'Street Leaders', a project of the Virgen Blanca Foundation in collaboration with the IRBLleida to develop the leadership skills of a group of young people at social risk

Aimed at 16 young people between 18 and 30 years of age

‘Street Leaders' is the name of the project of the Fundació Verge Blanca, in collaboration with the Institute of Biomedical Research of Lleida (IRBLleida) and the Fundació la Caixa, to develop the leadership skills of a group of 16 young people aged between 18 and 30 in a situation of social risk. The initiative, which is the first time it has been developed in Lleida, will enable young people to become aware of their potential and improve their transversal skills. It will also encourage them to become community leaders in order to promote the social transformation of their immediate environment.

The project is a five-month training, which began in January and ends this May, divided into two main blocks: workshops and a 5-day intensive seminar in Vilaller. These workshops included a visit and practical experience at the CREBA centre at IRBLleida, located in Torrelameu, and also visits to the Molecular Oncology research groups and the Vascular and Renal Translational Research Group at IRBLleida, led by their researchers, Águeda Martínez Barriocanal and Serafín Cambray Carner. The young people have met scientific leaders who can help them to achieve their goals.

"It is a project of an experiential nature, based on accompaniment, learning and exchange of experiences, aimed at strengthening the capacity for action and leadership of these people. It combines elements of reflection, training, exchange of experiences, as well as debate sessions by economic and social agents" explained the manager of the Fundació Verge Blanca, Òscar Costa Vàzquez.

As the project coordinator, Ares Mateus Alamon, explains, "educating people at risk of social exclusion in leadership can lead to a transformation of the immediate environment, such as the neighbourhood. Empowering young people to create, lead, form a team and have an impact is fundamental for the well-being and development of the community".

"Training in scientific leadership enables young people to acquire essential skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication and teamwork. These skills are increasingly in demand in today's job market. Being able to receive concrete training in science and research will be a key tool for social inclusion", confirmed Mateus.

The Fundació Verge Blanca is a non-profit organisation that has been working in the Lands of Lleida for more than 50 years, with the aim of serving society as a whole in the specific field of leisure education for children, teenagers and young people, adults and the elderly, both through voluntary actions and in the professional field.

The activity is possible thanks to the collaboration of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology of the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

The visit of the 'Street Leaders' in the CREBA centre