Walkers activity is a form of youth work developed by Aseman Lapset ry (Children of the Station). It is based on adult volunteers who are willing to donate their time to work with young people.
Walkers provides safe spaces for everyone under 18 years old regardless of their background or current situation. It operates on a low-threshold basis and, if required, is able to provide more extensive support and guidance.
The work takes place in environments where young people like to congregate. Its key factors are to encounter young people with a positive and fair attitude and to provide them with safe interaction with adults.
The aim is to promote the growth of young people into independent and responsible adults. Walkers has been active and in development since 1994 and it is non-political and not aligned with any religious agenda.
Walkers is active in 11 cities and towns in Finland. Activities can take place indoors and outdoors, at traditional Walkers cafés and converted vehicles that serve as meeting places. Activities are always professionally directed and tailored to fit the local needs. However, they are also guided by shared Walkers operating principles.
Children of the station acts as the national umbrella organisation for Walkers. The organisation maintains the Walkers House (Walkers-talo) in Helsinki and the Walkers Bus that operates in the capital region. It also coordinates the Walkers Car, also known as the Wauto, that operates around Finland. Other Walkers meeting places around Finland are maintained by local organisations such as municipalities, parishes or agents from the third sector.
"The human need to encounter another human being will never change."
Walkers provides safe and open meeting places for the young. Everyone is welcome, either alone or with friends, to spend time with reliable adults. The cafés are reasonably priced, but there is no requirement to purchase or participate in anything.
The principle behind Walkers is to encounter each person as they come with all their joys and troubles – whatever problems they may have. We do not turn away anyone who might be intoxicated or is acting in a disruptive manner.
Young people have the opportunity to participate in organising Walkers activities. Walkers also offers volunteer training for young people.
"A veteran of youth has survived their own, but still remembers what it was like."
If you are interested in volunteering, contact us at www.walkers.fi
Our work is based on safe adult volunteers, "veterans of youth", who give their time to support the young. Trained volunteers working next to professionals are able to provide a casual atmosphere that includes interaction between adults and young people. The volunteers set an example on how you get along with other people just by being yourself.
When they join Walkers, volunteers receive training. After training, they participate in Walkers activities according to their own schedules. Additional training and recreational activities are also organised for the volunteers.
There are over 350 Walkers volunteers around Finland.
The first Walkers was founded in 1994 in Helsinki. The current Helsinki Walkers, the Walkers House, is located in the very centre of Helsinki in Kamppi. The House was opened in autumn 2009 and mainly operates as an open youth café.
The Walkers House is open for the young 5–7 days a week and it is the development centre of Walkers. In addition to the youth cafe, the Walkers House can host meetings, training, directed group sessions and various other events.
– mobile youth work where young people are
The Walkers Bus and the Walkers Car, or the Wauto, are a bus and a motor caravan converted to serve as meeting points for young people and safe adults. The Bus operates in the suburbs of the Helsinki region, whereas the Wauto travels the rest of Finland in more sparsely populated areas. Both target young people under 18 and especially those who are out of reach of regional services.
The mobile meeting points can travel to places where young people like to spend their time. The Bus and the Wauto operate a set period of time in each area. The aim is to provide local youth work professionals with the means of supplementing their work.
ASEMAN LAPSET RY
Simonkatu 3 A, 00100 Helsinki
Tel. +358 9 654 740
info [at] asemanlapset.fi