The crisis related to the coronavirus epidemic is having a negative impact on young people in Europe. The fight against the epidemic and the restrictions introduced weakened the mental condition of youth. Many of them feel that it intends to take from them their most precious time in their life – youth. As a result, young people experience many mental problems without institutional and social support. These problems have direct impact on their education and professional development. Moreover, at present we are unable to predict all the effects of the current state in the future. It is certain, however, that it will be a negative experience for an entire generation that needs support and renewed energy to overcome difficulties. The group that also experiences many problems in the above context are youth workers, who face problems with their mental state, but also with the lack of appropriate educational tools and skills.

Our project aims to improve the mental health of young people by stimulating their creativity and using their youthful enthusiasm. The action will connect two distant zones: health and creativity, into one holistic program for youth. First, it will be dedicated directly to this age group, encouraging young people in running courses and a taking positive actions to their peers. The axis of the project is the approach to contemporary challenges related to mental health, resulting in burnout, depression and social inactivity. The way we propose to young recipients is creativity and art, allowing for peace, but also introducing changes in their professional and personal life. Effective support for young people requires new competences from educators and applying innovative education. The project aims to provide such educational tools and raise the qualifications of youth workers.

The CHEER project is based on the long-term partnership of the "HOPP" Association from Poland with Bulsport from Bulgaria and the inclusion of two new partners Teatro Metaphora from Portugal and Mladinski Ormož from Slovenia. The partnership represents a variety of sectors and activities, which will allow synergies to be achieved during the two years of the project.

The project will last 30 months, from 2021 till 2024 and will be based on two main activities. The first will be self-help tool in the form of a card deck of CHEER CARDS, aimed directly at young people, containing innovative and diverse activities that develop creativity and improve mental health. The cards will be tested by young people during the youth exchange and they will be disseminated periodically (2 decks), thanks to which our result will have an impact on the target groups from the beginning of the project. Supporting activity will be a series of educational recordings dedicated to mental health problems and methods of stimulating creativity, presented on social media.

The project emphasizes the inclusion of youth workers. The broadest result will be a Podcast in the national languages of the partner organizations' countries, aimed to develop competences and promote good educational practices. Some educators will be trained in this area during an international course and national dissemination workshops. Trained educators will be included in the multiplication phase, which allow to reach a wider group of young people. Activities will be disseminated through health campaigns. There will be two European Challenges for creativity and mental health of young people.

Activities aim to improve health and build bonds among young people through the created CHEER cards. The achieved results will be disseminated through youth communication channels. The second campaign will extend beyond the duration of the project, as part of its sustainability (Challenge 2024 – the year of mental health in youth).

The project will result in the improvement of the mental well-being of young people, which will enable them to carry out activities for creativity and personal and professional development. Both goals will be achieved almost simultaneously because it is not possible to stimulate creativity without a positive attitude. Targeting the results primarily at young people with fewer opportunities, will improve their educational, social and professional situation. In this context, the result will be a reduction in educational differences, intensified by the pandemic. Upon completion, young people will have access to the complete education tool (cards) along with the development cycle of the recordings and will also be able to use it through their educators and leaders.

Accompanying results will be the improvement of the competences of youth workers, educators and youth leaders. Through the education workshops, educators will learn how to strengthen the mental health of young people, diagnose problems, support the group and stimulate creativity in a non-formal spirit. For this purpose, an educational supporting tool for educators (podcast) will be created. This tool will also take into account mental condition, needs and problems of educators. The overall result will be a comprehensive approach to educational problems (podcast – cards – recordings – training – meetings).

The CHEER project is co-funded under the Erasmus+ program of the European Union.