Empower For Change
Since 2007 students and young people across Canada and the United States have participated in a series of inspirational educational initiatives designed to empower, and to foster the belief that we can make changes to our world for the better.
The We Day phenomena has been instrumental in raising over $26 million for 900 separate causes. While also empowering a generation of youth to identify and promote alternate ways they can make the world a better place. This website aims to build on the momentum established by the We Day Initiative.
You might wonder how do we actually empower our youth? This is an important question to ponder. We talk about it often. Hold symposiums, conferences and seminars. All this talk and analysis is necessary but action is more important.
How to empower our youth is simple really. Let them think and dream whilst giving them the tools to reflect, brainstorm, problem solve and collaborate. Let kids know that their opinions and their voice matters and don’t judge them on your own “adult” criteria.
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University recently conducted a study that discovered 9 out of 10 youths in the 8 – 19 age bracket freely gave money to charitable organizations. So we know that our teens and tweens have a social conscience and are motivated to help bring about change.
What we need to do is empower them with knowledge, skills and the confidence to go out there and make a difference. Perhaps the most important aspect of this making sure our young citizens know that we believe in their ideas and their potential as change agents.
We should not forget that kids need to be kids sometimes. They may be committed to a cause one day and want nothing to do with it the next. By talking about our own good deeds and causes subtly in the background the aim is to create good habits and the foundation for a long-term lifestyle.
The role of the adult is extremely important in this whole empowerment experience. For it is through our words and actions and how they are viewed by our youth that these good habits are developed.
The community must also play a part in the empowerment process. A recent study of the data generated by a number of community youth service programs has yielded interesting results. Not surprisingly results indicate that taking part in community activities or services is inherently beneficial to those involved. But more interestingly indications are that taking part in community services can increase a youths empathy and desired to be further involved in the future.
If we can do tall this successfully then we can nurture generations of social change and in so doing bring about a better world.