Youth center – Marche-en-Famenne
Looking for one volunteer
Hosting organization: Maison des Jeunes
La Maison des Jeunes (MJ de Marche) / the Youth Center is an association financed by the French Community of Belgium. We work in Marche-en-Famenne, a 17.000 inhabitants’ town which is located in the south of the country. Our mission is to promote youth active citizenship, participation and empowerment. In all our activities (trainings, creative and artistic workshops, outdoors activities and visits, organization of concerts and cultural events) we strive to work on the basis of a “pedagogy of the project.” Through negotiation, preparation, implementation and evaluation of activities, we hope to encourage young people to acquire new skills and support them in developing themselves as persons and citizens.
The young people who come to the youth house are between 12 & 26 years old but most of them are teenagers.
Our youth participates in activities such as artistic workshops (learning an instrument, drawing, theatre, fashion design… www.mjmarche.com/saison), events organization, collective projects and external activities. We try as much as possible to act on the demands of the youngsters.
Support organization: CBB
MJ has welcomed many EVS/ESC volunteers already with the support of the Association des Compagnons Bâtisseurs, aka CBB also located in Marche-en-Famenne where 6 other ESC volunteers are on project in different associations. CBB is a non-profit, non-political youth organization recognized and financially supported by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. The organization proposes different kinds of activities, based on volunteering and non-formal education: local and international workcamps, medium and long term voluntary services (including ESC), and leisure time activities for and with disabled people, campleaders trainings… CBB is active within the different European Programs of volunteering and non-formal education since 1997 and also hosts ESC volunteers each year. CBB’s role as support organization is to:
- Promote the project and link between local and the international networks;
- Support in the selection and preparation of European volunteers before arrival;
- Manage of administrative matters: budget allowances; support in the creation of the bank account and enrolment at the municipality; enrolment in insurance (if not done by sending organization);
- Prepare the activity agreement;
- Provide pedagogical support for the volunteer and the hosting organization: ensures the participation in the NA seminars; organization of auto-evaluation meetings for the volunteer and the hosting organization to reflect on learning outcomes;
- Handle practical arrangements: accommodation; information about health insurance system in Belgium; indications about French lesson possibilities; online language tool;…
- Create networking between all ESC volunteers of the hosting organizations we support.
The volunteer's tasks
The volunteer will have the possibility to participate in all our activities: artistic and sustainability workshops, sports activities, organization of cultural events and free time activities in the youth club. The youth club is open almost every day of the week after school ends, organizes more than 10 musical concerts (hip hop – rock – pop – metal – electro) every year as well as different creative trainings corresponding to the holidays period at school. Different artistic workshops will be organized at the MJ during the year and led by professionals. As part of the team, the volunteer will be allowed to take part in one of those without having to pay the enrolment fee.
The volunteer will be involved in all these activities and will be able to propose their own after school activities.
They will also work sometimes in partnership with other local youth and social organizations (with disabled people helping and supervising them during the cleaning shift and other activities, at the local school welcoming the students and playing with them, with educators, for local volunteering projects…).
Free time at the youth club
On the side of all the said activities, the youth house also allows youngsters to spend time freely in its accommodations. With the help of a staff member, the volunteer will welcome the young people who come there to spend some free time after school. During these moments, the youth house is open to everyone. The young people come to meet each other, play some games (baby-foot, ping-pong board games…), they discuss and so on. Sometimes the volunteer will also help out in the youth houses of the neighbouring towns.
The staff members are available to facilitate the activities and to enhance the youngsters creativity but the youngsters are free to participate or not, as this space is more of a space dedicated to socialization than participation in activities.
The task of the volunteer will be to put their skills and motivations to contribution in order to bring a dynamism to those moments with the youngsters.
We always expect the volunteer to share with us their culture and passions. Volunteers of La Maison de Jeunes are welcome to imagine animations about their country cooking traditions, habits, language and so on.
At any time, the volunteer will have the possibility (we recommend it) to implement personal projects according to their skills, passions and/or culture.
We will really appreciate volunteer’s initiatives and proposals!!!
IMPORTANT: We have a very flexible job. We do not have a fixed and determined schedule and we organize our activities according to our young public necessities and free time. Sometimes, on weekends, in the frame of events and concerts, the volunteer will work very late at night! On the other hand during the week, especially in winter time, the volunteer will devote a big part of their time mainly to welcome the youngsters who come to the Maison de Jeunes after school, spend time with them, prepare the food, play games, manage the workshops… It is strongly advised for the ESC volunteer to appreciate hanging out with teenagers and to have the will to offer activities to do. Of course, sometimes the youngsters will just want to “do nothing” and then the role of the volunteer is to create a social link with them. During the summer period: the volunteer will support the team with weeks of animation around specific themes (ex: graffiti, video workshop, music workshop, artistic week, …) and take part in events organization.
