Interview: YouthBank to be present in 20 Romanian communities by 2020

After a successful 2014 with many projects amongst which the most well-known one benefited from Orange involvement, YouthBank Romania gets ready for a new year full of challenges for its members. Raluca Tripa, Communication Coordinator with YouthBank Romania told The Romania Journal more about the program, its pros, plans and means of promotion.  

What is YB in just a few lines and how does it help the youngsters apart from keeping them away from dangerous temptations and offering them the possibility to spend their spare time in a safe way?

YouthBank is a non-formal educational program for high school students. YouthBank creates a frame for the youngsters to get involved in the community, acting responsible and developing leadership skills.

Each year in all of 15 towns where the program is implemented, a local team of in average 15 members raises funds from the community and awards grants for projects initiated and implemented by other high school students.

For the YouthBank members this program helps them in their personal development. They learn how to communicate, how to organize events, how to understand a budget, how to select projects and… many other “hows”. YouthBank it’s about “learning by doing”, that’s the magic of it. You can make mistakes, learn from it at a very young age, not when you have a job. Also, YouthBank experience counts if you want to study aboard. A lot of our Alumni YouthBankers are studying in international universities and they told us that this experience helped them in their application.

For high school students who apply for YouthBank grants this is an opportunity to learn how to write and manage a project, skills which will help them in their personal development.


Since 2006 when first implemented in Romania, the program had a progressive expansion at national level reaching at the moment 15 communities. Which are the new towns joining the network in 2015-2016 school year? How do you envisage the YB network in the future, is it a target to be present in each and every town across the country?

For 2015-2016 we have a lot of requests from local organizations around the country, but so far we haven’t selected a new town. We are planning that by 2020 to have 20 communities where YouthBank to be implemented. Yes, the ideal is to have a YouthBank in each town, in order to increase our impact. But, we believe in an organic growth, and this process is a long-term one and is influenced by many factors, such as local organizations’ interest, high school students’ interest, local resources etc.


Who can become involved in the local YB teams and can you please mention the most renowned YB projects in Romania?

Every high school student can be a YouthBanker. He or she has only to be motivated and willing to do something for his/her community and to put his/her free time into this.

I cannot make a top of the most renowned YB events or funded projects in Romania. Each town is different and special in its way.

For example YouthBank Sibiu in 2014 organized The Experiences Auction and managed to raise over 8.200 RON (almost 2.000 Euro) from just one event. Also, in 2013 YouthBank Bucharest organized a basketball competition with high school students and well-known journalists (Mircea Badea and Victor Ciutacu) and managed to raise 18.875 RON (almost 4.200 Euro).

Regarding the projects funded by YouthBanks, for example YouthBank Bucharest financed an Urban Treasure Hunt in 2013 which had a great impact on high school students. For the past 3 years, YouthBank Cluj awards grants for Ghibstock (a high school festival taking place in the yard of the Onisifor Ghibu High School from Cluj-Napoca, with a lot of activities: concerts, sport competitions, climbing on artificial walls etc).

So each town is different, and has its own great projects funded by local YouthBanks.


What activities are included in the program and how are they helping the youngsters in their development? What is done for raising the program’s awareness at local level?

The two big parts of the program are: fundraising and grantmaking (or offering grants). To be able to do this, the YouthBankers (members of YouthBank) participate at fundraising (October-November) and grantmaking (February) trainings held by specialists. After that, in a brainstorming session, they select which fundraising mechanisms to implement in order to raise this money. From November till February they are organizing fundraising events: charitable parties, auctions, workshops, fashion shows, sport competitions etc. After they raised the YouthBank Fund, they make a call for projects. In March YouthBankers are selecting the projects initiated by high school students. And from March until June the members supervise the implementation of the project which received their money.

So the YouthBankers learn to make decisions, to communicate, to understand budgets, to organize an event, to socialize, to understand how this world actually works. Also, they meet new people from businessmen to regular high school students with great ideas, learning to be leaders, to care for their community and to be part of the change.

In each town the YouthBank program is promoted in high schools, with the help of the County School Inspectorate. A good way for raising awareness locally is through our fundraising events organized by our YouthBankers and through community marketing actions. For example in Cluj and Sibiu we have YouthBank coffee. It can be taken in a local coffee shop. In Cluj if you order two YouthBank coffees, the price for one is donated to YouthBank Cluj Fund, in Sibiu if you order a YouthBank coffee on Thursday, 2 RON goes to YouthBank Sibiu Fund.


Orange has recently recycled over 1.100 phones and mobile accessories for YouthBank, having donated 3 euro for each phone and mobile device recycled. How will the money be spent by YB?

The money raised from the Orange campaign will finance projects from 3 towns: Bucharest, Tîrgu-Mure? and Reghin. We selected these towns because here the YouthBank members were the most involved in the Orange campaign.


What other volunteering activities is YouthBank going to organize in 2015?

Starting 2015, YouthBank will be part of a new foundation: the Foundation for Youth Involvement. This foundation will start to develop other programs for youngsters, different from YouthBank. Keep you in touch with our plans!


application international universitiesleadershipmobile phones recycledorange campaignpersonal developmentproject managementraluca tripa youthbank communication coordinatoryouthbank netwrok romaniayouthbank non-formal education program high school students
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