"Today's youth, tomorrow's leaders." This phrase has been heard and repeated far and wide, making for a popular statement about the future of the youth. And I agree; the youth are most certainly our most prized, most valuable possession, capable of shaping and reorganizing our world in ways that we never thought possible. Their importance has no limit. But truly, do they currently find themselves in a state to reach their full potential? Are they being offered enough resources, enough access to make an impact?
The answer is varied. According to the UN, 1 out of 6 adolescents is not in school, and this number is only rising; women and children spend 140 million hours each day just collecting water, diminishing the time they spend learning; violence and insecurity in the youth are perpetrated by this lack of education; 73% of youth surveyed in 2013 stated that it's difficult to access finance options in their country; youth remain excluded from political decision making even though half the world's population is under 30. They are not consulted by their governments when making important decisions, diminishing their impact on their futures.
This is why I've personally tackled this problem in Passaic with the creation of the Passaic Youth Council. These bright, talented young men and women have direct participation in governmental procedures. They can voice their opinions to me, which I always take to heart. They have access to anything I have access to, are given plenty of resources to shape their political and financial learning (such as leadership sessions), and are served in any way they need. So far, they have not disappointed me, as I knew they wouldn't: they have organized various events, with main topics ranging from mental health to climate change control to racial justice, to make their voices heard. The council is always welcoming incomers and their perspectives, ready to keep making change.