Summary of your potential tasks:
- Being capable of finding ways to socialize with youngsters during free time.
- Assistance of external animators during creative and sustainability workshops (ex: cooking; taking care of the small vegetable garden)
- Thinking of new animations according to your skills and passions and sharing them with the youngsters.
- Putting into practice and manage your personal project.
- Supporting logistics during events (bartending, stage logistics, welcoming artists, photography, promotion… mjmarche.com/station-event)
- Communication on social media: FB and instagram
- Equipment setting before any workshop.
- Taking part in collective meetings (mjmarche.com/les-projets).
- Accompanying the youngsters in external and/or residential activities.
- Accommodations cleaning and infrastructure.
- Being able to work with people with disabilities.
- Administrative work (data encoding, answering the phone if comfortable with French…)
Those are common tasks at the youth house but it is important to keep in mind that we work as a team and we are always open to suggestions and looking for skills to add to the team. That means that we will not prevent you from taking on new responsibilities if you feel up to it!
Collective activities with other ESC volunteers
The European Solidary Corps volunteering activities within Compagnons Bâtisseurs is part of an ESC group project that aims to increase European awareness among youth in the town of Marche-en-Famenne and to maintain a close collaboration among the local youth services. For that reason, some activities will be run with other ESC volunteers (hosted by other local youth organizations). It will be asked to all the ESC volunteers in Marche-en-Famenne and from near towns around to regularly join collective activities as co-animator or participants of CBB activities like environmental volunteering days and weekend and summer workcamps. The volunteers will work together especially during special events organized once a year in Marche-en-Famenne: intergenerational events, youth services opening day…. The volunteers will help to prepare and follow-up these events. In some occasions, they could hold an information stand presenting ESC program and youth exchange opportunities. They could organize a “European night” in the local youth house and to present therefore their country and traditions.
Accommodation in Marche-en-Famenne
Compagnons Bâtisseurs asbl presents the opportunity to develop a lot of international exchanges and to be located in a small town in the French speaking part of Belgium. From our office, by the square of Marche-en-Famenne, a 17 000 inhabitants town of the Belgian province of Luxembourg, we organize projects all over the French Community of Belgium (Brussels and Wallonia) and maintain close partnerships with non-profit organizations from all over the world. This unique situation will allow the volunteer to share the semi-rural life style of the area, but also to meet young people from different places of the country as well as to be in contact with people from the other side of the world.
During their ESC volunteering activity, the volunteer will live and mostly work in Marche-en-Famenne. The town offers all modern facilities (shops, supermarkets, sport centre, cinema).
For the urban-life-style-lovers, it is however IMPORTANT to know that our town is located in a semi-rural area. Even if it is not far away from the biggest Belgian cities (57 km from Liège, 106 km from Brussels, 47 km from Namur) and well connected by train, Marche-en-Famenne can sometimes look remote and very quiet.
The country - BELGIUM
Squeezed between the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France, Belgium is one of Europe’s tiddlers.
The north is flat, the south dominated by the picturesque Ardennes and the 65km North Sea coastline monopolized by resorts, except for a few patches of windswept dunes. The 4 seasons are well divided, cold and white winter and warm and sunny summer… But be ready for grey skies for at least a half part of the year.
But the Belgian population are usually warm. A lot of cultural and free EVENT in the street happen during the year, which brings your journey in this little country fun and resourceful.
This project will be taking part in the south of the country which is French speaking. Be therefore ready to learn and speak French! Especially in this project involving kids.
- Specialities : FRIES, BEERS and FESTIVALS
- AREA: 30,518 sq km
- POPULATION: 11.492.641 million
- CAPITAL: Brussels (pop: 1.212.352)
- REGIONS: Flanders (North), Wallonia (South), Brussels – Capital
- COMMUNITIES: Flemish-, French- and German-speaking community
- LANGUAGE: Dutch (±59%), French (±37%) and German (±1%)
- CURRENCY: Euro
Working hours will be very flexible (often evenings and weekends). Days off will compensate for the extra shift hours if necessary to keep an average of 30 hours a week. That means that some weeks will be heavier than that and some others will be lighter.
You will live in a house that will be shared with 6 other volunteers. It is located in the centre of Marche-en-Famenne and has all the modern facilities.
You will receive a budget and will prepare your own meals.
Participation in the European Solidarity Corps is free of charge, except for exceptional contribution to travel costs. You will therefore receive free board and lodging during the whole activity. In addition, you will receive pocket money for personal expenses throughout the duration of the activity, including holidays.
