Channeling the Power of Youth

Supporters in Action

As a high school student, it is easy to see the world through a very narrow lens. You care about the next test, assignment or paper. As teenagers we spend hours illuminated by the blue light of Facebook searching through photo albums of parties we weren’t invited to or looking at the new profile picture of a friend’s friend.

Your life seems endlessly scheduled by sports teams, afterschool clubs and SAT studying. A bad grade on a test can seem like the end of the world – all of your dreams colliding into nothingness. When you know your friend is ignoring your texts or think your teacher hates you, it can feel like there is nothing more important than your personal struggles.

However, when you zoom out of the single shot of your own life and see some of the challenges facing young people around the world, you recognize how silly your struggles may be. And more importantly, when you realize that 25% of the world’s population are youth, you realize you can instead channel your energy into making a global impact.

That is why activism is so essential for teens.  It is precisely through working on behalf of others that you begin to understand that the world and the issues that it contains are so much bigger than your own – and definitely bigger than failing a test or missing a friend’s party.

Through working with Girl Up, I’ve realized that supporting your peers can also in turn help yourself. By volunteering and becoming passionate about something that helps improve the world, you have the opportunity to grow, learn new skills, and meet incredible new people.

There is so much more to the world than high school and the frivolousness that can come with it. When you advocate for change around issues of importance and see the effect your efforts have on the lives of others, you get to see that the world does not revolve around you, but rather you are part of something so much larger than yourself.

Happy International Youth Day!

This is a guest post by Yardena Gerwin. Yardena Gerwin is from New York, NY, and is a Teen Advisor, class of 2015-2016.  She survives on three “Bs”: bagels, books, and Broadway shows.