How to Better Empower Youth: Shift to a Positive Approach How to Better Empower Youth: Shift to a Positive Approach
Social Innovation

How to Better Empower Youth: Shift to a Positive Approach

by Emma O'Brien

February 27, 2014

As I reflect on the state of youth development programs in Guinea and at home, a famous Lao Tzu proverb comes to mind:

“Go to the people: live with them, learn from them, love them, start with what they know, build with what they have. But of the best leaders, when the job is done, the task accomplished, the people will say: 'We have done it ourselves.'”

Youth are not a problem to be fixed. They are key stakeholders in our economy and our shared future. They are our next generation of business and civic leaders. We must incorporate them into development programs, empower them to lead, and adapt programs to better prepare them for our ever-evolving and interconnected world. Through positive youth development approaches we can build more successful and impactful programs, doing so with youth rather than for them.  

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How to Better Empower Youth: Shift to a Positive Approach