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As Youth and As Change Agents, Stand Up & Speak Up

24th Aug, 2016

Every year in August, the world joins together to commemorate International Youth Day which was created by the United Nations to celebrate the contribution youth make to society. This year, the theme is “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Production and Consumption”.

The answer of how to reach our goals by 2030 is easy: we need to empower youth to be change agents.

What is a change agent you ask?

A change agent is someone who uses their voice and actions to create change- they are the revolutionaries of their time.

The “how” of how to empower youth to be change agents is to let them develop their own ideas- wherever they are in the range of potential social good actions.

Let them dream and think! Give them tools to collaborate and problem solve, brainstorm and reflect. Empower them to believe that their voice matters without judging or criticizing their ideas.

When we let the youth’s voices and ideas speak for themselves, the actions are more powerful, more inspired… and that is what makes their voices meaningful.

The truth is that even the most well-meaning people are going to have up and down days when it comes to using their voices. Sometimes their ideas will have expansive reach, while others may fall flat–and that is ok.

As change agents we must all appreciate that not everyone will always want to listen, just because we would like them to. We need to learn that sometimes even the most fabulous idea may need a bit more ‘oomph’ or logistical planning.

We all know that ideas come to us sometimes when we least expect it, whether we are in the shower or walking home from the bus stop. But most importantly, we need to know that we must believe in our ideas and potential as change agents.

We have an opportunity, now- to empower others to be part of the solution to help shape what life will be like in 2030. It’s time to stand up and speak up and help foster the next generation of change agents.

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