Building Resilience in Youth
According to the United Nations (UN) there are 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world. They estimate this is the largest youth population that ever existed. Sadly, many of these young people live in risky environments and are often led to engage in at-risk behaviors that may ruin their health and shorten their lives. About 1 in 10 of the world’s youth live in conflict zones and 24 million of them are out ofschool.Politicalinstability,brokenhomes, poverty, and limited opportunity for leadership, have led to increasing isolation of youth in societies and in faith communities globally.
Education is a key factor in our progress towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Accessible education can play a role in the prevention of conflict, in eradicating poverty and also in promoting good health and well-being among youth. Seventh-day Adventists schools play a major part in this effort focusing on wholistic education of mind, body and spirit.
One of the ways Seventh-day Adventists schools are impacting the lives of young people is through the Youth Alive (YA) program. YA focuses on building resilience among youth through intergenerational relationships that foster empowerment and also disciple youth. Young people can lead Youth Alive clubs and Friendship groups, impacting the lives of their peers in a positive way. Through Youth Alive, young people can build strong relationships with adult mentors and peers, grow spiritually and find their purpose through service opportunities. YA focuses on educating youth about healthy living and empowering them to say no to at-risk behaviors, such as substance or behavioral addictions, violence, suicide and early sex. Youth Alive is built on scientific evidence, and this wholistic learning experience can build resilience for teens and young adults in schools, church and community settings where they live, learn and worship. (See www.YouthAlivePortal.org and page 2 of this newsletterformoreYouthAliveresources).
On August 12, the UN observes the International Youth Day and in 2019 the theme is “Transforming education.” Rooted in Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for SDGs, leaders around the world recognize the crucial role that quality education plays in youth development. Youth-led organizations, such as a Youth Alive club, together with educators/adult mentors, other stakeholders and Governmental institutions can partner in transforming education so young people can thrive and reach their utmost potential. This International Youth Day, may you take the opportunity to be intentional in empowering the youth in your sphere of influence. God can transform your intentional efforts into transformed resilient lives.