Level is an idea, a concept, an ideal for people to embetter themselves, to become all that they can be. We want to level up society and that's why we created LEVEL Association.
LEVEL Association is a Romanian NGO founded in 2011 and dedicated to the social and cultural uplifting of young people through a wide range of activities aimed at nurturing personal, professional and social skills and promoting civic involvement. LEVEL activities focus on offering opportunities to young people coming from disadvantaged environments as well as young people with active potential and interest in growing and developing in a wide range of fields.
One of LEVEL's ongoing projects for achieving these goals is project Speak your mind, a debate and leadership programme gathering young people from several high schools in Iasi, such as Colegiul National and Colegiul National “Garabet Ibraileanu” Iasi, to learn and develop as active members of their community. The project goal is creating a network of debate clubs in several high schools in Iasi to encourage and nurture active involvement, personal initiative and a clear mindset towards one's role and potential in society. We aim to to achieve this by providing tools for self-development, assertiveness and leadership through academic debate, critical thinking, advanced argumentation, public speaking and oratory. We are holding weekly meetings with activities ranging from debates, competitions, seminars and conferences, research and discussion on various topics, open talk and forums on topics of local and world interest.
LEVEL has also held several trainings on debate, public speaking and critical reading for public educational institutions, nongovernmental organizations and informal groups such as: academic debate trainings for 2nd year students of the Marketing section of the Business Administration and Economy Faculty (FEAA) from “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University Iasi (November 2010), academic debate and public speaking workshop during the Beetech Festival organized by BEST Chisinau in collaboration with the Technical University of Moldova (December 2010), British Parliamentary debate training for Junior Chamber International- Iasi branch (2011), debate and critical thinking seminar during the Rotaract National Conference (2011). Our members have debated and judged in several local, national and international competitions during the last few years, such as the national Worlds Schools tournament organized annually by ARDOR or the Saint George City of Debate open tournament taking place in Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania.
In 2013, LEVEL coordinated project Model Local Council, financed through the Youth in Action funding framework, a project aimed at providing knowledge on the functioning of the local administration, encouraging public speech and civic activism among young people in Iasi. The project brought together 20 young people to learn about the Local Council, research community problems and simulate the activity of the Local Council and propose real solutions for improving different aspects in their local community.
LEVEL has also joined Synergy Romania's project called “10 Media Events in 360 Days” (April 2013- March 2014), a project designed to help local NGOs and young people to integrate media tools into their activities and projects. The project also aimed at creating a local network of NGO for collaboration, support and exchange of resources, expertise and experience between youth workers and social groups.
In 2012, LEVEL developed a debate, critical thinking and leadership programme addressed to Law and Political Sciences students, called "You'r(e) Right". The programme was financed by Open Society Institute and attracted 30 college students from Iasi, Timisoara, Bucuresti, Cluj-Napoca.
In May 2012, LEVEL organized Iasi Open, a highschool student policy debate and proposal tournament, during which 10 teams from all over the country debated on the modification of the voting system.
The members of the Association have acted in collaboration with Asociatia Pasii Sperantei [Steps of Hope] from Iasi, helping middle school and high school students coming from socially and economically disadvantaged communities perform better in school, informed them about better schooling opportunities and guided and prepared them for the entrance examinations of quality schools in Iasi. The Association also contributed to organizing workshops and camps focusing on nurturing artistic and sports talents as summer activities created especially for these young people.
LEVEL has also taken part in international projects on various topics such as art, culture, personal and social identity, giving young people the opportunity to discover their skills and interest and put them into practice, meet people from other countries and discover new perspectives and cultures.
One of our members participated in a Grundtvig training in the Netherlands, a “Practicing Coaching” intensive training organized by the Olde Vechte Association in 2012. LEVEL also joined ASHA Centre (Gloucestershire, UK) in several projects throughout 2012 and 2013 on the themes of storytelling, narrative and intercultural communication.
In 2012, 7 members of our organization participated in the project “Culture-Freedom-Native Country” implemented by Stummer Schrei, an organization based in Tirol, Austria. The project focused on bringing together young people from seven countries to create plays focusing on cultural differences, social and political awareness and experience the interaction with other people, both skilled and beginners in theatre. We worked with professional actors and directors, engaged in informal activities and designed plays that would express our view upon the world and find core values common to all participants.
LEVEL strongly encourages and supports youth initiatives and encourages its members to create their own projects and developing their own interests, while providing support and assistance. One project LEVEL has actively supported was a photography contest put together by several high school students in 2012.
We are also interested in theatre and self-expression and our members created a play in 2009 called ‘Emptiness’ which was written and casted in Iasi, Romania. The play was created with the express purpose of addressing the issues and pursuits of a teenager in modern day society and the perspectives that one might embrace.
We're active, passionate and outspoken young people from the city of Iasi, interested in the fields of culture, art, social justice, law, computer sciences and electronics. Our volunteers and members share these characteristics and add their own interests in fields such as painting, writing, world-building for role-playing games, science fiction, reading etc.
Taking part in Level's activities has helped me a lot. By debating I managed to build-up my self-confidence and an ability to discuss matters that range from the common, to the practical or the abstract, as appropriate. Almost anything is debatable and few things should be left un-debated, un-discussed or un-meditated-upon. In a society in which many things are taken for granted or forced upon you, in which too little does argument or logic bear the attribute of law, debating helps you create your (...)
I began debating during the 9th grade. I enrolled in a debating course hoping to solve one problem, and ended up solving all of them. Questions upon questions, timid answers and people scrutinizing me, that's kind of how my first day at the debate club went. I liked it a lot and decided to continue. Each Saturday I was given more and more challenging topics to think about; one day of debate felt like a week of school when it came to how much I learned. That's where I first had the opportunity of (...)
I've met the guys that run Level through a rather unusual turn of events that made me feel a bit reserved. On top of that the first meeting was one of the longest and most complex which disoriented me further. Incredibly, I recovered! Why? Because I felt challenged to face such a volume of information in such a compressed span of time and I wanted to find it easier to process and transmit complex ideas. I'm not going to say that I can "move mountains", but I've definitely started learning how to (...)
Being in Level has been a lot of fun for me. And by this, I also mean a lot of work. And some sort of errands. Weird errands, sometimes. One thing’s for sure though, it has spiced up my life a lot. To me, Level is an entire different environment. Different from school, because not only do I actually learn stuff, but it’s also fun. Different from a formal NGO of some sort, because there’s barely anyone who’s punctual. And also different from our society, because we firmly believe in our ideas, (...)
I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason. A few years back, something didn’t turn out as I wanted to. Only now I realize that it actually turned out for the best. The amount of knowledge, fun, emotions and experience that you can soak up around the Level people is incredible. It’s not hard to discover the real point behind all of the activities conducted by the Level team: thinking whilst having fun.
Level is friendship and fun, but it's also serious business. It's love of people, sets of 15 bagels and the best soda in the classiest bar. Heated discussion, firm convictions, persuasion, ending with radical changes of opinion, or not. Laughing 'till you run out of breath, tears of relief, support in awkward moments. Borrowed books, tutoring for exams, paid for with hugs and smiles. It's true education and that's something that not anyone can offer. Faith with no bounds. The little things that (...)