Today is International Youth Day, a day to raise awareness of issues affecting young people around the world and a day to celebrate the potential of youth as partners in global society. This year’s theme is “Youth Civic Engagement,” focusing on the importance of involving young people politically, economically and socially, essential elements of human development.
Because we — Family & Children’s Place – work with youth, we see the immense value and opportunity that happy, healthy, empowered and engaged young people afford. Everyone benefits through their engagement and involvement – governments, the private sector, civil society – communities.
Truth is, young people are the leaders of tomorrow so we need to give them the firmest foundation possible today, through protection, education and information. For us, it’s about protection – from violence, abuse and neglect, and in cases when it’s already happened, help and hope to overcome the trauma. Building resilience and well-being so they may engage and contribute, take their place as community, civic and government leaders.
International Youth Day was designated in 2000 by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness of issues affecting young people and to promote their well-being and livelihood. Fifteen priority areas were decided, including:
- Poverty and hunger
- Drug abuse
- Juvenile delinquency
- Girls and young women
- Armed conflict
Our work with children – and their families – is an investment, in giving child victims of violence, abuse and neglect a hand up to a healthy and happy life, filled with meaningful relationships, but it’s also an investment in community, state, country and the world. Emotionally and physically healthy children are more productive, make better decisions and contribute their personal time, talent and treasures to a better world for all of us.
It begins with working with vulnerable youth. That is essential if we want to achieve any kind of significant human development.