You get covered, throughout the activity period, by the obligatory European Solidarity Corps insurance plan (Henner) that the European Commission sets up. This coverage is only complementary to the mandatory coverage of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which you must obtain prior to departure.
In certain cases, when national rules deprive participants from coverage under EHIC for the duration of the placement, Henner will provide full coverage. However, you must provide proof that obtaining the EHIC in your case was not possible. You should contact your National Agency for advice on your specific circumstances. You must read carefully the insurance-related information here.
EU Academy + French lesson. We provide an online language course as part of the budget from the Commission. You will need to complete a level test before the activity starts. We encourage you to join free French lessons given in the municipality or around if possible. We recommend that the participant starts practicing French prior to their arrival in Belgium and that they participate in as many activities as possible in order to get better at the language.
Profile of the volunteer
- Aged 18-30 years old
- Prior to departure, the volunteer should be in contact with a support (sending) organization in order to receive information and preparation. Lookup for a support organization in your region via this link
- Our project is open to anybody motivated by volunteering and who wishes to be involved in our organization and working in the field of youth work, regardless of their nationality, religion, believes, diploma, professional experience;
- The volunteer will have to provide a certificate of good conduct (CGC) related to the work with disabled people;
- It is advised that the volunteer have some basic knowledge of FRENCH or a strong motivation to learn it as the team and the teenagers do not speak foreign languages;
- Thanks to this volunteering experience, the volunteer can really expect to acquire or improve many different skills (communication, adaptation, plan making, organization, French, interpersonal and social skills), to be part of a very friendly team and to be part of a local as well as the international community. In parallel, we think that to get the most of this project, the volunteer is expected to be:
- At ease with TEENAGERS;
- In tune with the informal education principles;
- Flexible with working schedule (evenings and weekends) and polyvalent;
- Ready to build an atmosphere of confidence and complicity with the public;
- Ready to involve itself in the several tasks we carry out;
- Able to work in a team;
- Be interested in art, creativity and music and be ready to bring new ideas, new energy and enthusiasm.
Anna, volunteer at MJ in 2023
My name is Anna, and I’m currently volunteering at the Maison de Juenes (MJ)! I’m really happy that I decided to come and volunteer at the youth house of Marche-en-Famenne. Why? Well…
I have the most outstanding colleges – the first week I came, they already took me in the circle, and I didn’t feel like an outsider. They are funny, respectful, always up to new ideas , and never say no if I need a hand. They are my friends, and they will surely be your friends too.
The youngsters who come here are all unique in their way. I find it nice that they have a safe place to be themselves and have a great time developing their talents or just come together and play a board game, table football or video games with us.
I love that I can always come up with new proposals for projects or how to develop the MJ image. The team is letting me be creative and do my own thing. I believe the best workplace is where it doesn’t feel like work at all. And that feeling I have here in the MJ.
And my housemates? They are the best. It’s my Belgium family, and I love them from my heart. I couldn’t imagine doing this project without them, and I already know that some of the friendships I got for life.
Laura, volunteer at MJ in 2021
I’m Laura, the current volunteer from Maison de Jeunes in Marche en Famenne!
Are you searching for a volunteer project? With young and where you can have fun? This is your place!
In Maison de Jeunes, we make a really huge variety of projects, where you can learn, starting from: gardening activities, creative and artistic projects, concerts, music, cooking, and more many activities.
During the weeks we have a place where young people can come and play board games, play station, kicker, billiard, etc. And you, as a volunteer, you can share these moments with them! Also, there is some music, theater, drawing, sewing… courses.
During Wednesday and Saturday, mostly, we have trips or special activities: sport, laser game, cinema, karting, and all what you can imagine.
The co-workers create a really good work mood, helping with all what you need and sharing with you the most interesting anecdotes.
This volunteering place is perfect for people who want to discover, try new things and abilities and most of all learn while having fun.
Xhoana, volunteer at MJ in 2019
Hello everyone! My name is Xhoana Arriku and I was a 27 yo Italian, with Albanian origins, ESC volunteer. I started my one-year long volunteering project in March 2019, when I first arrived in the small Belgian village of Marche en Famenne. It was not my first experience of living abroad, however, it is the one that made me have an important personal growth.
In Marche I lived in a house with six other volunteers who I had the chance to consider my second family rather than just my flatmates. In fact, although I had my privacy by having a room just for my own, the most memorable times I spent in the house were the ones including our dinner, raclettes, board games or just having “a verre” all together.
