Youth volunteering as a preparatory tool for the future.

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Youth volunteering as a preparatory tool for the future.

Written by Ines Costa y Teresa Juncal Pires

Empowering young people with an inclusive and fair democratic culture is essential to increase their engagement in politics at local, regional, national, and European level.

This connection should be fostered through civic education, so that young people can acquire knowledge about the political system, their rights and how to get involved. But also, through environmental education, to recognise their crucial role in environmental action, to promote understanding of the challenges facing the world and to help young people acquire the knowledge, skills, and competences they need to enjoy a better quality of life and to contribute to the formulation and implementation of policies for a more environmentally responsible and socially just society, both now and in the future.

From the point of view of raising awareness on political, civic, and environmental issues, youth volunteering is an extremely useful tool to prepare young citizens for the future, offering them practical opportunities to apply their acquired knowledge and to promote a more participatory environment.

Such initiatives play a crucial role in creating citizens who are aware of and committed to the well-being of the community and the environment. By participating in volunteering activities, young people become protagonists of social change in their community, gain a practical insight into the functioning of the political system and how they themselves can contribute to the democratic process, and deepen their understanding of issues related to environmental responsibility, thus developing their civic and environmental awareness.

By understanding the impact of their actions on the community in which they live, at local, national, or European level, young people themselves become advocates of the importance of their peers’ participation in politics, of their civic responsibility and of the relevance of their contribution to the common good.

Volunteering is also an excellent opportunity for young people to develop leadership and decision-making skills, preparing them to play an important role in civic and political life, both now and in the future.

Young people’s contributions to a future adapted to the realities and contexts of future generations.

In order to ensure a realistic future, it is essential to involve young people in various areas of society.

Policies created today, to be implemented in the medium and long term, are developed by generations with sometimes outdated knowledge, resulting in policies and solutions that are outdated in relation to the future needs of society.

At the same time as we think we are creating solutions for the future, by doing so without the input of young people, we are moving towards a world of processes, methodologies, and solutions in which they are not involved now and, in the future, systematically excluding them from building solutions to the challenges they face.

This generation has a very important role to play in moving towards an environmentally responsible and socially just future. Their knowledge, attributes, perspectives, and creativity are valuable resources in the democratic process. With this in mind, we recognise that intergenerational dialogue, combining the experiences of different generations in society, is essential to build a future with personalised, realistic, and applicable long-term solutions.

The fresh and innovative approach of young people to today’s challenges, combined with the experience of other generations, allows for creative and disruptive solutions to current and future problems that have not yet been solved.

Young people’s innovative perspective is often shaped by emerging technologies, social change, and contemporary cultural dynamics. Growing up in the information age, this generation has access to an extraordinary amount of knowledge that contributes to a unique understanding of the world.

The absence of preconceived notions or entrenched assumptions in older generations can be a positive lever, allowing an openness to new ideas and a willingness to question current policies. Their input can be a valuable source of creativity and fresh solutions to today’s challenges. Their ability to think outside the box and adopt unconventional approaches can lead to significant progress in a number of areas.

However, their lack of experience of the past can in some cases limit a deeper understanding of particular historical and cultural contexts and of national and European policies. It is therefore essential to promote a healthy intergenerational dialogue, encouraging the exchange of ideas between younger and older people. In this way, it is possible to combine the innovation and energy of the young with the wisdom and experience of the older generations, creating a balanced and enriching environment for all and building an evolutionary path.

Young men and women walking on the grass, carrying rakes, plastic bags and talking.

Volunteering: personal and social impact

Choosing to volunteer is an expression of social commitment and participation, as well as personal enrichment and growth. Being part of a community is much more than just being part of it, it is helping to make it more resilient and transformative for the common good.

There are countless opportunities for volunteering at both national and European level, but choosing which projects and causes to get involved in is not always an easy task. First of all, it is important to understand what your goals and expectations are for this mobilisation. Then it is important to find out how available you are, what kind of work you would like to do and what skills you have to offer.

