The goal of the YAD Street Team is to influence attitudes towards substance abuse on a grass-roots level and bring forth the values of Youth Against Drugs. The goal is also to support active citizenship and provide opportunities for meaningful volunteer activities.
Youth against drugs is a national organisation based on youth volunteer activities. The organisation’s goal is to decrease drug abuse and decrease adverse effects of drug and other substance abuse.
The structure of Street Team is a response to changes in both the NGO field and volunteer work. Young people today aren’t interested in “traditional” participation in NGO activities that require a lot of commitment but are instead searching for more flexible ways to contribute in line with their values. To answer this need the first Street Team pilot project was started in 2006 based on the structure of promotional activities by as-of-yet unknown bands. After the first project, YAD followed with Street Team 1 and 2 projects, respectively. Street team 2 -project concluded in the autumn of 2015, after which the activities were integrated into the daily work of YAD.
A young person logs into the Street Team website with their alias and chooses from the task pool an activity they are interested in and requests for the needed materials. After completing the task, they report it as completed on the website. The admins give feedback and award points based on the mission. With the accumulated points volunteers can purchase various Street Team products, e.g. hoodies, pins or trainers. The message of YAD is mainly spread via different materials like stickers, flyers and posters as well as online posts. The missions are varied both in scope and content, ranging from spreading material to discussing drugs with parents. The activities are developed based on the needs and feedback from young people, and they have ample opportunities to provide their input, ideas and requests for new activities. A defining characteristic of YAD Street Team activities is freedom to choose the scope, avenues and length of participation. Street Team youth workers can be contacted via e-mail, phone, Instagram, Snapchat or Discord whenever needed.
At a minimum, there needs to be an idea, cause or idea to be spread. Additionally, there needs to be someone organising the activities as well as a working online and offline (postal) connection. The operations are scalable from a very small scope up to a vast project.
The feedback has mainly been positive. Especially the low threshold of participating and specific features of “gamification” have garnered positive comments. The materials have also been liked for their inventiveness and design. We also often hear from young people the comment “Oh, are the materials free?”
The activities are evaluated on a yearly level via a system of social accounting. An evaluation study was conducted of the first Street Team -project and a book “YAD street team – Substance critical light activism for young people” was published as a result.
New young volunteers, as well as visibility and new footholds into digital youth work. Lots of new models and avenues for activities. Some of Street Team’s volunteers also end up in other activities in the NGO.