The youth of today are the future, which makes youth empowerment incredibly important. People growing up now are tomorrow’s decision-makers and leaders, so it is important that they are educated and given opportunities to express themselves.
Saturday, August 13th, 2023 is International Youth Day, an annual day organized by the United Nations to celebrate Youth Activism. This year's theme revolves around sustainability and green skills, which is, of course, very relevant amid climate change. A shift toward a green mindset is essential in global citizenship where our actions have a social impact.
We’re going to delve into how you as an author can help inspire young minds and promote education around societal issues.
What Is Global Citizenship
Where are you from? How do you respond when you get asked that question? Depending on where you are and who is asking, you probably answer by naming your town, city, or state, or maybe even your country if you're abroad. Those are all valid answers. We feel a connection to the place we come from and the community around us. But, sometimes, we forget about a shared community that we are all a part of.
Everyone on Earth has something in common, which is, simply, that they are all from Earth! The world is such a big place that we often don't think of it as a shared space, but rather break it down into subdivisions whether that is continents, regions, or nation-states. But, really, we are all here sharing the planet, and the actions we take that influence the environment, economy, or society have an effect on the world as a whole. Global citizenship is the understanding that we are not just members of the community in our immediate surroundings, but rather humans and citizens who all share the same planet.
Education on how we are all global citizens is an important part of youth empowerment. When we teach young people that there are connections between their local world and global community and that what they see in front of them is reflective of real-world issues, they are then able to make informed decisions and think critically about the actions of themselves and others.
A big part of youth empowerment is educating young people on the impact of their actions, the actions of others, and the effect of barriers in society. We all have a social impact to some extent, as our actions influence the lives of others around us. We can understand the social impact as changes people make to try to solve social injustices or to address and create awareness of societal issues.
Societal issues are contributed to by social factors. When understanding social factors, it's important to understand that they are not naturally occurring things, but rather attributes of the society we live in that are caused by the actions of those in power. So, basically, a social factor wouldn't include a natural disaster or extreme adverse weather, but would include the availability of services to keep the community safe.
Social factors can have a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of members of the community. Discrimination is a social factor that has a negative impact on a community. If there are members of a community who are excluded due to their skin color or ethnic background, then they will become isolated from their community and there will be a divide between them and the rest of the community, which will adversely affect how they interact with others. This, in turn, can lead to further divisions and more discrimination and ‘othering’ of each other based on the differences there are perceived to be.
The Broader Impact of Our Actions
When looking at the impact of our actions, it is necessary to understand that things we do have an immediate effect on those around us and the community on a broader scale.
For example, people who carry out volunteer work, like helping elderly people or supporting young people in learning, help the specific people they are working with. But the positive effect does not stop there. The volunteer work will lead to the person being helped a better chance to partake and help others in their community and be a benefit to their families and those around them.
Conversely, committing crimes and carrying out vandalism has a negative impact on our communities on an immediate and broader level. Not only do these actions have an immediate negative effect on the people they are carried out against, but also have a broader negative impact of causing fear, anger, and a greater need for emergency services. For example, if a storefront is vandalized, it’s an inconvenience for the owner of the store who has to pay, the employees of the store who have to clean up, the patrons of the store who can't use the service, and the police services who have to monitor the situation.
The things we do (or don’t do) have a chain reaction to the things that happen around us.
Everyone Needs Education
A vital part of youth empowerment is education. Naturally, young people, whether it’s a child, teenager, or somebody in their early 20s, don’t have the life experiences of someone who is much older. This is the way it is because, obviously, they haven’t lived as long or had as much time to experience different things. The mind of a young person can be quite open to different ideas, ways of life, and perspectives. This needs to be nourished so that young people can make informed choices about their future, and so they can carry out youth activism in effective ways to have a positive impact on society.
Educating Young People on Sustainability
Educating young people on sustainability and environmental issues is of massive importance. An integral part of global citizenship is understanding that we each play a role in the battle against climate change. For young people to be able to have a positive social impact, they have to understand the significant negative impacts of climate change, among other things, and what simple things they can do to help.
Exposure to Differences
Earlier, we mentioned how social factors can lead to looking at different groups as the other which causes divides in society. Well, one way of counteracting that is by mixing with people from different backgrounds and demographics. If you take a young person who has never spoken to or shared a space with someone who has a noticeably different skin tone than them, then they are susceptible to fear and negative thinking around them.
Global citizenship means we all share the planet, and we are all, as individuals and groups, different in some way. It is important to educate young people about the fact that being different doesn’t equate to being wrong or being a bad person, and that we can all share the planet with our differences.
Often, young people can feel a disconnect to the older generation and the world around them. When we are young, we feel like the things we do don’t really make a difference, and that there are real grown-ups making decisions. Really, young people do have the power to change things, and it’s important to support them in looking for a better world.
The young people of today will be in charge one day, and if they are well-educated and informed, they can create a better society. Part of education is not just simply telling people what is happening and what goes on in the world, but also how they can influence what is going on around them and change things. Young people need to be educated on ways they can have a social impact and shown that activism is part of global citizenship.
Inspire Youth Empowerment
So, what can you do to inspire youth empowerment through books and writing? Here are some tips:
- In your writing, you can include a diverse array of characters that represent people from different backgrounds. This way young people can see themselves in your story.
- When writing, get input from people with different types of life experiences. For example, write about people who are of a different sexual orientation, ethnicity, or race. This way you can have a well-rounded informed view of different perspectives on topics.
- Encourage young people to write too! Show them that their voice matters and that they can create something to educate, inform, and further inspire.
- Facilitate other people’s stories. If you can see a group of people are not represented, help them by sharing their story with others.
Whether it is fiction or nonfiction, you can inspire young people and empower them to have a strong social impact. Young people are dreamers with open minds so take them on an adventure. Here are some tips:
So, maybe you’ve got an idea for a book or blog but just need some help getting started. Well, here at The Urban Writers, we specialize in helping you craft a well-written, well-researched, and insightful piece. At TUW, we can guide you through the process of choosing the writer for you and ensuring all your requirements are met. Helping you create your project is our passion, so get in touch. We'd love to hear from you!
Youth empowerment is of vital importance in creating a better world for the next generation. Global citizenship means we all have a huge social impact that goes broader than we can see. By inspiring young voices and youth activism, you are using your power as a writer for the good of the world.