It is probably no secret that the COVID-19 virus and the pandemic that came with it was the first such experience in all our lives. It was an experience that turned everyday life upside down. In the beginning, there was a lot of fear, not knowing what the disease was, what to expect, how long it would last and, in general, what it would bring.
“I felt a bit lonely actually.”
“In general, I didn’t have that sociality anymore, I became more introverted.”
“When it started, I felt strange because my social life just stopped and I had to spend all my time at home.”
“It was strange to sit at home during the quarantine and not go anywhere, I thought I was going crazy.”
“I couldn’t concentrate properly, I didn’t have much motivation to study.”
“I got very lazy, I started to look at myself less, I didn’t leave the house almost, I became lazy.”
can be accessed from anywhere.”
“I’ve grown to love nature even more as I’ve spent more and more time outdoors.”
“The only positive thing was that I had more free time.”
“The first quarantine gave me the motivation to dance at home, to spend more time with myself.”
“I didn’t just sit at home, I went for walks and did all sorts of things I didn’t have time for before. … This time was beneficial because it allowed me to finish things I hadn’t done. For example, I cooked, watched TV shows, did sports and more.”
“The pandemic did make one thing easier. … It has taught us that many events, seminars, courses and training can be done online and can be accessed from anywhere.”
“I had to buy some books, puzzles, … I spent a lot of time on my career … and that career focus was a great experience because it had a big impact on my education because I spent a lot of time studying.”
These are the experiences of the youth pandemic in Lithuania.
And what have YOU encountered?
What did you do during the pandemic?
Have you thought about what it gave you?
What impact did it have?
Did you discover the positive sides of quarantine and its consequences?
And did you notice what negative consequences it left?
Have you had to think about how to address them?
How can you help yourself, your relatives, and larger groups of young people?
Well, we, the Active Youth Association, have been looking for a long time for initiatives that have emerged in Lithuania during the pandemic, that could serve as an example, that has taken the initiative to help, that have taken the initiative to create change. Admittedly, it was not easy. We had hoped to find much easier and much more, even if it was the simplest of youth initiatives related to the pandemic.
We found 8, which we would like to present to you. The heroes of our initiatives have used the time given by the pandemic in a meaningful way and have implemented long-standing ideas for social initiatives that have contributed to social solidarity and sustainable lifestyles.
Some initiatives are accessible to the general public, while others are more local, i.e. for a specific urban community. It is true that most of them are not created by young people, some are created by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working with young people, some are created by professionals in certain fields such as IT or psychology, but there are also initiatives created by active students. Similarly, not all initiatives are directly derived from the pandemic period or its challenges or work specifically and exclusively with young people.
In short, the range of initiatives we have selected is very diverse, but all of them inspire us to create change in our own environment that could help our society. So we have no doubt that everyone will find the one that is closest to their heart and encourages them to create.
The Gediminas Legion
A network of trained volunteers who are active and willing to help the public in their spare time, and who are exactly the kind of people who know what to do in an emergency situation in the country and can quickly help others. This is what happened when the pandemic hit! They were among the first to take real action quickly and in an organised way. What kind of action? There are so many, we invite you to read them for yourself.
An initiative born in Vilkaviškis, devised together with young people, with the aim of providing young people with a wider range of mobility options, encouraging healthier and more sustainable lifestyles and giving them the opportunity to get to know their own country better. All this was brought together by the purchase of bicycles and a variety of rides on them, with even more positive results than expected. After all, during the pandemic, when it was impossible to get together, many people avoided being in the city and went to the countryside, to the woods, but even that was not possible for everyone, because it is too far to walk to certain places and not everyone has a lift. So even at a time when isolation from people was increased, this further increased the isolation even among friends.
Started as a project and developed as a separate branch of the organisation – as an open youth career guidance centre. After all, there are so many things we need to know about when building a career, or just starting out on our own after school. And besides, no matter how innovative we are in the technological age, with the pandemic we have realised how much we don’t know! These and other questions were on the minds of many young people in Šiauliai, and we did our best to answer them.
We change ourselves – we change the world!
A fun and educational initiative for the inclusion of young people with disabilities was devised and implemented by active schoolchildren in Švenčionys. The young people wondered – are they really so different from us? Why do we avoid them? After all, during the pandemic, when we were all isolated from the world, unable to meet our peers, it was very difficult for many of us to survive. And for young people (and not only), who are already more marginalised in society, it was also even harder to stay isolated because they could not even be in the same environment as others.
An emotional fitness club start-up, launched by psychology and IT professionals and developed in a phone app format. After all, emotional health has become an extremely important topic in the wake of the pandemic. And how many people knew how to take care of it?
PLANT A TREE
Pasodinkmedi.lt (Eng: “Plantatree.lt”) is an online platform that makes it easy and almost effortless for individuals and businesses to contribute to planting non-commercial forests and offset their CO2 emissions. After all, when we stopped rushing through life and started spending more time in nature, we saw how beautiful it is and how we are not protecting it. We noticed the improvement in air quality and wondered what we could do more sustainably.
Shout a Question to a Psychologist
A series of virtual conversations (in video and audio format) on topics of interest to young people, between a psychologist and a well-known public figure. After all, there are so many questions that we cannot find the answers to ourselves, and with the pandemic, there is a general loss of confidence in knowing what the future holds and in self-esteem. Let alone the questions that others are too timid to ask?
CHANGE AND IMPROVE
An initiative in Šiauliai that noticed the lack of soft skills young people are not learning in school and heard the need for them, and initiated a series of seminars and workshops to improve 5 skills. After all, we are increasingly finding that in this fast-paced world it takes much more than specific knowledge to be able to present oneself, find the right information, monitor one’s own state of mind and be able to help oneself, not lose oneself in the flow of information and events. The pandemic period has further exposed the lack of these competencies.
We invite you to be curious and delve into the depths of initiatives.
And if you’d like to know more, don’t be afraid to contact them! They’ll answer your questions and help you on your creative journey, especially if you fancy trying to create something similar. 😉 After all, it’s from each other that we learn best!