The YMCA is the oldest and largest youth charity in the world, set up in England in 1844. Over the years, it has evolved into a global movement reaching across 119 different communities.
YMCAs share a common goal to create inclusive communities where young people can belong and thrive. Here at the YMCA Sutton Coldfield, as well as our work in the local community, we are also involved in a number of different international projects. These initiatives aim to connect young people in our local community with other young people from different countries, backgrounds and cultures, developing mutual respect and building relationships and communities across the globe. The hope is that this awareness and enrichment will create an impact on younger generations about living in harmony which will benefit young people in our local community.
We are proud to partner with Erasmus + in offering voluntary work experience placements and accommodation to young people from across Europe as part of the European Voluntary Service Programme.
One of our EVS volunteers shares her experience of volunteering with the YMCA in Sutton Coldfield.
I thought it would not be easy, but it has been. I found my vocation: Social work!
“My name is Gema, I am from Spain and I am currently living in the north of Birmingham, (United Kingdom) participating in a European Voluntary Service. I am living and working in the famous organisation YMCA. They are an inclusive organisation, supporting young people from all faiths; they provide services to young men and women and provide a number of dedicated services for disabled young people.
Some of the projects I am very focused on currently are “Disability Department” and “Youth Work”. The first offers social and learning experiences to children, teenagers, and adults with different disabilities. We strive to ensure that we deliver a holistic service that supports the whole family and makes life worth living. Youth Work is our big project, it is called “Triple A” which stands for Aspiration, Ambition and Achievement, 3 values which underpin our youth work. The aim of the project is to raise the aspirations of young people, to increase their ambition and to help them to achieve their goals. Through this work, we hope to support and develop young people in fulfilling their dreams and becoming active members of the community. This type of job is so important right now, because you can help, learn and teach different knowledge and contribute to a better world.
To conclude, I would like to encourage others try this experience abroad. It’s a pleasure being here, and I would like to thank the organisers for having given me the honour to participate in this amazing adventure. Finally, one of my favourite quote for reflection: Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
Some of our European Voluntary Service students have also put together a video showcasing what it is like to live and work at YMCA Sutton Coldfield