Youth & Community Engagement Goes Hand-in-Hand

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What is community engagement?

Simply put, community engagement is an initiative by its members to create a positive social change. It is the partnership between members of the community through their involvement with the planning and decision-making processes. They are able to express their opinions and exchange new information that would be helpful to others. This engagement is very hands-on ranging from community council meetings, parent involvement with academic initiatives, youth organization events and programs, as well as environmental initiatives.

Since, the idea of a ‘community’ is inclusive of all members, their engagement provides perspective. If ones opinion differ from popular opinion, creating a balanced understanding through conversation can add layers to the decision-making process.

With developing communities, it is important to encourage and educate the next generation. Allowing younger members the opportunity to voice their opinions and share new information, tends to offer a new perspective that may have been previously overlooked.

Most often, we look to our youth as the leaders of tomorrow. They are members of our communities who actively participate, explore, and engage in its development. Dedicating their time and talents to produce a positive impact is a fundamental pillar of what defines youth community engagement. Their involvement provides a space to recognize their personal abilities by helping  improve upon the conditions and challenges that directly impact their everyday lives. It can also increase the amount of empowerment for themselves and members of their community.

To keep up their desire to be involved in their communities, youth need to be educated by methods not commonly found in a classroom. By using programs, technologies, and focusing on topics young people hold a passion for, the youth can become more aware of the issues affecting their community. Taking advantage of communication tools such as social media platforms, will allow them to be more hands-on with bringing awareness to the community cause. Youth are more likely to be involved in fundraising initiatives such as sport tournaments, selling desserts and beverages, or creative arts showcases. These initiatives create the opportunity for youth to be able to showcase their unique abilities and use their social medias to share this information with peers from other communities. Empowering youth to be apart of the discussion is another great way to get them engaged in the community. They would be more likely to provide their input if they feel it will be a valuable contribution to the discussion. Not only do they gain a stronger sense of self-efficacy and confidence, but they also build stronger connections through their sense of belonging and relationship built with older members.

With information be shared and relationships being built, community members are building lasting traditions that can be practiced long term. For example, community sweep days, clothing or food drives, holiday sports tournaments, summer cooking parties, and various other ideas can help strengthen the connection and pride community members share.

Having youth and adults working together to produce meaningful results for the community is what a true community is all about. If you are considering making an impact in a positive way in your local community, establishing a partnership with other members of your community  is a chance for you to co lead instead of sitting quietly to the side, as well as further engage by providing frequent and thoughtful contributions.

A Morning Routine Aspiring Leaders Should Do

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Our day-to-day habits can be hard to build and break. Being young allows us to try and understand what is interesting yet beneficial for us. Whether you dedicate just a few moments a day or a few hours a day for your own self-development, you are setting the tone needed to produce productivity and creativity.

Start by planning your day the night before. Leadership is about having a vision. And developing a vision requires a plan of action. Good leadership skills are essential to advancing your individual development, but leadership is much more than simply being in charge.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”


John Quincy Adams

If you can effectively translate your vision enough to inspire others, this is setting the example. Having an idea of what you would like to get done in a set a framework for smooth functionality. Be sure that the task and strategies you have come up with, contribute to your vision both long term and short term. Make these strategies realistic and measurable so you can monitor your progress.

Then, time for sleep! Getting proper rest is key to revitalizing the body and mind. You want to be able to tackle the day full of energy, with a great attitude. A good night’s’ rest should consist of at least 8 to 10 hours of sleep.

After getting your proper rest, rise up early enough to ‘get the worm’. One of the ways to succeed in getting the best possible start to winning your day-to-day is by setting rituals or routines so you can avoid the scrambling of putting together a to-do list. If you can make such routine more of a habit, you can create a positive momentum of proactive behavior. There are numerous studies that link individuals who begin their day in the early morning hours to more positive traits such as being proactive, having better attitudes, more likely to be kind to others, and tend to be smarter. An early start creates time for self-development. It provides more time for reading, meditation, prayer, recollection, making a nutritious breakfast, even getting some exercise. Including a means of higher learning, health, or creativity at the beginning of the day, redirects your energy into being more doing rather than reacting.

While in this momentum of ‘doing’, completing small tasks such as making your bed is a success habit of ‘getting things done’; followed by feeding your second brain, the stomach. After waking up, drink glass of water, orange juice, or apple juice to help replenish and awaken your body, activating your nerve cells for the day.

Once you are awakened, you should take at least 10 to 15 minutes for mindfulness. Mediation, reading or writing are great ways to center and focus your mind and energy on producing a clear space for the day. This also helps to relieve the excess tension that might have remained after getting your 8 to 10 hours of sleep.

With a refreshing start to your day, you are now in a more positive space to begin your day. It is important to carry a positive, can-do attitude during your daily interactions. Others can gain a sense of inspiration simply by way of conversation or working alongside of you. The best way to strengthen these interactions is through more communication. Getting the opportunity to build relationships with your family, peers, or colleagues to learn more about what their interests or concerns are, creates conversation full of depth and meaning. For any individual, active listening is a great trait to build upon. Someone who listens to suggestions, ideas, and feedback from other people, and provides the same for others in return, it all about building advancing in your self development as well as aiding in someone else’s self development.  

Another thing that individuals naturally do is learn. Engaging in your surroundings by taking in the knowledge of everything you experience from your day, can be shared with your peers and members of your community. Learning is one of the major keys to success! It keeps your mind sharp, and your skills fresh.

It prepares you for new challenges that may come your way. In leadership, this is someone who can see learn from an obstacle and see the bigger picture enough to later anticipate problems before they occur. This is a valuable skill to have when handling complex problems. The ability to foresee and provide suggestions for avoiding potential problems also helps you recognize opportunities that others overlook, which will certainly aid in your self-development.

A great way to reflect upon your day is to dedicate more time to mindfulness, specifically sitting in silence or journaling the events of the day.  Reflection helps you to discern the value of your day, whether your behaviors, energy, focus were enough to contribute to your vision. Everything you do acts as a building block to how you intend to become what you have envisioned for yourself. By following these daily habits you can take the grunt work out of you self development journey and focus on the real work to achieve your vision.