5 Ways You Can Help Youth This Holiday

Want to help youth this year? There are budget cuts all over the country, crime against youth is rising, youth joblessness is booming, youth homelessness is rising, more young people are dropping out of schools than ever before… Reality shows that young people have a ways to go towards equity and parity with adults. Here are five ways you can help youth this holiday season.

5. Learn about youth activism. All young people have the power to change the world; unfortunately only a few are using it. Learn about them, what they care about, what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. 
4. Discover new ways to show youth you care. Young people don’t need more well-meaning, poorly-acting adults in their lives. Its not enough to care – we have to do something. Learn new ways that adults are helping young people right now.
3. Change the way you treat youth around you – right now. Every adult who considers themselves an ally to young people has an ethical responsibility to examine and re-examine the ways they interact with youth. This process is never complete, and requires deliberation, reflection and critical thinking throughout our interactions with all children and youth – including the children in our families, the students in our classrooms, the youth in our programs and the neighbors in our communities.
2. Make a commitment to a youth and ask them to keep you accountable. Everyday young people are made to pay attention to the will of adults: attend school, don’t misbehave, turn in your homework, go to tutoring, graduate, go to practice, attend choir practice, finish your homework, mind your manners, get to bed on time. When was the last time a child or youth held adults accountable? The promises we make, the stories we tell, the deals, the attitudes, the ideas, the activities… all of these are done by adults, for young people, without young people being able to hold us accountable. Turn the tables and give them the opportunity – the power – to change our minds and keep us true to our words.
1. Ask young people how you can help them. Its an unfortunate reality that many adults think Youth Voice simply means talking about what young people think. We have an ethical responsibility to go out and connect with youth directly by creating honest and open environments where their sincere concerns, critical thinking, and powerful ideas can influence, direct, guide and lead the activities that affect them everday. 
And that’s it. Let me know what you are doing to help youth this holiday – and everyday of the year.
Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to http://commonaction.blogspot.com. Learn more at adamfletcher.net!

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