In the framework of the 2011 European Year of Volunteering and as a member of the EYV 2011 Alliance, the International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO), through its European branch, the European Juvenile Justice Observatory (EJJO), worked on an awareness campaign emphasizing the benefits brought by volunteering to the youth in situation, or at risk, of exclusion.

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This campaign especially stresses the benefits children and young adults get from being involved in voluntary activities, rather than the benefits they could receive from the work of volunteers. It indeed emphasizes how much you learn by doing, and in this case, by being engaged in voluntary activities.

To make its point, the campaign is divided into four sections.

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First, in a section entitled Food for thoughts, the views of experts in the field of volunteering will be presented and will show how being a volunteer can give a youngster a sense of belonging, help him or her develop more social skills and even enhance his or her employability, thus improving his or her chance of staying out of exclusion situation.

In a second part, you will find a series of NGOs providing volunteering to the youth; this section provides you with examples of good practices conducted by four NGOs throughout Europe.

Straight from the horse’s mouth, the third section of the campaign, relies on interviews of main stakeholders such as young volunteers, social workers, national representatives, etc. to stress how the benefits brought by volunteering are being perceived by those who either enjoy or enable them.

Eventually, in the last and fourth part of the campaign, the EJJO will suggest recommendations or steps that could be undertaken in a near future to make sure that volunteering remains salient even after the end of the European Year of Volunteering 2011.