Innovation in youth work

Approximately two-thirds of young people will have been exposed to a traumatic event by the time they turn 16. Experiencing a traumatic event can potentially affect both their current and future mental health. 

Unfortunately, traumas are experienced in different forms, domestic violence, loss of a family member, illness within close family members, separation, and divorce of parents among other things. Trauma, therefore, occurs when a young person witnesses or experiences overwhelming negative experiences. One of the more daunting aspects when working with young people who have faced trauma is that the sensory information and experiences related to the traumatic memory do not dissipate as time goes on; in fact, the trauma continues to be re-experienced. 

All three participating organizations have shared these views and decided to pool their respective expertise and experts to create SPARK; a project that will be using forms of arts-based methods to create a space where young people dealing with trauma can express themselves using alternative forms of communication.


In this project three different forms of arts expression will be used, drama, art and music (somatic). The participant organisations, based on similar needs-analysis drew up three main objectives that would like to reach through this project:

  1. To create new methods through which the young people receiving the service from the partner organizations will benefit from. All the young people who receive support from the partner organizations are considered as vulnerable due to the difficult events experienced in their lives. The young people without proper support and space where they can express themselves might lead a life with uncertainties,
  1. Through the use of arts, enable young people to use tactile materials to create symbols and images, bypassing the need for verbal language, and allowing for a better understanding of their emotions through the development of a visual vocabulary,
  1. Through the arts therapy tools learnt through this project, key workers will acquire the ability to help young people heal from trauma in ways that words alone cannot.

At least 21 youth workers/ leaders and 60 young people between the ages of 13- 16 with fewer opportunities will be involved in the 5 phases of the project which includes 3 are the training activities as they will enable the youth workers/ leaders through purposely designed sessions and workshops using non-formal methods of education help young people choose their preferred method of expression, acquire new tools to work better with young people and create new integrated methodologies based on art, drama and music which will result in 144 new tools. 

The training activities will also be the spur that will allow us to achieve our targets in the intellectual outputs, that is, the creation of drama, art and music based sessions as well as the compilation of this sessions in a toolkit to be disseminated with other key stakeholders.


All the activities foreseen will also give us the opportunity, by the end of the project, to achieve the following foreseen impacts and results: 

– Young people able to process their trauma and express themselves,

– Young people can choose their preferred method of expression,

– Young people supported through a multidisciplinary team (youth workers/ leaders and therapists),

– Youth workers will acquire new tools to work better with young people,

– Youth workers will create new integrated methodologies based on art, drama and music,

– Youth workers to understand better the individualized needs of the young people working with,

– Youth workers to increase their motivation and energy,

– An increase in the capacity of the organization,

– Organizations increase their effectiveness when working with young people who have experienced trauma,

– Organizations can reach more young people in need of their service and

– All the tools created will be disseminated so that other organizations and youth workers can use the tools in their environment.