Youth work – empowering the changemakers of tomorrow

Super Youth Worker
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Alles Kan

Jeugddienst Stad Gent

Botermarkt 1, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Participation of young people in activities (planning, preparing, carrying out, etc.)
  • Non-formal education/-learning
  • Arts and culture

A practice of processes and methods

Alles Kan is a grant to which any youngster in Ghent can apply from the age of 14 until 30. They can apply for a max. amount of 3000 euro to execute their own project. The only requirement is that the project has to be organized by youngsters for youngsters and it has to happen in their free time. Through Alles Kan we stimulate experiment by giving youngsters in our city the freedom and the means to develop and execute their own projects, whether that’s an visual arts expo, a short movie, a DJ contest, a sports event or something that’s a mix between all those kind of things. Which is why the grant is called Alles Kan, meaning “Everything is possible”.

We want Alles Kan to be a learning opportunity and a space to experiment, which is why we don’t only offer grant money but also coaching. We have 2 Alles Kan consultants that guide the youngster who’s applying .They give advice, help them to connect to other agents in the field and offer support throughout the execution of their project. The project itself, however, is always in the hands of the individual youngster since they have the ownership. You don’t have to be part of a youth organization or a school to be able to apply. We see that a lot of youth in Ghent form their own – often short-term – collectives outside the realm of organized youth work and Alles Kan gives them the opportunity to organize the events, workshops or other activities as they want to see them happen.

If someone’s interested in applying, they can fill in the application that they’ll find on our website and hand it in right away. Or they can first do a “Check your idea”, which is a meeting where they come by so we can talk it through first. The Alles Kan applications are being read and judged monthly by an advisory committee. Membership of the committee is on volunteer-basis and consists of a diverse group of 15-20 people coming from different aspects of the youth, cultural or sports sector in the city. They not only verify whether an application meets the grant regulations, but also use their experience to give advice on how to make the project a success.

After the Alles Kan project is executed we ask the applicant to write a small evaluation form that tells us how the event went and what they learned in the process. The same project can apply max. 3 times for this grant. Each time they re-apply they have to be able to show that there’s some aspect of growth in the project. After the third application we guide them through other subsidy channels in our city.

  • Effects on the youngsters themselves: they develop organizational skills, build soft skills, learn how to work together, broaden their network,…
  • Effect on the city: since Alles Kan nurtures experiment this brings a stimulus to the creative scene, cultural sector and social networks of our city creating new ideas and cooperations.
    Even though longetivity is not a requirement, we see that a significant amount of projects “mature” into long-term projects, yearly recurring festivals, new forms of youth work, etc.

Core principles of youth work