August 12th, 2015 marks this year’s International Youth Day, a day the United Nations has dedicated to “rais[ing] awareness about the importance of youth civic engagement and its benefits to the individual and to society.” It is also a day to raise awareness about populations of youth that lack the support, opportunities, and resources they need to actively participate in and contribute to civic society; this is important to recognize because “[t]he engagement and participation of youth is essential to achieve sustainable human development.”
In order to build a better world for future generations, we must invest our time in supporting, nurturing, and developing programs and opportunities for youth on a global scale. And this process begins with providing for their basic needs.
We are very grateful to have the opportunity to support youth in the Philippines, thanks to our generous donors, supporters, and local partner, Volunteer for the Visayans. Overtime, we continue to witness the youth that receive assistance through our Child Sponsorship and College Scholar programs, illustrate immense determination, resilience, and strength in the face of adversity. They are truly the future of their communities. Today we celebrate them, and promise to support the development of activities and programs that can further support their engagement with society.
On top of the incredible youth that benefit from our ongoing programs, we would like to take this opportunity to recognize the philanthropic efforts of so many youth in the U.S. and abroad that have helped support our projects and fundraising campaigns, by raising awareness in their own communities and stepping up to the plate to create better lives for their peers across the world. They have demonstrated a committment to civic engagement that they should truly be proud of, and we are elated to have them in our network of international supporters.
First and foremost, the Hope for Haiyan team continues to amaze us with their dedication to our Supplemental Feeding program in Cangumbang, as well as their overall drive to educate their peers about the need that exists in the world today.
Recently, some inspiring youth from three elementary schools in Sturgis, Michigan, Wenzel, Congress, and Wall, raised funds to support our Rice Subsidy program and also provide new chairs and desks for elementary students in the Philippines. The honest concern they showed for students just like them in the Philippines is heartwarming to say the least.
These groups of youth, and many like them all around the world, will continue to find more and more innovative ways to make a difference and better the world we live in through civic engagement, if we continue to provide opportunities for them and support them along the way. We encourage you to take time on this year’s International Youth Day to recognize, support, and celebrate youth in your community, school, and family. Youth are indeed, the key to our future.
In this landmark year, as leaders prepare to adopt a bold new vision for sustainable development, the engagement of youth is more valuable than ever. At this critical moment in history, I call on young people to demand and foster the dramatic progress so urgently needed in our world…Let us all support young people in creating a future where our planet is protected and all people live in dignity.