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Personal ReflectionAlmost half thetotal global population--46%--is under the age of 18and this young community symbolizes 100% of the future.
Highest youth engagement is absolutely vital for putting together an intelligent, healthy and a more peaceful world.Youth are the future of any society however; it is our youth today that is the most vulnerable of the lot with increasing social and domestic violence, broken families, exposure to drugs and abuse, unemployment and peer pressure.
Youth development process is related to adolescence; the time one when a child makes a transition to adulthood. The expectation is that during this transition the child would learn to make smart choices that equip him/ her to acquire the skills, competencies, behavior and values that will eventually make a successful life. These skills, competencies and values can be acquired by constant exposure to positive influences. The responsibility of providing these positive influences rests with the following:
- the family and whanau
- the society
- the educational establishment
Although each of these has a significant role to play in the development of a young mind, however; a negative influence/ experience at one place can be compensated by other positive surroundings. It has been proved through research and experiments that individual initiatives coupled with social support can facilitate positive growth in youth.
There is a growing concern over the issue of young children dropping out of school without completing their education. It is when the society fails to integrate the at-risk youth into the socially acceptable patterns that they become destructive. In times of recession, the government encourages students to continue their senior school education as it is cheaper to fund education retention than unemployment benefits. Also, looking at the pace at which the world is becoming technically and strategically advanced, there is very little chance of bringing these students back into the mainstream society.
Due to the negative influences and social indicators, the younger population in the country is battling with the challenges of everyday life. Additional research has shown that the top five challenges being faced by our younger generation are: Drugs, Alcohol, Teenage pregnancies, Smoking and Violence.
There is a need to give them a secure setting and a safe environment to discover their hidden talents and give them the chance to become mature and conscientious adults who are capable of making healthy choices. All of these issues give rise to the need of developing youth centers and integrated planning for their future. Our answer to this is developing a Youth Education Society - YES!
At a global level, various organizations and government agencies have taken part in the youth welfare initiatives and have successfully managed to attract and retain these kids from unfortunate circumstances. However, there is still a growing need for projects aimed at youth welfare and progress.
In this day and age and with the global economy in recession, most families have both parents working overtime to make ends meet. There is very little or no family time spent. This lack of involvement and guidance leads to children experimenting and making wrong choices. This current state of society is primarily responsible for repeated failure, poor performance and high drop-out rates in the schools. The main focus of the planned initiative at YES is to bring back these students in to the mainstream society. It is to give them the opportunity to make healthy choices and be respected for those choices.
One of the key success factors of this program would be to be able to align with the government initiatives and policies. The government is spending huge amounts of time, money and effort to mobilize these initiatives. This is the right time for the like minded forces to join hands and work towards a common goal.
At the beginning, it is important to ensure that the planned initiative is sustainable. A large number of such welfare programs fail because they are not aligned with the government policies and long term needs of the society. Historically, it has been seen that the projects that fail are stand alone and do not have a vision. In designing this program, we have taken all these aspects into consideration. We aim to provide an end to end solution - mapping it from school drop outs to providing educational, recreational and vocational training. We have taken it a step further by fostering a relationship with business establishments not only for funding but also for future job opportunities for our participants. It is our goal to create a social system where these young children are provided opportunities to learn and grow and make long lasting choices for their future.
The approach of partnering with the corporate, government, educational institutions and other NGO's is a unique feature of this program and makes it highly sustainable. These partnerships will be used to provide employment opportunities to the students in their chosen fields. Also, in the second phase of this program, our vision is to take it a step further and identify the at risk students. This is to ensure that these children do not reach a stage where they have to be brought back to mainstream society. There is a large population of affected children who are in need of such assistance. We see an enormous opportunity for running our programs successfully in the Auckland region. The statistics show that in New Zealand, the population of affected children is mainly concentrated around the metro cities. In fact, the largest population sits in Auckland. However, there are other areas where we can take our initiative once the model proves successful.
Given the facts and our analysis of the social situation, there is a growing need to provide a platform for the youth to channelize their energy in the right direction and YES as an organization strives to achieve the same successfully. The desired outcomes of this program are:
- education, training and employment - there is a smooth transition from education to training and eventually employment
- good health and physical wellbeing - the young individual makes the right choices in term of their physical and mental health and maintains their physical wellbeing
- personal development - the young individual has the capability to create a positive identity, make positive choices and to be better informed about the choices they make
- Social development - the young participant is reconnected with the family, society and environment. They contribute positively to the society and their families. .