With so much on offer, it is also important to know which institutions we are going to support and whether they are reliable and credible.

Only through a collective and integrated effort will we evolve as a society, and young people will undoubtedly play a key role in this evolution.

Supporting documents:

  1. World Youth Report (2020)
  2. Summary report “A Participação Cívica dos jovens em Portugal” Fundação Gulbenkian
  3. European Parliament Youth Survey
  4. Conclusions adopted by the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting on the social dimension of a sustainable Europe for young people at their meeting on 15-16 May 2023.

Links

  1. ASPEA Voluntariado.
  2. European Solidarity Corps.
  3. European Volunteering Portal.
  4. Eurodesk.

complementary activities

Interviews for Voice your vision – European Year of Youth
Environmental Volunteering ASPEA
Youth Volunteering and Social Transformation.
Prize «Boas Práticas de Voluntariado Jovem» 2022.

EASY

Youth volunteering as a preparatory tool for the future.

Written by Ines Costa y Teresa Juncal Pires

Empowering young people with an inclusive and fair democratic culture is essential to increase their engagement in politics at local, regional, national, and European level.

This connection should be fostered through civic education, so that young people understand the political system, their rights and how to get involved, and through environmental education, so that they understand their key role in environmental action and the challenges facing the world, helping them to develop policies that aim for a more environmentally responsible and socially just society, now and in the future.

Youth volunteering is an important tool for preparing young people, providing them with practical opportunities to apply their knowledge and promoting a participatory environment. It is essential for the development of conscientious citizens committed to the well-being of the community and the environment, leading them to develop their civic and environmental awareness, to understand the functioning of the political system and their contribution to the democratic process, and to become advocates of the importance of political participation for other young people.

It is also an excellent opportunity to develop leadership and decision-making skills, preparing them to play an important role in civic and political life now and in the future.

The voice of young people to ensure a future in line with the realities and contexts of future generations.

Ensuring a realistic future requires the active participation of young people in various sectors of society. Policies created today to be implemented in the future are developed by generations with sometimes outdated knowledge, with the risk of creating solutions that are inadequate for society’s future needs.

The younger generation has an important role to play in building a future that meets their current needs, bringing knowledge, perspective and creativity, valuable resources to the democratic process. Combining young people’s innovation with the experience of other generations through intergenerational dialogue is essential to finding realistic and sustainable solutions.

Young people’s innovative approach to current challenges, shaped by new technologies and the social changes they have experienced during their development, offers creative solutions to current and future challenges. The lack of preconceived ideas, sometimes ingrained in older generations, can stimulate openness to new ideas and out-of-the-box thinking, leading to significant breakthroughs in various fields.

However, lack of experience of the past can limit understanding of historical and cultural contexts as well as national and European policies. It is therefore essential to promote intergenerational dialogue and exchange of ideas, integrating the innovation of the young with the wisdom of the older generations to build an evolutionary path.

Group of eco volunteers leaving park after cleaning lawns. Young men and woman walking on grass, carrying rakes, plastic bags and talking. Waste collection concept

Volunteering: personal and social impact

Choosing to volunteer is an expression of social commitment and participation, as well as personal enrichment and growth. Being part of a community is much more than just being part of it, it is about helping to improve it for the benefit of all.

There are many opportunities to volunteer, but choosing which projects and causes to get involved with is not always easy. First of all, it is important to know what your goals and expectations are. Then you need to be aware of your availability, the type of work you would like to do and the skills you can offer.

With so much on offer, it is also important to know which institutions we are supporting and whether they are genuine and credible.

It is only through everyone’s efforts that we will develop as a society, and young people will undoubtedly play a key role in this development.

Interviews for Voice your vision – European Year of Youth
Environmental Volunteering ASPEA
Youth Volunteering and Social Transformation.

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Youth volunteering is a very useful tool. Why?
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