The future is bright

full-alphaTaken from our January 2017 e-bulletin. Read it in full here. You can also sign up for future e-bulletins by registering here.

The future is bright

As we round into 2017, it seems all too common to read about terrible things that are happening in the world. We live in an age where the sharing of information is instantaneous.¬†Through the lens of the internet — and particularly social media — we’re bombarded around the clock with images and videos, information and misinformation. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless.

After all, what can we average folks possibly do about war and terror in the middle east, or the impact of environmental degradation and climate change, or the results of democratic elections in other countries?

I have no answer to those questions. I like to think that if we each do our part to get informed and be engaged in these and other issues that truly matter, the collective result of our efforts will lead to positive change. Of course, I could be wrong about that, but what other option to we have?

I do know one thing though. As someone who has worked in fields related to youth engagement for over a decade, I have met with and engaged thousands of young folks in New Brunswick and beyond on a wide array of issues of great importance to society. I can tell you without any hesitation that the future is bright.

Our organization prides itself on our engagement model that puts youth at the center of both program development and delivery. I’m fond of saying that the most important thing we do at PFY is help to create the leaders of tomorrow.

Sure, our programming is primarily supportive, not to say therapeutic, in nature. And yes, we typically strive to work with underserved populations and folks who maybe don’t have the same opportunities as others would. This to me only hammers the point: We help develop leaders.

But here’s what we often don’t say: Our work in helping to create leaders sounds far more difficult than it really is. More often than not, the youth we meet with and engage already have fantastic leadership qualities. They just don’t know it.

Most youth involved in our programs are progressively minded, forward thinking, resourceful, empathetic, and very cognizant of the important issues of the day. More often than not, their perception is fine-tuned to issues that really, truly matter to everyone — not just themselves, or their towns, or their friends — to everyone.

Feeling down about the state of something you’ve seen on Facebook or in the news? Strike up a conversation with a young person in your life. You may be surprised with what you find. They may not have immediate solutions for tyranny or complacency or fear, but they do understand far more than many adults may think. Try it, and trust me when I say: The future is bright.

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