer organizations, develop corporate volunteering, highlight the societal value of volunteering, build cross-sectoral partnerships between volunteer organizations, local government, and volunteering, monitor developments and trends in this area. Regional volunteering centres are established in each region, although their level of activity is different. In recent years, the MESRS made financial support available to the centers via the Programmes for Youth within a specific programme called 'SERVICES for Youth.' All the above-mentioned regional centers, except the one in Banská Bystrica, have linked their online databases to volunteering opportunities and volunteers.
The Platform of Volunteering Centres and Organisations provides information on volunteering, manages campaigns, and provides networking opportunities for various organizations. The government resources financially supported the Platform in the last years.
The Slovak Youth Council is also involved in advocacy activities and development activities in youth in general and thus even in volunteering. It contributes to creating an environment that enables youth organizations to carry out their activities effectively and without obstacles. It promotes young people's involvement in the formulation of policies, programs, and measures in all relevant contexts of their lives.
Young people have the opportunity to obtain information about volunteering not only in volunteer centers and specific organizations, but there are also several online platforms for volunteer opportunities in Slovakia: www.dobrovolnictvo.com (for all Slovakia); www.centrumdobrovolnictva.sk (for Banská Bystrica region), www.dobrovolnictvoba.sk (for Bratislava region), www.dckk.sk (for Košice), www.ncdnitra.sk (for Nitra region), www.dobrovolnictvpo.sk (for Prešov region), www.dctn.sk (for Trenčin region), www.dobrovolnictvott.sk (for Trnava region), www.dobrovolnictvoza.sk (for Zilina region), https://dobrovolnici.ludialudom.sk/ (for all Slovakia).
The most important activities aimed at promoting volunteering can be considered: Volunteer Days (organized by CARDO), Volunteer Week (organized by the Platform of Volunteer Centers and Organizations and selected regional volunteer centers) and the 72 Hours project (organized by the Slovak Youth Council), Volunteer Market (organized by volunteer center in Bratislava) and the I Love My Region campaign in the PO region (organized by the Christians in the City and PSK platform). The Dumb Feeling campaign aimed at involving young people with disabilities in volunteering (implemented by the Platform of Volunteer Centers and Organizations in 2014). During these campaigns, people had the opportunity to participate in volunteer activities in organizations, implement their own projects, but also participate in workshops, discussions and open days.
Activities for recognition of volunteering and appreciation of volunteers´ activities
Youth Council of Slovakia awards the prize 'MOST' every year in various categories. The award represents a moral appreciation of young volunteers' activities and supports their visibility.
'Heart on Palm' (Srdce na dlani) represents developed more than ten years ago by National Volunteering Centre (SAIA – SCTS). Later, it was implemented by several regional volunteer centers. The nation-wide award Heart on Palm is organized by the C.A.R.D.O. since 2011. Since 2020 the national award is organized in cooperation with the Platform of Volunteer Centers and Organization.
In 2020 Platform of Volunteer Centers and organization, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Research, Science, and Sport, launched the award for primary and secondary schools involving students volunteering based on a service-learning strategy called Engaged school.