Alongside the active support and education of youth, Wings of Hope welcomes young professionals to volunteer and become involved in youth work. These are young people who come to teach, to work on specific projects, or who support the foundation through promotional and fundraising work.
Offering young people the chance to volunteer is something that Wings of Hope is proud of. The volunteers gain experience, confidence and a better understanding of the working world. Having international volunteers is also a vital way in which people can gain knowledge of other cultures, practice different languages and to promote co-operation across borders. This foundation is part of the Erasmus + EVS scheme, which enables volunteers from different states across Europe to take part in their chosen charity in a different country. Currently, there are three Erasmus + workers at Wings of Hope, coming from Bulgaria, Italy and Ireland.
Another option for volunteering is the programme Erasmus+. Erasmus+ is the biggest programme of the European Union for Education, Training, Youth, and Sports for the period between 2014 and 2020. Erasmus+ is focused on increasing skills and the employability of the youth in Europe, improvements in education, training and work in the field of youth and sport. Erasmus+ gives young people mobility and opportunities with the objective of learning, gaining new knowledge and developing social skills through different forms of cooperation, training and networking inside and outside of Europe. Erasmus+ is open to young people aged 13 to 30.
Key Action 1 – Learning Mobility of Individuals, Erasmus+ gives young people opportunities to get involved in different activities abroad. These are:
• Youth Exchanges
• European Voluntary Service
• Mobility of Youth Workers
• Large scale European Voluntary Service events
• Networking and Training Activities
• Job Shadowing
Key Action 2 – Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices, youth organisations and organisations for youth can participate in:
• Strategic Partnerships in the field of education, training and youth
• Transnational Youth Initiatives
• Knowledge Alliances
• Sector Skills Alliances
• Capacity Building in the field of higher education
• Capacity Building in the field of youth
Key Action 3 – Support for Policy Reform, there is only one activity:
• Structured Dialogue: meetings between young people and decision-makers in the field of youth
European Voluntary Service (EVS) gives young people opportunity to volunteer abroad up to 12 months in the field they are interested in. Young people interested in EVS can find an organisation where they will volunteer in the database of organisations with EVS accreditation, also a sending organisation from the country they are coming from is needed. Prospective volunteers should be between ages 17 and 30.
EVS activities should be aimed at bringing benefit to the local community in the country in which the EVS programme is being carried out. At the same time it is important for it to have a clear educational goal for the volunteer. In the time of volunteering he or she is entitled to financial compensation, which includes basic living costs and language course(s), the volunteer also has a mentor who helps him or her throughout the EVS experience.
Foundation Wings of Hope received accreditation for hosting and sending EVS volunteers in September of 2013. In the years 2014 and 2015, foundation hosted six (6) volunteers. They all shared their stories about their EVS experiences or will do so in the near future, so that youth from Bosnia and Herzegovina can learn firsthand about this volunteering opportunity. Of course, new volunteers will bring new stories.
On this link you can read about experience of an EVS volunteer Paul Cleary from Ireland.