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András Szabó is showing at-risk youth how to help themselves and their peers develop values, self-reliance, and confidence. The cost-effective, peer-to-peer network he has formed uses volunteerism to help young people in Hungary pave a productive path for themselves.
Increasingly, teenagers in Hungary see their future as overwhelming and their problems affect their decisions as well as their lives. Economic hardship, chemical addiction, parental aggression and violence – these are a few to the problems that children at risk have to struggle with each and every day.
The Kapocs Self-Help Service provides help for thousands of young people yearly. It encourages them to look after, help and support each other and creates an organizational background for them to rely on as well. This way they themselves have a sense of responsibility for each other. András organizes 8-20 methodological training programs a year for professionals to use and spread the model system of Kapocs in their own environments.
In András Szabó’s opinion, the most effective way to bring about any change is a model which offers them supportive relationships. This new model is based on preventive intervention and peer mentoring. Children, teenagers and young adults are welcomed in a natural environment, where their problems are addressed, wether it be about building a sense of self-worth or emergency medical assistance.
Andrew would like to focus on three areas in the future. Firstly, on stabilizing the workings of Kapocs, handing over the process and professional methods to others. Secondly, he would like to integrate the Hungarian learning extracurricular and the online knowledge bases (otherwise known as ‘peer-learing’). Last but not least, his goal is to launch an initiative regarding this project.
After András began to work with youth professionally, the idea of establishing something like the Kapocs Self Help became more and more insistent in his mind. Then in 1992 the opportunity arose and he successfully applied to head Kapocs, since when his sense of mission has found the ideal orbit in which to operate.