Embassy of Youth: A toolkit to explore and celebrate the talents of urban youth

Teenagers in Feijenoord

Feijenoord is a neighborhood in Rotterdam facing problems such as poverty and crime. Crime and nuisance are often assumed to be caused by local teenagers who hang out on the streets. This project investigated whether this is true, or if there is more to it. This led to the desire to get to know the teenagers better, to listen to their stories and to understand their perspectives. This was done through many interviews and workshops with local teenagers and youth workers. It proved that their activities are often misinterpreted by 'the outside world'. This can influence how the teenagers seeÊthemselves and how they feel about their own capabilities and future. Being outside together is actually very important to them; to have their own place where they get to represent and explore who they are, without the context of home, school or work. They feel as a part of the streets and the streets are a part of their identity. The streets could be seen as their embassy. An embassy of youth that represents a culture that is theirs. To celebrate this part of them and to provide them with a more meaningful and positive way to express their identity, the Talent toolkit was created. 

The Talent toolkit

This toolkit can be used by youth organizations to give a series of three workshops for local teenagers to discover and develop their talents. It includes sets of 15 Talent cards for the teenagers to use. Each of these Talent cards have anÊanonymous quote from a local hero of the neighborhood, whose identity and story can be discovered on an online platform called Embassy of Youth, meant as an extension to the teenage street culture. Here, positive stories about their world are shared, to motivate and inspire each other. At the same time, it is also a way to show their identity to 'outsiders',Êbeyond what is perceived on the streets.

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