Material 20.10.2016

Good practice: YAD Street Team – volunteer work online

YAD Street Team is all about drug prevention from youth to youth. Street Team is an internet based form of youth work which main goal is to offer an easy and an interesting way for young people to do voluntary work and drug abuse prevention. It responds to the changes on the field of traditional volunteer work and especially on youth’s attitudes towards drugs. Street Team is a part of YAD Youth Against Drugs – civil association. The focus group of the project is youngsters and young adults from the age 13 to 21.

Intended outcomes of Street Team are to prevent drug abuse, create up-to-date patterns to do drug prevention and develop a functional way to coordinate volunteers. YAD is a non-profit civil association that started out in 1988 as a small civil movement of young people aiming to influence and prevent drug abuse. Young volunteers are the base of the organisation. YAD practises peer group work by the means of drug-education and giving an example of a drug free lifestyle, providing reliable information and simply being around and interacting with young people in different environments.

Street Team projects are YAD ́s ways to develop relevant and up-to-date means to do drug prevention work. The original idea of Street Team has been lent from the music industry (fan club street teams). Street Team projects are about interacting with the young volunteers on Street Team site and on social media. Street Team provides information and materials about drugs and the consequences of drug abuse. Street Team is a game based way to do volunteering the team members can achieve rewards by accomplishing different kind of tasks by spreading information about drug abuse, YAD and Street Team, for example on social media.

Street Team is an open way to execute volunteering, and young people can spend their time and effort as much or little as they want. Young people are able to choose which tasks they are willing to do and when. The materials of the tasks are mostly stickers, flyers and posters. Street Team ́s goal is to make volunteering easy to approach and execute, and at the same time offer reliable information and support for other young people. Street team also wants to promote digital literacy among young people.

Street Team is an environment for “light-activism” and based on the interests of the young volunteers. Street Team volunteers are spreading the information about drug abuse and Street Team all around in Finland for their friends, at their schools, youth centres and public places. We believe that when the information of the consequences of drug abuse is given from youth to youth it has more effectiveness.

Coordination of the Street Team web page and social media channels requires one adult worker working 60 %. The responsibilities of the worker are to organize the materials and tasks for the young volunteers. Adult worker gives needed support for the youths and helps out with the problems they might encounter. The adult worker enables the work of young volunteers and encourages them to participate by respecting their contribution.

Young volunteers actively participate by doing volunteering tasks on the Street Team web page. They also participate in developing process of the project by sharing and executing their own ideas about drug preventing work. Most of the materials of Street Team are designed by the young volunteers. Street Team encourages youth from different kind of backgrounds to do volunteering and drug prevention work and offers a channel to do volunteer work regardless of disabilities. Street Team is also open for former drug users who want to prevent other young people to face the same problems as they have had. Because the interaction is mostly based on the virtual channels and youngsters can do it anonymously it lowers the verge to participate and contributes equality.

Contact: Anne Hämäläinen, anne.hamalainen@yad.fi

Web page: https://streetteam.yad.fi/