Project “YOUth Ambassadors of Non-Formal Learning”
Interviewer: Association for Developing Voluntary Work Novo mesto
Interviewee: Sabina Pirc, future youth worker
List of questions for the Interview:
- To begin with, can you tell us something about yourself?
I am a hip-hop / breakdance dancer and dance pedagogue for preschool children at the Dance Center of Dolenjska. Hip hop culture and with it all its elements became a part of my life as a child. I did many sports in elementary school, and at the beginning of high school, I enrolled in dance school. I started with hip hop, a year later also breakdancing, but due to lack of money I had to opt for only one genre and chose breakdance, which I still dedicate myself to today. I have a degree in preschool education, but lately I am more inclined to work with young people. As an animator, educator and mentor, I have been involved in quite a few youth holidays and camps in cooperation with the Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth (ZPM), the Red Cross, Sonček – Cerebral Palsy Association of Slovenia, the Association of Friends of Youth Mojca, etc. Since I am still looking for my first job, I spend a lot of time on non-formal education, as I always like to learn something new and interesting. In my free time, I like to create, draw, paint, paint, dance, have fun, travel, read, meditate, hang out, “skate”, and listen to music …
- How did you decide to train as a youth worker?
Several times, I had a group of teenagers, teenagers in camps and holidays. I always built a strong bond of trust and relaxation with them. I try to understand them and not judge them in any way. A friend noticed a call for education for youth workers, sent it to me and said that it was written for me. I found the program interesting and immediately found myself involved. Not only did I know that we would get a lot of guidance for working with young people, which always proves useful, but also a lot for my personal growth, since I am young too (laughs).With such a fast pace of life, any information about working with young people is useful, because you really need a wide range of knowledge in youth work. In such a profession, you have to be an educator as well as a psychologist, organizer, sportsman, artist, doctor, mother, father, friend and more.
- Have you ever participated in non-formal education? If yes, what kind of?
I have already participated in many non-formal educational trainings; it started already in primary school. So far, quite a few have accumulated. Over the years, you really gain quite a few non-formal educations. Mine are: sports club, athletics, basketball, volleyball (TPV Volley Novo mesto), religious education, dance exercises (PSNM and PCD), Red Cross motivation days for animators, education of ZPM educators, Screen printmaking (Berkeley Art Studio, USA), Business classes City College, USA), English class (San Francisco City College, USA), Website developer (MicroTeam), Successful application and project implementation (MicroTeam), Online courses of Adobe programs MojeZnanje.si (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign), DJ gym (UP).
- In which non-formal education organizations have you participated?
Dance Center of Dolenjska (PCD) is a dance society in which I also teach our youngest dancers. It offers a wide range of different dance genres: hip-hop, breakdance, Latin American dances, belly dancing. It is intended for all age groups, socializing, relaxation … Occasionally they also organize dance trips and other social dance events. – PSNM (Dance Studio Novo mesto) can be similarly attributedThe Red Cross (RK) and the Slovenian Association of Friends of Youth (ZPM) are humanitarian organizations that help socially disadvantaged families and individuals. They also care for and help vulnerable groups. They organize holidays at Debeli rtič, Villa Šumica for children and adolescents, various work campaigns, training of first aid and educators, various educations, distribute and collect food and clothes for socially endangered individuals and families, often participate in events (ZPM is more active) …MicroTeam offers various trainings for individuals and companies. He cooperates with the Employment Service, where I also found out about this training and was invited to it.MojeZnanje.si is a Slovenian online form of non-formal education, offering a wide range of courses that you can view whenever you want. It is interesting, instructive and quickly accessible. This way you can schedule your training according to your free time.The GOR association is a sports and cultural association that advocates hip-hop culture in Slovenia. It is supported by various artists, DJs, dancers, graffiti artists, rappers, creators … The association organizes various hip-hop events, workshops and courses aimed at the development of hip-hop in Slovenia and around the world. They have their premises in the so-called ULCA (Ljubljana), they cooperate with various youth organizations, several times with the BOB Institute, which is their leading ally. They help and participate in various events and exchanges.Berkeley Art Studio operates as a stand-alone art studio under the auspices of Berkley University in the US, so it is also on their campus. Artists run the studio and the courses that take place in it from different disciplines. The courses are intended for their students as well as external individuals outside the university. They offer courses in photography, screen-printing, linocut, graphic design, freehand drawing, pottery…San Francisco City College is one of the most famous colleges in California. Every year they prepare quite a few non-formal trainings, which can be attended by every citizen of USA or foreigners holding a visa. The courses are free and intended for different age groups, there are no restrictions. They offer English, cooking, fashion, design, writing courses …
- Why did you choose non-formal education in the first place?
Because I longed for sports and creative activities for most of my schooling, I sought knowledge in non-formal educations that offered it all. At the same time, because I wanted to belong to such groups.
- Have you gained anything other than knowledge by participating in such trainings?
Above all, I have gained a lot on my personal growth to be who I am today. Social, positive, healthy, persistent, resourceful, communicative, intelligent… Through non-formal education, I also met many interesting people, organizations, made friends, and personal ties that still hold true today. The NFE can really give you a lot, the very things we miss so much in our school system. The NFE subconsciously teaches you solidarity, tolerance, cooperation, teamwork, empathy, and being who you are.
- Do you think that young people use all of the given opportunities for additional, non-formal education in Slovenia? Why do you think they do not?
Not as much as they could. This is influenced by several factors. From a financial point of view, many non-formal educations are paid; so many young people cannot afford such educations. What I notice most, however, is the problem that young people are not aware of the variety of non-formal education and programs for young people, or are presented in an uninteresting way. Most of them do not even know what all certain informal organizations have to offer.
- What do you think would attract young people to attend non-formal learning more often?
Youth workers and teams that would bring young people closer to and present non-formal education in schools or at various events in a fun way, thus providing a safe and relaxed environment in which young people could become involved. Maybe more organized entertainment events for young people, through which young people would get to know each other better and experience as many informal educations in one place. In today's times of technological progress, there should be a fun website for non-formal education for young people, which would bring together all organizations, associations, institutions … and their programs for young people.
- Do you already have plans for which of the non-formal trainings you will attend after completing the training for a youth worker?
In addition to training for a youth worker, I am also involved in a series of professional trainings beyond the cultural model. However, I also found one foreign website that offers a wide range of online courses in all possible areas, so I will definitely choose one of them as well.
- To conclude: what would you say to young people about non-formal learning?
I would tell young people to get involved in all possible non-formal education because they open the door to the world and discover the talents in us. Non-formal learning is really, really COOL. Let young people try, explore as much as possible and never hesitate to make a decision. He always makes a brave decision and follows his wishes.