YOUTH LEADERSHIP ESSENTIAL #1

Role Models

80% of human behavior is shaped by role models, much of it subconsciously. 

Role models are also our strongest asset in phases of Transformational Learning, such as motherhood, starting a new enterprise, learning a new sport or instrument, and standing up for life on Earth among people in apathy.

Role models function to a great part via media, which is a message to make their stories omni-present in our young generation’s life, at home, school, in media and public spaces.

Role models have even stronger effect in recurring personal encounters, when all our senses are involved, which tells us to make true hero*ines, world experts and coaches present in the lives of our youth, and of their adult supporters. 

Young changemakers are uniquely inspirational, but they also equip us with youth-powered solutions for all youth to wield, many are even available as speakers, coaches and mentorsThey are KEY to inspiring a sense of hope, vision and action, not only among children and youth, but also among grown-ups.

 

The most inspirational videos I’ve ever seen. It makes me feel I want to get up and do something, too.

I am in tears. I never knew that young people could do this. This gives me so much hope. I am especially impressed by the effect it has on our younger siblings.

The most energized lesson of my career. Even the most quiet ones had something to say. Students ask how they can get involved.

For years, I tried in vain to motivate my students for activities. When watching Xiuhtezcatl’s speech at the UN, it all changed.

All students and teachers agree, the exhibit was the best of the school project day.

EXAMPLES

Here is a selection of young changemaklers and how their example has inspired others to get active.

Observe the broad scope of causes. 

ALICIA

achieved a non-GMO Girl Scouts cookie variety, sent 100 seed libraries to libraries and schools in all US states, planted edible community fruit tree alleys in her neighborhood, runs a year-long Fair Fashion lifestyle challenge, donates hair, has delivered 1 to of LEGO to Ugandan villages, has starred in a documentary film on soil restoration, participates in diverse charitable actitivies, wins wrestling titles and more 

LULU

has been a LemonAID stand enthusiast since childhood. With her LemonAID Warriors, she puts the FUN into fundraising by combining it with what we do anyway, sleepovers, school, birthdays, and Philanthro-Parties with a dose of magic and adventure.

Madi, age 9 : “My first experience was a Can Can Carnival, where we had to bring food donations and play games around cans. I was in kindergarten, and it has instilled a sense of activism in me ever since.”

XIUHTEZCATL

X first took the mic on stage at age 6. By age 12, he had banned pesticide use in parks, got coal ash regulated, stopped fracking in the city of Boulder. At age 13, he led the Children’s Climate Lawsuit, spent 4 days a week at events. By age 15, he had 300 teams on six continents.

“For years, I had tried in vain to animate my students for action. The day that we watched Xiuhtezcatl’s speech at the UN, everything changed. The class experienced a form of awakening. Student-led projects have become part of our life at school since.”

SAVE TOMORROW

“One day in class, we watched this film on youth that had achieved amazing things. We noticed they were not different from us. This made us think – what can we do?”

A few weeks later, 8 year old Mari, Lily and Alice changed her city’s law on installing solar panels on municipal buildings, then set out to protect the forest they grew up in playing from clearcutting. “The fight against climate change is like the fight of Harry Potter against the Deatheaters.”

TGIF

Cassandra and friends age 10 formed Turn-Grease-Into-Fuel to boost clean energy use and reduce waste. Soon, they had 200 restaurants in the program and since donated $200,000€ of profit to families in need.

Town councillor: “I had tried for years to initiate compulsory grease recycling, but no one wanted to hear of it. The kids appeared, and the law got passed right away. It was an a child shall lead them experience.”

BOOKS WITH NO BOUNDS

Emma responded to hearing of no books, low reading and writing skills but high youth suicide rates in 49 Canadian indigenous fly-in communities (no road access) by raising 2,000 books. As her photos appeared on news, schools enthusiastically joined in and six years later, she had raised and delivered 500,000 books. 

“As 12 year old Victoria heard of it, she launched the call at her school and in a week raised 1,200 books worth $12,000€.”

IQBAL

Iqbal was sold into slavery at age 4 to pay for his family’s $12 debt. At age 11, he escaped and started speaking out against child labor. Two months after he had returned to his village, he was shot dead.

“I was also 12 years old when I flipped through the newspaper looking for comics. I was shocked. I had no idea where Pakistan was on the world map, but I knew I had to do something.” Craig Kielburger, founder of Free The Children, the world’s biggest movement of children helping children

CRAIG

“That morning, I asked my teacher whether I could address the class on an issue I was passionate about. You have three minutes, Mr. Fedrigoni replied. So I said there’s  child labor, and I don’t know what to do, but we have to do something. Who is going to help me? 11 hands went up and Free The Children was born.”

Today, youth at 16,000 schools follow his example in the WE School program organizing local and global activities for justice, food, water, education, health through classroom and club activities.

The examples above act from their own motivation. They are not influenced or guided by their parents. Their parents are not involved in their activities. These youth act #fulltimeforfuture. They do not only care for their own initiatives, but they care much to empower their generation to turn their own passion and vision into action. Many are available as speakers and coaches to their peers. You can learn of many more young role models via our Competence Partners.