Varėna Region is for Youth, Youth is for Progress of Region Varėna Region is for Youth, Youth is for Progress of Region While assessing the situation of the activities of youth, Youth Council of Varėna District Council concluded that the lack of measures and infrastructure, weak partnership of institutions, and limited implementation of measures of open work with youth do not allow to solve specific problems of youth and increase their social exclusion. Passive position of youth towards the lack of possibilities of self-awareness, self-realization, social competence, and involvement in the community’s life is forming.Therefore, under the decision “On the participation in the project ‘Varėna Region is for Youth, Youth is for Progress of Region'” No. T-VII-879 of 28 January 2014 of Varėna District Municipality Council, Varėna Education Centre was mandated to prepare the project application for the competition of the programme ‘Children and Youth at Risk’. This program is funded by the financial mechanisms of the Republic of Lithuania, the European Economic Area, and Norway. When the procedures of evaluation of project applications were finished, it turned out that the idea of Varėna Education Centre is one of the sixth ideas in Lithuania which will be funded. On 3 October 2014, Varėna Education Centre signed the implement contract of the project ‘Varėna Region is for Youth, Youth is for Progress of Region’ No. EEE-LT05-SADM-01-K-01-024 with the Central Project Management Agency and the Ministry of Social Security and Labour.The activities of the project will be implemented from October 2014 to April 2016.The budget of the project is LTL 822, 060. Financial contribution (of the financial mechanisms of the Republic of Lithuania, the European Economic Area and Norway) consists of LTL 737, 660. The budgetary means of Varėna District Municipality are LTL 84, 400.The long-term goal of the project is to create the environment which would be favourable for a young person’s life and self-expression in Varėna region. Renewed spaces, acquired innovative equipment, applied principles of open work and volunteering during the project will give youth the chance to try new forms of activities.The infrastructure, which was created and adapted to the open work with youth, and a motivated partnership of institutions, will allow young people to choose new, exciting activities. The target group of the project is divided into two parts: people aged 14-19 and people aged 19-29. The situation and problems of these groups are slightly different. The partners who were brought together to implement the idea of the project will help in identifying the needs of the youth more clearly, jointly creating new activities, which increase the social inclusion of youth who are unemployed and do not study, and opening environments which were already available or created during the project for non-academic (aged 19-29) youth. The activities of this project will allow socially vulnerable, inactive, problematic youth to form their identity and the perception of self-esteem, increase the possibilities of activity, self-expression, and engagement in meaningful activities, and strengthen social competence.This project is unique in that youth themselves and partners participated in the project idea’s formation stage. The vision of open youth centres was created by 663 young people of Varėna district.The objective of the project is to increase the inclusion of youth at risk (aged 14-29) into meaningful activities, enabling them to meet specific needs of new services and activities. The project ‘Varėna region for young people, young people for regional innovation’ makes Varėna residents happy The implementation of project ‘Varėna region for young people, young people for regional innovation’ started in October 2014. There are eight authorities promoting the project, they are: Varena Education Centre, Varena labour exchange, Varena District Public Library, Varena ‘Ąžuolas’ college, Varena ‘Rytas’ high school, Varena sports school, Police of Varena, and the Varena district municipality administration. The Varena labour exchange has offered individual and group psychological counselling, computer literacy courses and access to e-learning services since May. These services help customers gain confidence and support their search for new employment. The Varena District Public Library offered training to project applicants, providing practical and theoretical knowledge for young people. The Sung Poetry Festival promoted artistic, musical competence of young people and was enjoyed by all visitors to the Mushroom festival. Varena ‘Ąžuolas’ college students got the opportunity to implement several activities, including a festival of short films, songs, poetry, a drawing contest, a symposium titled ‘Dainos kaip dienos’, the musical ‘Auksaplaukė’ and educational program ‘Dzūkiškos variacijos’, through this project these activities have provided young people with artistic, technical and communication skills. Varena Sports School and Varena ‘Rytas’ high school carried out sports activities within this project. The Sports school created a group of roller-skaters; the school also visited an international handball tournament in Germany and a wellness camp in Šventoji. ‘Rytas’ high school students got the chance to attend a Nordic walking group and had cross-country ski lessons. Varena Education Centre has almost completed repairs and installation of the Open Youth Centre new visitors will be expected in a few months. It’s great that young people have been willing to attend these project activities and lessons, with attendance outperforming the expectations of the project organisers. The project ‘Varėna region for young people, young people for regional innovation’, code No. EEA-LT05-SADM-01-K-01-024, is funded by the Republic of Lithuania, the European Economic Area, Norwegian Financial Mechanisms and the Varena District.