European Youth Centre (ECM) was founded 22 years ago in anticipation of the day when Poland joins the ranks of other European countries inside the borders of the European Union.
At that point in time its main activity was focused on projects that involved including polish youth into the European community. 7 years after its establishment, just after Poland was finally included into the ranks of the EU, European Youth Centre expanded their attention to not only focus on work with children but also to incorporate their parents who at that time faced serious civic and social changes. The idea was simple: to teach parents how to become true members of the European Union and how to adapt to the new environment of the Unions civic and social policies.
ECM is a non-governmental organization cooperating with and helping educational institutions- especially schools, other non-profit organizations and different informal groups in a range of language activities, curriculum enhancement as well as introduction of new forms of non-formal education, with special emphasis on cultural competences, according to their needs. We are eagerly interested in providing our learners with valuable tools to understand what it is like to live and study in the situation of multicultural society and help them to become more tolerant and aware citizens. We take care of different forms of non-formal education like courses targeted for schools, student exchanges, conferences, workshops, language classes and other events at local and international level. The second branch of our activities, which evolved in recent years, is the organization of training courses for adult migrants (especially parents of children from our partner schools) on topics like: international communicational and cultural competences. These activities are a response for the big influx of migrants, mainly Ukrainians, which started in 2014.
ECM also supports strategic partnerships between Polish and foreign educational institutions in the European Union. Our courses and trainings are always embedded in strong cultural and European context, as from the beginning of existence our aim is to promote the understanding between different cultures, familiarize people with European cultures, European integration and to promote international relations between them and peers from abroad.
ECM has got its own property in Lodz. Thanks to this strategic location in the very center of our country, we are able to and we do, cooperate with 417 polish schools. Our main areas of activities are Lodzkie and Masovian voivodships, which cover over 21 % of schools we cooperate with. These are large communities with almost 8 million inhabitants, among which more than 120.000 are migrants. These partnerships provide us with great access not only to youth, but in recent years of our endeavors, they put us in closer contact with parents of these students. Thanks to this contact we can observe that some of these parents encounter difficulties with basic skills like: communication, language, ICT. 25% of these parents, who reported these issues were immigrants from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.
By 2016 the organization has arranged almost 110 different training courses for Polish and Ukrainian parents focused on their social and sometimes basic skills. The main topic was inclusion and the idea of migration. Overall activity amounts into a grand sum of over 1100 trainees. Training courses took place in schools around Poland.
All together ECM hires and engages:
There is no doubt, that without proper education, which places multicultural competences at the center of its educational activities, and most importantly, without everyday practice towards development of our attitudes, skills and knowledge, indispensable in common understanding, lasting changes will not be possible. All initiatives and activities undertaken by European Youth Centre such as educational projects, students exchanges, adult trainings, teacher trainings develop multicultural competences among our participants.