At the core of youth empowerment is the belief that young people are capable of incredible things. When young people have exposure to inspiring ideas and opportunities and the tools to build their confidence – they can take on anything and everything.
- Hally Spiller (2021)
The importance of
Today, youth in America are making strides to change the world around them. From powerful social media movements, to political organizing and protesting on the ground, the voice and passion of young people have convinced society to take us seriously (Boakye, 2016).
Boakye (2016) states that one major component in youth engagement that is overlooked is youth empowerment. When youth are “empowered,” they have the skills, critical awareness, and opportunities to positively impact their own lives and the lives of other individuals, organizations, and communities.
Empowering Youth Means to:
Include youth in decision-making processes
Honor the youth voice
Understand and implement their honest opinions and ideas
Be willing to share your adult power and privilege in order to make the community a better place for both young people and adults alike
Foundation of Self-Empowerment
Spiller (2021) shares that an empowered young person recognizes their capabilities, self-determination and worth. They feel comfortable trying new things. They have the confidence to take risks and are aware that failure is a step toward progress, not a sign to give up (Spiller, 2021). They don’t use the opinions of others as their guideposts in life. They stand up for their values. And they know they have built a foundation of self-empowerment to rely on in times of struggle or when they are feeling lost and need to recalibrate.
While some kids and teens are born with an innate sense of “what if” and the courage to act on it, most look to the world around them to gain the ideas, excitement and skills to explore their potential and test the waters of their capabilities (Spiller, 2021). Encouragement and opportunities go a long way in helping a kid or teen come out of their shell and take on new experiences, and a caring mentor – parent, caregiver, teacher or youth development provider – can be a powerful ally in youth empowerment (Spiller, 2021).
What Letters to Hope can do to support Youth Empowerment
Click on Youth Empowerment to learn how you can get involved.
Letters to Hope values Youth Empowerment because the young are the future of today. We have issues destroying our world such as climate change, terrorism, conflict and more. 1/3 of our life we spend on achieving certificates and degrees only to find ourselves faced with one of the greatest challenges of our life finding a purpose.
Letters to Hope is here to provide the support for our student leaders who have made it an effort to volunteer, serve and lead in their community. We provide our students with the tools and resources to start a Letters to Hope club at their school. We give them the funds to host their meetings, complete community projects, and have lunch parties during club meetings. Students are also motivated to get out in their community by volunteering and fundraising. Apart from starting their own club, once a year we host a Leadership Conference to award our students with scholarships, certificates and awards.