Posts Tagged ‘young people’
Well 2012 is up and running and I’ve been reflecting on my hopes and fears for the year ahead.
2011 was supposed to be the year of UK and global action for young people. It was a year in which I got a degree – but unfortunately, like so many other young people struggling to find work, have not been able to use it.
Worrying youth unemployment figures dominated the news and were a real talking point at last month’s Youth Advisory Board meeting. So many young people are struggling as I am, to get long-term work and facing the prospect of being among the first generations not able to afford housing and have the financial freedoms of our parents’ generation.
Looking at the bleak unemployment figures, combined with the bad press received over the summer’s riots, you’d be forgiven for thinking that 2011 wasn’t a great year for young people – and 2012 doesn’t hold much promise either.
But I’d like for a moment, to focus on the positive contributions that young people have made to society in the past year and will continue to make in 2012, in spite of the challenges they face.
For instance, the work that our Teamv projects carry out across the country, shows that plenty of young people really do care about helping others, are passionate about society and are contributing something positive to their community and themselves.
One of last year’s national award winners, Kirsty Ashton, has gone on to receive an MBE in the New Year’s honours list – showing that young people who challenge themselves and work hard enough really can get the positive public recognition they deserve.
For young people, the act of volunteering is a brilliant way to do some good for others – but also in the current climate, it’s a great opportunity for self-development and building recognition to strengthen your CV. A look over the inspiring stories of this year’s regional award winners is evidence of this.
Looking back, 2011 had plenty of bad news. We are in hard times. But I sit here knowing that our spirit and determination to do good through volunteering is as strong as ever. I don’t think we should focus on the fact that 2011 was supposedly the “year of action” for young people – because every year should be seen as a year for young people to flourish and take action.
In 2012, we should continue to fight negative public perceptions and show that we care, through doing good and bringing about positive change.
Exciting news! Ahead of the 2012 vinspired national awards, our judging panel has whittled down the hundreds of nominees who were put forward for an award and named the winners within each region across the country.
The annual awards are the largest of their kind and a really important part of vinspired’s work. They celebrate the achievements and dedication of young volunteers and aim to challenge negative attitudes towards young people by highlighting their inspiring creativity, motivation and generosity.
Really well done to all our nominees – we hope you all have an enjoyable and relaxing Christmas and feel immensely proud of your achievements. Our judges found each and every story shared totally inspiring and a real testament to the outstanding work that young volunteers do and the positive difference they make to their communities.
So what happens next? The regional winners will be shortlisted to national finalists in January 2012, with the overall national award winners revealed at a start studded awards ceremony in March. Check out the full rundown of winners by region, over on our national award pages.
At v we are committed to putting young people at the heart of everything we do, and this includes incorporating their views and input at all levels of our organisation. v20’s – our Youth Advisory Board – role is to influence and advise us on all areas of v’s works.
Four v20 also serve as trustees. The recent report A breath of fresh air: young people as trustees from the Charity Commission confirms the important role that young people have to play in actively directing the aims and objectives of charities, by taking on positions as Trustees.
The report shows that young people are being hugely under-represented in charities across the country, with those aged between 18 and 24 accounting for only 0.5% of trustees in England and Wales. v are hoping that this research will inspire many charities to expand their range of trustees, to incorporate a wider, more representative demographic.
The report highlights that almost half of charities have at least one board level position open, and some may have difficulties in recruiting new trustees. The most common route into trusteeship appears to be through volunteering, with almost all the young trustees interviewed in the research saying they had been recruited from existing volunteering positions in the charity. It is therefore crucial that charities and their trustees take an active role in recruiting and encouraging young people, and harnessing the new perspectives, enthusiasm and insight that they can bring. As one sector expert asserted: ‘the key thing is to increase awareness and confidence – both among younger people and organisations themselves”.
The report also stressed that not only was trusteeship a great way for young people to contribute to communities and affect change, it was also an ideal vehicle for their personal development. Young volunteers felt that their volunteering experience had helped them to develop new skills, such as building respect, enhancing their CV and labour market prospects, and developing their organisational and team work skills. Young trustees added that trusteeship had the additional value of providing them with the opportunity to develop their decision-making, financial accounting and management skills, whilst also increasing their maturity and confidence.
One of v’s young trustees, Mohammed Ahmed, fully endorsed the report’s findings, stating that “Being one of the 0.5% of young trustees in England, I feel empowered to actually make sure that my voice, and the voices of the thousands of young volunteers that work with v up and down the nation are heard within v. It also gives me the opportunity to personally develop, enabling my confidence to grow, and encouraging me to think both practically and strategically for the long-term benefits of the charity. It’s a great experience, which I’d recommend to any young person – it may be nerve-racking at first, but it’s truly rewarding.”
Having read the first chapter of the Anatomy of Youth, “Perspectives of Youth” these are my thoughts.
I am a rebellious lad who loves a good drink and causing some trouble, whether that’s getting into a brawl or smoking pretty much anything for a buzz! This is what the media says “Young People” like us are, but does that have to be who we are? We live in a society where we are constantly told who we are and what we are; leaving no space for us to decide for ourselves. Adults find it hard to comprehend that we are able to think and breathe for ourselves! They constantly sweep our opinions to the side, when the fact of the matter is that we are the generation who needs to deal with the problems they will leave behind! How can we get engaged in wanting to tackling these issues when 75% of us don’t believe we can influence change?
Just who are we? And what are we useful for? You have to deal with the calamity that has been left behind for you and your children, but you can’t do anything about it because you are “too young” and “too naive”. I am not sure about you, but I get sick and tired when adults talk to us so patronisingly and so knowingly. If they knew so much then why are we facing all these massive problems? They don’t seem to have the answer. I believe we all need to unite, irrespective of age, sex and race in order to come up with a solution. Adults say we are too young but one day it will be us who are the bankers, the doctors, the politicians – the people who will shape the future. So let us learn and let us voice our opinions and get our hands into molding the clay of the future.
I wish that the voting age will be lowered so young peoples views can be heard and expressed. But ultimately we have to consider if we will ever really be listened to? Even when we grow up, I believe the youth of tommorow will still be patronised and swept to one side, but this time it will be by us. Are we fighting a losing battle? Before we know it we will be “adults” and we will be one of them. In essence us and them… We’re not really that different. We both feel, think and laugh. Us, them, our children and our children’s children. What kind of democracy will we be living in if woman weren’t allowed to vote? What kind of democracy will we be living in if old people weren’t allowed to vote? What kind of democracy will we be living in if young people weren’t allowed to vote? I ask you, where’s the democracy?