Parma City of Youth



Policy areas

Organisation name Municipality of Parma

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Contact person: Emanuela Allegri


Professionals in the field of youth policies are often confronted with a significant challenge: the increasing demand for intervention and the simultaneous scarcity of human and cultural resources to respond. Society is changing fast and the old ways of helping young people are not enough. Many services only focus on urgent and basic needs, but they forget to look at the bigger picture. The Youth Operative Structure of the Municipality of Parma realised that they need a new approach to social work with young people, one that values what they do every day in their communities, inside and outside schools, organisations and services.


In this context, the Youth Operative Structure developed a project that aims to reframe these activities through a radical change in perspective, cultural attitude and organisational approach to work. The goal is to work alongside young people to identify different and genuinely generative trajectories. However, effective work with young people cannot be imposed from above; it must be built with them from the ground up. This approach involves not only offering young people a leading role but also a blend of commitment and responsibility, the opportunity to experiment and the challenge of engaging with institutional subjects willing to question themselves. The project seeks to involve young people in local development processes, restoring their trust, power and tools to actively participate in their living contexts. This involvement includes offering spaces for meetings, places for discussion and aggregation, and moments for collective reflection. However, alongside youth leadership, a systemic shift in the logic of public administration programming is necessary.


The project focuses on the approximately 30 000 young people aged 15 to 29 living in Parma city, including a foreign population of around 22–23%. The project will also consider out-of-town residents who attend the city for study or work. Through a call dedicated to young people between 16 and 22 years of age, a selection of 27 young people joined the Parma Youth Commission. The members of the Commission became leaders of the project, with the task of involving other young men and women with the intention of establishing a broadened and open community of young people from the territory, who will have the mission to develop actions for change.

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