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European Youth Service Day Newsletter No. 2.


Central event

At DIA, we have made it a tradition to - besides the regional programs on EYSD - organize a central event as well. The central event usually takes place in Budapest, and it is always a big hype with a lot of media attention, and of course some kind of volunteer action.
Last year, DIA coordinated a food drive with the help of 15 schools from Budapest. They collected three tons of durable food, together with the Hungarian charity organization Feed the Children and managed to help dozens of large families in need. 
This year, we are planning a running with disabled people, Run in the Light. In this special running competition, pairs are made up from people with visual or other disabilities and volunteers and they run together. This is always a very emotional event, so it takes a lot of planning, especially when preparing the volunteers.
Apart from the specific volunteer action, such an event can be very useful when trying to engage the media. We have had very positive feedback regarding our central events, and that is why we encourage all Country Partners to organize something similar, possibly with the help of the Disney grants.
In Europe, France has been organizing the biggest EYSD events for years now. With seven years of celebrating youth service, and with around 30.000 youth in the last few years, AFEV is the real veteran of EYSD. They started with 5000 youngs participants, and the numbers just encreased from year to year. Now they organize EYSD in around 40 cities all over France, and they involve schools, families, civil and other organization into this celebration. Apart from getting young people to volunteer, they also conduct research every year about how young people see themselves, or how others see them. We talked to Claire Notelaers, AFEV's communication officer, to see her take on the situation of youth and volunteering in France.
"In France, the perception of young people in the society is rather problematic. According to our research in 2010, one French person in two has a bad opinion of young people and most of them think they are not creative (61%), not realistic/lucid (58%), idle and passive (62%), and irresponsible in their behaviour (56%). But they also admit that they find it enriching to be in contact with young people (83%) which could seem contradictory. We at AFEV try to change this perception and transform it into a more realistic one. We believe that by getting more and more young people to volunteer, we will be able to show what they really are, a great resource for the future. For us at AFEV, Global Youth Service Day is like a huge party of solidarity. On this weekend, we celebrate the energy of youth, of which - according to volunteers of AFEV - we have plenty."

Living history class
In this special class, young people visit a group of retired people and listen to them talking about what life was like when they were young. In return, youngsters can talk about their time now, modern technology, the problems they face, etc. These classes bring two groups  together,  that are often isolated. By sharing these stories, a common feeling of cohesion is created, and young people can have a larger perspective on history, as well as their present life.