Espacio Joven de Maracena is the Spanish Youth center of Maracena. A brilliant neighborhood in the outskirts of Granada. It is at the crossroads where Arabs and Christians met back in time and gave birth to this exciting city. Located in the south of Spain, Granada marks its way together with its youth that gather and make their city move in the rhythms of youth voice, local initiatives and European citizenship.
This youth center proves to be unique not only because of the fancy building and the wonderful landscape that it is located in, but mainly due to its ‘youth-in-action’ spirit and their wonderful projects. Granada owes its fame and reputation to a bunch of different angles. The Alhambra palace, the food culture of tapas and its student never-ending-party lifestyle are just few among the wonderful things-to-do that shape this unique identity. A key role is played by the famous Moorish bustling districts along with the three impressive rivers crossing Granada. However, the heart of Granada beats in the youth center where youngsters meet and share their passion for creative and cultural activities. Either through non-formal education, extracurricular workshops or trainings, people that run Espacio Joven develop a series of intercultural and interactive actions.
“In my opinion, the key of the success in the youth centre and what makes it unique is the relation between workers and between workers and youngsters. It is a strong relationship based on friendship and trust, where everyone is important and necessary for the whole centre. Being part of the youth centre is being part of a family and as a result, everybody puts the maximum effort in each activity.” Carmen Vilchez, youth worker Espacio Joven
It all started in 2013 when ‘Espacio Joven’ got involved in the ERASMUS+ umbrella. This is one of the most important strands of the European Commission that funds and supports all kinds of formal and non-formal education related programs all across the European territory. Within this facility all young members of the local community have the possibility to get involved in cultural and educational activities that run in the afternoon outside the school environment. The target group of this youth spot is between 4 and 30 years old. They get involved in cooking or music classes, arts and crafts workshops as well as cultural visits to the many hotspots of Granada and its provinces. Apart from the Alhambra Moorish palace, every now and then Espacio Joven members visit Arab neighborhoods and parks, the botanical garden, various museums of the city or even wonderful natural sceneries in the near famous mountain of Sierra Nevada.
Granada’s youth voice is expressed though all these ways and represents the meeting place of youth participation, active citizenship and social integration. Young people get to know core values of citizen and European rights and learn how to travel in Europe through fully funded ERASMUS+ programs. With more than 20 European exchanges and youth volunteering programs with other European countries ‘Espacio Joven’ youth members absolutely embrace the European social aspect and broaden their horizons.
By participating in the ERASMUS+ framework Granada has managed to instill in its youth European principles and has involved them in innovative and inspiring initiatives. The past 4 years the director of the center Juan Diaz Garcia together with other European members have built partnerships that host volunteering projects called European Voluntary Service.
This is an amazing opportunity for people between 17 and 30 years old to visit and work on voluntary basis at ‘Espacio Joven’ for a period between 2 and 12 months. European volunteers from various disciplines are more than welcome to contribute to Espacio Joven’s daily cultural, social and educational activities. After they have completed this wonderful experience they will have gained a lot of language, communication, cultural, organizational and other skills and of course the chance to live in such an outstanding Spanish city.