Julia Dem

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: UA-Youth: Empowering StoriesEstonia

Yuliia "Julia" Dem is a youth worker, project manager and adult educator. She is originally from Ukraine but has lived in Estonia for the last nine years. Julia holds a BA in Social Science and International Relations from Dnipro National University and has completed numerous training courses and workshops across Europe and United States. Julia works at an NGO called VitaTiim, and she develops projects for young people that helps them develop soft skills such as media literacy and critical thinking competencies. She is fluent in Ukrainian, Russian, and English, with intermediate Estonian language skills. Known for her creativity, positivity, and responsibility, Julia's expertise in education and project management makes her a valuable asset in any professional setting. Julia is passionate about mindfulness, traveling and reading. 

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: UA-Youth: Empowering Stories

"UA-Youth: Empowering Stories" was a multimedia project aimed at raising awareness about the challenges, opportunities, and achievements of Ukrainian youth in Estonia, while fostering tolerance, understanding, and solidarity within the broader community. The project's objectives were multifaceted, focusing on increasing awareness of the unique experiences of Ukrainian youth, encouraging dialogue and understanding between them and their European peers, empowering these young individuals to share their stories through various media platforms, and enhancing the public perception of the Ukrainian community within the EU to promote tolerance and inclusivity.

Throughout the project's duration, several key activities were undertaken including the gathering and interviewing Ukrainian youth to collect eight compelling stories, creating 32 illustrations based on these narratives, publishing the materials for a broad audience, and organizing three events that successfully attracted at least 110 participants. The project team also visited four cities in Estonia, produced a podcast, and compiled a booklet of the gathered stories, which were presented at three different events. "UA-youth: Empowering Stories" has achieved its goals by creating a significant impact on both the Ukrainian and European communities, bridging cultural divides, and laying the groundwork for a more inclusive society. Through its focused efforts, the project has not only highlighted the resilience and determination of Ukrainian youth in the face of adversity but also contributed to a lasting change in community awareness, empathy, and understanding.

Click here to read the participants' testimonials

“Sharing my story allowed me to look back on my journey, understand my experiences more deeply, and see the resilience I've built over time. It was therapeutic to articulate my challenges and achievements and knowing that my narrative could inspire, or support others made the process even more meaningful. This project not only empowered me to share my voice but also connected me with a community of individuals with similar experiences, fostering a sense of solidarity and understanding.” - Project Participant

2022 IVLP Impact Award Project: Narvamus Youth Podcast

The overall aim of the project was to support Narva youths to develop critical thinking, media literacy and creative thinking skills through creating media. Through this project, Julia and her participants were developing a Narva youth podcast. Mostly, they focused on the following topics: sustainable development, mental health, art and the native Russian speakers of the Narva. However, Julia and her teammates also saw the podcast as a tool for young people to work on topics and projects they are interested in. Within this project, they established a team and launched a youth podcast, but it is sustainable in the future and will be linked to different activities. It will continue to be a tool for youth empowerment as they can express themselves and make their voices be heard. The project supported young people and their parents in developing media literacy competencies, which is crucial for active civic participation and maintaining democratic values.

Two media retreats were held to train young people on topics of media literacy, identifying propaganda, and digital wellness. 36 students in total attended the trainings. At the end of the project, 5 podcasts were recorded and published.

Listen to the podcast here!
Check out the project's website page here!

"I learned about the different types of media, including print, television, radio, and the internet, and the different ways that each type of media can be used to communicate a message. Overall, I gained a better understanding of how powerful media can be and how it can shape our lives." - Project participant

IVLP Exchange Experience

Julia was a participant in the IVLP Project 21st Century ChangeMakers: Engaging Youth in the Battle Against Disinformation in 2021 and 2022, organized by the U.S. Department of State and CRDF Global.

Julia's exchange experience led her to develop her IVLP Impact Award Project: "My IVLP experience was a turning point, significantly influencing my perception of community engagement and youth empowerment. Drawing from these insights gained in Pensacola, the 'UA-youth: Empowering Stories' project was conceived. The project borrows the idea of using multimedia platforms for sharing narratives, focusing particularly on the Ukrainian youth in Estonia."

U.S. Communities Visited in 2022

Birmingham, AL; Washington, DC; Pensacola, FL; Atlanta, GA

U.S. Communities Visited Virtually in 2021

San Francisco, CA; Washington DC; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX

Country of Origin: Estonia

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