International Youth Day (IYD) was created by the United Nations and first observed in 1999. The purpose of this day is to bring attention and awareness to cultural and legal issues surrounding youth. It is our moral obligation to help support and ensure that today’s youth are having their many needs met.
This year's IYD theme is “Youth Engagement for Social Action”. According to an article posted by the UN;
Enabling the engagement of youth in formal political mechanisms does increase the fairness of political processes by reducing democratic deficits, contributes to better and more sustainable policies, and also has symbolic importance that can further contribute to restore trust in public institutions, especially among youth. Moreover, the vast majority of challenges humanity currently faces, such as the COVID-19 outbreak and climate change require concerted global action and the meaningful engagement and participation of young people to be addressed effectively.
This year’s International Youth Day is spotlighting on developing youth engagement at all levels.
1. Local/Community level. 2. National level (formulation of laws, policies, and their implementation); and, 3. Global level.
When families, communities and society come together to engage with youth, we allow them to feel seen and heard. This encourages self-responsibility, inspires growth and grants them the confidence to engage in positive community involvement. This is an investment in their futures as well as our own.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing has imposed feelings of disconnection for many. Especially vulnerable groups such as seniors as well as youth on a social and emotional level. Intergenerational connection brings upon meaning and enjoyment of life. Lack of purpose, loneliness and feelings of isolation contribute to the mental health crisis and contribute to depression and anxiety. The opportunity for seniors to engage with youth by sharing their lived experience, skills and wisdom can improve quality of life. This helps strengthen communities by exposing our young people to the aging process helping them cultivate compassion.