"What would our cities look like if we all started to see youth as powerful assets instead of problems?" Often there is the assumption that youth are trouble makers, they are young and naive and lack general awareness of the world around them. This misconception was struck down immediately while reading this article. These youth were given the opportunity to speak out and express themselves, which reflected significantly through these writings. While reading I could see that these youth had been given the opportunity to have a drastic amount of growth because of their capability to speak their minds.
"Arguments do no always have to be negative", these children have the ability to disagree with someone regardless of their role in society, but are able to construct their argument because they have been given that ability. People in this YIA program are able to disagree with one another, while still having the respect of that other person's opinion. This program allows youth to think for themselves, they are not given a set of ideas to think but instead are allowed to create their own.
"What got me through college was my ability to critically reflect on my own life history, the systems that shaped me yet often excluded me, and the vision I had for all young people behind me." While thinking back on my own experiences of my college education I had typically learned the most in those classes that allowed me to express myself. This idea of the teacher lecturing students for two hours while we frantically scribble down pages of notes needs to be changed. Classrooms are a place where community should take place, where we can have discussion, debate and critical thinking.
The Roots and Remedies gathering had this similar concept for the youth they worked with. The groups were able to come together and talk about different concepts such as "what is education", or "what is democracy". These youth were able to talk among each other and come up with visuals for these concepts. It is critical that we have programs like this that get youth talking and thinking about concepts that are beyond what surrounds them directly. I wish that when I was in middle or high school something like this was available to me. To get youth from all around the world together and see how different and alike their cultural backgrounds are would be such an enriching and enlightening experience that everyone should be able to have at least once.
Youth in Habitat for Humanity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKjYxUD7b_g