My project was at the Youth House (Maison de Jeunes): this organization’s main purpose is to provide activities (music instruments, singing, drawing, sewing classes and a lot more) for youngsters. Summer is the most intensive and funny period for the MJ because each week there is a different “stage” organized to enjoy teenagers. As a volunteer in the beginning my task was to help other animators on carrying out the activities which were already planned; I can say that during the first part my main activity was the “accueil” which means welcoming and entertaining youngsters who come to the MJ after finishing school day. The main difficulty that I found, in the beginning, was handling the free time I had before the teenagers arriving, although that can sometimes push you to propose new activities and projects in order to fill up the time; this is what I’ve done by starting my own Italian class. Trust me when I say that having by your side a young and dynamic team, which is always ready to help you and support your ideas, will make it possible.
To the next volunteer I can only suggest coming and enjoying this experience at its maximum: never being afraid to propose new ideas that suit his/her interests (you can be sure that they will be more than welcomed)!
Alejandro, volunteer at MJ in 2018
– Your name and age: Alejandro Alonso Llopis, 26 (24 at that time)
– Your country of origin: Spain
– When you volunteered: From 1st of March 2018 to 28 of February of 2019
– Where you volunteered: I lived in Marche-en-famenne, at Chaussée de Marenne, in a really big nice house. We were 5 most of the time, until October, when a new volunteer arrived and stayed with us until the end of our Project. They were great and wonderful people, and we are still in touch.
The house was perfect, plenty of space for each one of us, all modern commodities, I don’t have any complain about it.
Marche is a little, beautiful town, but is a pretty nice place to live. You have everything you need (unless you look for partying all night hahaha). It’s well connected with the bigger cities of Namur and Liege, and all the villages in between. So it’s not difficult to move if you want to spend the weekend visiting other places in Belgium.
– Your organization (briefly): I volunteered at the Maison de Jeunes de Marche-en-Famenne. It’s an organization located at the ancient train station (but they have other places in villages around Marche). The MJ is a place where the youngsters of the region can go and spend some time playing with other youngsters or/and with us, the entertainers (“Animateurs”). The MJ organises some ateliers for them like musical instrument lessons, art lessons, sewing lessons, etc. Each Wednesday we went to the other locations and we did a previously planned activity based on -more or less- the same things: art, photo, table games, stop motion…
In summer they organise excursions to museums, amusement parks, other cities, etc.
In summary, their goal is to provide something useful to do to the young people of Marche so they can know each other and have fun and improve themselves.
– Description of your job: As “Animateur” my job (as everyone else) was to prepare the ateliers of the afternoon, and once that was done, I stayed there to talk or play with the youngsters who arrived. As I said, Wednesdays I went with another animateur to the places they have at other villages and we spent the afternoon there doing the activity that we prepared in advance, with the kids of the village who came.
Weekends were off, usually (unless there was a concert or something extraordinary, but in that case, you will have an additional free day). So I spent that time hanging out with flatmates, colleagues, travelling around, etc.
At the MJ, you work together, so you are never alone. Usually in pairs, at the beginning I worked with Pierre or Simone cause my French was non-existent and they could speak English, once I could speak a little bit of French I started to work with the others. So in the end, I think I spent equal time with everyone.
– Why did you choose the project:
I volunteered because after finishing my studies I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t want to start a job and be trapped in a routine.
I always wanted to go abroad so I looked for an opportunity to do that and I found EVS (now ESC).
I found this project and I loved it, I already had experience in the field because in Spain I did something related and I liked it very much. In conclusion, working at a Youth centre was perfect for me and I could learn French too, that was another important thing.
– Positive (and negative) things: Everything was positive, I did not have any problem. Everyone was always kind to me, and I loved what I did.
– Some advice for future volunteers:
My advice is to be openminded. Spend time with your colleagues and flatmates because time goes fast and then you’re going to miss them.
Don’t worry about anything. The job is great and you will have wonderful colleagues to help you and to hang out. You will have plenty of free time to travel, to go to concerts, friends, hobbies…
And don’t eat a “mitraillete” before a rollercoaster ride.
How to apply ?
Deadline: 10th October at 11:59 p.m. (brussels time).
1. In the frame of the new program of the European Commission, the European Solidarity Corps, you need to create a profile on the new database: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity_en (“JOIN THE CORPS”).
2. Answer the questionnaire below (NB: you will be asked to attach a CV at the end of the form)
3. (optional) if you’re feeling creative, please feel free to send us any additional material related to your application: email@example.com
The creation of a profile on the ESC portal AND fulfilling the form are compulsory for us to take your application into consideration.
In the days following your application, the pre-selected volunteers will be contacted for a Zoom interview.