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World Youth Skills Day: Empowering Future Generations

Published by: LifeWorks,

In 2014, the United Nations declared July 15 as World Youth Skills Day, recognizing the rise in youth unemployment as one of the most significant problems facing society. Encouraging children and youth to pursue their interests and get involved in extra-curricular activities promotes skill development that can help them both at home and in their future careers.

Here are some ways to motivate your children to get involved in your community:

Volunteer together. Whether you help an elderly neighbor bring in their groceries or volunteer at the local food bank together, the act of helping someone else enables you both to think about other’s needs and feel proud of making a difference. These acts provide the opportunity to practice important skills used in the workplace and at home, such as teamwork, communication and problem-solving.

Embrace cultural diversity. Encourage questions, self-directed research and discussions around race, gender, culture, and more. Introduce them to a variety of people with differing beliefs and customs. Research various multicultural societies in your area, such as and take in an event together.

Encourage empathy. Be a good role model by acknowledging and valuing others’ feelings; demonstrate empathy and understanding when someone is sad, frustrated, or in need of help. Simple things like showing compassion to the people you encounter in your daily life will show children the need for strong empathy skills, setting them up for success later in life.

Become a youth mentor. Mentoring helps young people by providing a positive influence in their lives. It helps them feel like they matter and assures them they are not alone in dealing with life’s daily challenges. For more information visit American Mentors.

Education is key. Improving access to education and skills training for young people, so they can achieve their goals is critical. The U.S. government has taken action to make it easier for young people to reach their potential by launching Pathways for Youth in 2013. The draft strategy formulates a strengths-based vision for youth and defines three goals: Promote coordinated strategies to improve youth outcomes; Promote evidence-based and innovative strate­gies; Promote youth engagement and part­nerships.

If you need more information on getting started on being a positive influence on the youth in your life, your EAP can help.

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