Emmanuel Roy, talents coach, manager of the project “avecGrandir” “grow with” (La Varappe) in Marseille.

The year 2021 will have marked a turning point in relations with ACAY’s partners in Marseille.

The evolution of our programs, both in prisons and schools and after release from detention, is the result of the quality of our relationships, the same vision, and mutual trust with partners who have been committed to us since the beginning of ACAY France in 2015. These partners, in the associative, educational, or penitentiary sectors, allow us to further anchor our intervention with youth in difficulty. Some of them have shared their testimonies with us for which we are very grateful.

Emmanuel Roy worked with ACAY for several months and supported the launching of our association in Marseille. Today, he works with the association avecGrandir which aims at finding jobs for 700 unemployed people. He contributes to the development of extraordinary projects which are short-term, paid work experiences carried out by professionals from the world of culture, sports, and art. The goal is to create encounters, develop talents and change the way people look at companies. This year, three young people from ACAY have successfully participated in three short 15-day training courses as a springboard to professional integration. Conclusive first experiences!

What does ACAY bring to the Grandir project?

Among the many partners of the Grandir project (associations, companies, institutions), ACAY brings an expertise in the accompaniment of young people that enriches us in addition to the methodology provided by another association, Massajobs. This allows us to touch young people with a heavy past that we would not necessarily be able to accompany otherwise.

On a personal level, the experience acquired with ACAY in the Philippines and in Marseille is very beneficial to me on a daily basis. I accompany a large number of young people with a criminal record, which I had not really anticipated, as our selection took place in the housing settlements and through door-to-door visits.

How would you define the quality of the partnership with ACAY?

I believe that the quality of the partnership is based on a similar vision of support for young people that encourages them to take responsibility for their behavior, and on the complementarity of our fields of intervention. The objective of “Development of the Power to Act” of the people targeted by Grandir is similar to ACAY’s vision in certain aspects.

What does ACAY bring to the young people we both accompany?

During the first extraordinary project organized by Grandir on the theme of cinema, we were able to integrate two young people from ACAY who proved to be driving forces within the group. The care taken by ACAY to guide young people who were interested and motivated by the proposed projects, and the motivational support provided by the team enabled them to stay on until the end despite complicated personal situations. This experience served as a springboard for one of them who was able to land a job contract a few days later.

What stands out for you in the ACAY approach?

The relationship of trust developed with the young people, the faithfulness in the presence at their side despite the ups and downs, and the in-depth work done with them which is made possible by a wholistic accompaniment.

Nadia Catalan, Head teacher, and Children with Special Needs teacher of the 9th grade SEGPA class at the St Vincent de Paul High School in Marseille where ACAY France works.

Every week, our team works with a class of 9th Grade SEGPA (Section of general education and adapted vocational training) of a high school in Marseille through a formation module for these academically fragile students. This project aims to develop self-esteem, interpersonal skills and to accompany them in the discovery of their potential for a chosen orientation.

How would you define the quality of the partnership with ACAY?

The people who work with ACAY are extremely kind, positive and generous. They are present and attentive. They share their knowledge and experience. I would therefore describe this partnership as a “great opportunity”.

What does ACAY offer to students?

The students of the SEGPA have in common that they have had a painful school career. This may have damaged their self-esteem and their relationship with others. ACAY allows them to get involved in projects that are rewarding and in which they become protagonists. ACAY helps them identify their strengths and actively participates in the development of their career path.

What does ACAY contribute to teachers?

The speakers allow us to have another perspective on our students. To see them in a situation of sharing, exchange and freer expression.

The projects initiated by ACAY are interdisciplinary. This encourages interaction between teachers of different disciplines. We also benefit from their knowledge and know-how. Finally, they bring us a message of hope through the testimonies of the people they have accompanied.

What is it about ACAY's approach that stands out for you?

I am struck by their calmness. They are faced with difficult situations but always seem positive, confident in their actions. That’s an inspiration.

Sonia Mahdid, Head Educator at the Juvenile Penitentiary (EPM) in Marseille.

Sonia Mahdid coordinates all the interventions of the external partners of the Judicial Protection of Youth (PJJ) at the EPM. Having been working at the EPM for over 10 years, she has accompanied the ACAY Marseille team since it was launched in 2015. The strong cooperation with the PJJ has allowed ACAY to establish a unique position with young people incarcerated in the Bouches du Rhône.

What does ACAY bring to the EPM and to the youth?

ACAY allows for an encounter with others. They value young people who have low self-esteem. They allow them to work on their emotions. They make the young people aware of juvenile justice in the Philippines and also meet people from different backgrounds, former minors incarcerated in the Philippines and in France, partners …. Through all these testimonies, they lead the youth to desistance (a process of getting out of delinquency). Furthermore, they allow the young people to have a follow-up inside and outside the Detention Center.

How would you define the quality of the partnership with ACAY?

ACAY is an essential partner of the EPM. They are a partner that is well identified and recognized by all, both the staff and the youth. They are available and their partnership is of high quality.

What stands out for you in ACAY's approach?

What stands out for me is their commitment, their investment and their availability. They have a very educational approach. They don’t rush, they go step by step, with gentleness. They have the ability to captivate these young people.