“To help the youth at risk and give hope to professionals in the field!” In this very particular year, ACAY France in Marseille has the great joy to welcome new members to strengthen the team. With the development of the training programs in schools, jails, and the aftercare, the support of partners and donors has enabled us to hire new employees alongside Laurent Thorigné, the Program Manager. Two former volunteers from ACAY Philippines have also joined the team, bringing their legal and psychological expertise to the mission. Other volunteers give time and skills each week in a variety of areas.

They all come from very different backgrounds and share the vision and values of ACAY: discover their profile and their involvement in giving hope to the youth in Marseille.

” I graduated from the University Aix Marseille with a master’s degree in Management of Cultural and Humanitarian Projects. Throughout my university studies, I have had professional experiences related to youth. For several years, I accompanied minors in difficulty. I was involved in school tutoring and in cultural and sports activities in Nantes (my hometown), Aix-en-Provence and Rosario (Argentina), where I did my final year internship. My personal and professional experiences have strengthened my desire to help others in some way.

«I wanted to put my communication and project management skills at the service of a cause that particularly touches my heart.»

After spending 6 months in Argentina where I did an internship, I was very impressed by the work of ACAY whose values and vision I share. Working with ACAY is my way of helping to build up this necessary and exciting mission.

My role is divided into two complementary missions: fundraising and communication. Good communication is the way to raise funds. Like any association, ACAY needs funds to finance its programs whether private or public funds. One of my tasks is therefore to prospect and make requests for funding from private foundations and organizations likely to finance our actions in Marseille and if possible, in the Philippines. Regarding communication, my role is to transmit news about our activities, through the newsletter and to manage the ACAY Facebook page in collaboration with Loti, in charge of communication in ACAY Philippines. I am also involved in the training with the girls in jail, with Laurent and Hubert, in charge of training. “

” I am a graduate of the Merchant Navy Officers School. Working as a merchant navy sailor meant I had a long vacation every year. For 3 years, I was glad to volunteer within the Bernadette association which works in the difficult areas of Marseille. This experience allowed me to discover through tutoring, family visits, outings, discussions with residents, the world of poor areas. I was deeply touched by the joy that inhabited those who had chosen to work in this association. As time went by, this made me grow in me the desire to leave my work to commit myself to the service of the youth.

When I choose to leave my job, I decided to look at other associations in Marseille. Providence led me to ACAY. I experienced this new mission initially as a volunteer. A quote by Christiane Singer, which I discovered in Sister Sophie’s book, has been with me ever since: “Where the dragons lie the treasures are hidden”. These youth hold incredible treasure and to help them makes me happy.

« In November 2019, I entered the EPM for the first time to meet the youth. There it was clear for me that I wanted to continue the adventure with ACAY. »

I oversee coaching and training. I spend my time working with the youth in the Penitentiary Establishment for Minors (EPM) of Marseille, with the youth recently released accompanied by ACAY, in a secondary school, and the office. At the EPM, I lead training sessions with Laurent during the school vacations and I accompany the youth through individual sessions. Regarding the aftercare program, I continue the work started at the EPM by helping the youth to review their achievements and their difficulties. I enjoy listening to and accompanying them in their change of life. At school, we support a class, the goal being to remobilize the group of youth in difficulty with training in self-awareness, enabling them to identify their strengths and thus be confident about the professional direction they chose for their lives. “

“After a classic school career, I graduated with a master’s degree in Psychology. I worked for a few months in a hospital. My job consisted of accompanying patients and their families. My tasks were divided into two departments: the oncology department and long-term hospitalization. After this first experience, I went on a mission to Manila.

My desire to go on a mission was driven by the desire to give as much as I could receive. As a matter of fact, I have always had the feeling of having a privileged childhood. I lived in a loving family environment and in my opinion, volunteering was a good way to give back all that I had received over all those years. I started the adventure with the NGO Enfants du Mékong. During the hiring period, I was told about the ACAY mission. It quickly aroused great interest. I was very impressed by the activities carried out by the association and very touched by the way ACAY positively impacts the lives of many young Filipinos.

« I had an experience both on a human and professional level. »

My volunteering in the Philippines was beyond all my expectations. I had an experience both on a human and professional level. I feel I have grown and have become more open. What touched me the most during this year was the resilience of the Filipino people. They have an incredible ability to move forward, which has been a real source of inspiration for me. I was also very moved by the relationship I developed with the ACAY team of staff and sisters and the girls of the School of Life. These relationships became very important to me during my mission.

When I come back to France, it was obvious and natural for me to continue my mission with ACAY Marseille. The experience in the Philippines strongly impacted me and I wanted to continue to serve this mission which is very close to my heart. Being involved in ACAY Marseille is a continuation of my first experience. “

“ I completed my university studies in law and management. After several internships and years of study abroad, I graduated in criminal law. My experiences, especially my volunteering within ACAY, made me want to work for juvenile law. Now I live in Paris where I have opened my own criminal law practice.

Within my law studies, I had to complete a 6-month internship in an organization different from a law firm. I wanted to discover another legal culture, to learn about justice in another country as well as criminal law in the field. I also wanted to know how an association functioned. I had heard about ACAY through a friend.

I volunteered in 2013-2014. I was still a student lawyer at that time. I had several missions: I helped to advance the cases of boys and I also gave theatre and oral expression classes to girls in the School of Life and in detention. I was struck by this year, both personally and professionally. This volunteering was like a spiritual retreat, a look within myself, and on what I wanted in life. My mission within ACAY confirmed my desire to do criminal law and to work on juvenile cases: I was able to see what the conditions of detention were like in another country and to experience another judicial system.

« My attachment to ACAY does not end there. »

Even though I volunteered a few years ago, the bonds with ACAY are still as strong as ever. My attachment has never been broken. I wish to help ACAY France on a legal level: to accompany the youth in judicial and legal issues. This is part of the continuity of my professional practice. ”

“Volunteering is part of my life after having worked in different fields: housework, school tutoring, childcare, waitress, nurse’s aide, masseuse… Volunteer work is also a way for me to be socially involved, to keep in touch with others, to work in a team, to meet new people, to grow as a person.

« As I wanted to do humanitarian work since I was younger, this is one way for me to do it and be part of a good cause. »

I got involved in ACAY France because I find the mission with the incarcerated youth important and interesting, that it is adapted to the needs of the society in which we live. Moreover, the humanitarian aspect is equally important since there are several programs offered for the youth at risk in Marseille. Since I wanted to do humanitarian work at a younger age, this is a way for me to do it and to participate for a good cause. It is a good opportunity to put the Holy into practice (“I was in prison and you visited me…”), to put myself at the service of others.”