14591788_10205715039115815_7089559526880663779_nFLEX alumnus from Montenegro, Stefan Raicevic ’12 (Bar, Montenegro/Parsons, KS), is using what he learned during his exchange year to empower youth in the Balkans through the organization Movement of Cooperation and Development of Youth (MCDY).  Established in 2016, the organization launched its first project in September.  The project ‘Why Youth’ aims to examine why young people feel marginalized in society and use what organizers learned to train and empower youth.

Stefan and the MCDY’s co-founder launched a series of ten workshops for 350 youth in cities across Serbia.  Participants will attended meetings with local representatives and officials, and with young Interactive lessonspeople in Serbia who are making a positive change in their communities.  Additionally, participants will take part in trainings to develop public speaking skills, learn how to create an elevator pitch, learn the basics of human rights and specifically the rights of youth, hone their team work and negotiating skills, and dive into the world of project design and management and proposal writing.  The workshops are funded in part by the FLEX Alumni Grants program and the Resolution Project.

The first of the workshops took place in January at the Stevan Sremac School in Nis, Serbia.  Nineteen young people participated in the first workshop and as a result of the session held four open discussions for 128 youth on community activism and participation.

MCDY alumna Tijana Ivanovic holds an Open Session for nearly 100 youth in her community on environmental protection.

Stefan gave us his take on the initiative, “Kids are ambitious nowadays.  We need to offer youth programs and tools to be involved in changing the world!  Personally, I was lucky enough to have learned these skills through my FLEX experience, on the exchange and as an alumnus! Now, I want to give my best to provide as many young people with these skills and I hope that they will give back to their community once they are ready.”

Bins for cigarette butts were set up in front of five schools as a part of the environment protection open session.