Today, July 15, is World Youth Skills Day. The United Nations declared this day as an annual marker to inspire better socio-economic conditions for the youth of the world and addressing the life-affecting (and often life-diminishing) challenges of unemployment and under employment.
One in five youths, or 125 million, are working at jobs but still live in extreme poverty, surviving on LESS THAN US$1 per day. When entire families live in similar situations, and there is dependence on each able-bodied worker to help support the family for survival, finding ways to improve the skills, and thus better the jobs, of young people leads to incredible benefits. With a skills upgrade, poverty goes down, health and vitality rise, self-esteem grows, family and community harmony increases...everybody wins. While, in broad generalities, this issue is most urgent in developing countries, it would be a mistake to assume it is not also vitally important close to home. Skills development and education open doors in any community.
Is there a program where you could volunteer your time mentoring youth? You needn't be an expert or industry leader. Think of what it could mean for a young person to learn to read and write who previously couldn't. Learning to cook and food preparation. Discovering how to sew. Gaining skills with tools and construction projects. Electronics/rewiring, plumbing, painting. Teaching others. Public speaking. Financial management. Investing. Customer service. Driving. Gardening/planting/growing food. Cleaning house skills. Organizing. Computer skills. Programming. Typing. Laundry. Balancing a bank account. Planning an event/party/potluck. Making change/handling money from others. Shopping for food or clothes. How many of these are you expert at yet barely think of on a daily basis because you are simply so used to doing it all? Have you already had to teach your growing children some of these "life skills"?
Your skills are valuable, and your generosity with them can make a profound difference.
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Here is a list of resources from the U.N. about getting involved with training youth.