European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

Safe and Healthy Place for Young People

If you are one of those, who always analyse themselves, grumble about past, do not look much into future and are chronically discontented about presence; if you trouble that you are “not involved”, keep your eyes on these lines and read on.

Do you feel like you don’t belong anywhere? You don’t have any parental support in joining a hobby group? Neither you have played the piano nor fitted into any football team in your class? Do you spend most of your time at home sitting at a computer? Although your friends ask you to go out with them, you are still not interested in doing so? You are not used to speak in public? You don’t have extra money for entrance fees and feel like you don’t need to learn new things? It seems like you prefer a passive way of spending leisure time at home.


Do you feel better within a group of your friends and always look for new experiences and adventures? Do you feel like going into new things and it seems that people around you are too boring? Do you prefer to spend your leisure time going out rather than staying at home? Do you like spending your leisure time on the streets instead of various clubs that remind you of duties towards your parents or school?


No one can wonder why you are fed up with home or school. In this type of environment you have to deal with challenging situations on a daily basis. Many of your friends have to face problems with teachers at school. Other friends share stories of conflict situations experienced in their families with you. You can see violence on television, but also quite often among your friends and relatives. There is no reason to believe that an organization could create healthier conditions for you.


Welcome among 80% of the young people who are not united within any organization. Among people having experienced difficult life situations related to their adolescence, school, family including conflicts with peers, law and various addictions (drugs, alcohol...). Among those who think that they are self-reliant or dependent only on their own friends’ help.


The present days’ paradox is that although there is a wider and more diverse range of activities you can choose from, in fact you have limited options. There are many organizations that try to fill your leisure time with meaningful activities. Some of them support physical health (such as sport clubs, fitness centres, and gyms) and intellectual health. The others try to prevent creation of sociopathic behaviour and solve young people’s problems (related to education, health, relations, finance.....).


The way to these centres may be lead through obstacles. It starts with your disinterest, through financial difficulties and your fear of what expectations people will have and at the end if you fit in there. Sometimes it is easier to smoke marijuana and not to care. What if your mission in this world is much more important than just sitting at your computer and hiding from the world and from its problems?


There are people who can understand what you feel. Or, at least, they try to understand what you are going through. They usually visit you at home or meet your friends at neighbourhood. Though, they are not “cosmic people” but social workers from low-threshold centres. They focus on work with children and youth who do not seek or have insufficient access to various training or leisure time activities. They feel good in the environment where you enjoy being the most.  They try to cooperate with you in creating interesting programmes. They want to be at hand in case you feel threatened in some way. The advantage is that you don’t need to register entering the centre, you don’t have to pay any fees, you are not judged on what your nationality, religion, sex or subculture (punk, rap......) is. They do not condemn you for having experience with drugs but try to understand you. Centre is the place where you can do what you enjoy doing the most – playing soccer, listening to music, meeting your friends. Every young person has a dream. Maybe you have always wanted to be a member of a football team but never have had enough trust in yourself. Social workers will try to support your desires and look for a way to help you with joining any sport club. Being a member of the centre, you are only required to follow the rules, which will ensure your safety. You are not allowed to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, use drugs or cause any violence in the centre. Following this, you can always feel safe. A similar activity can be encountered in the town of Trnava:


It is good news that the number of low-threshold centres is still increasing in Slovakia. The bad news is that they cannot meet the interests of all young people. If you haven’t found any low-threshold centre in your area yet, visit the website: Feel free to ask people in your area about the centres. Be sure, there are competent people trying to offer you a helping hand and advice. Let them know!


Information source:


Author: Mgr. Juraj Štofej, PhD.

Published: Tue, 23/07/2013 - 09:53

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Info for young people in the western balkans

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