What is Unveiling Youth Potential?
Unveiling Youth Potential (UYP) is a youth empowerment program aimed at realizing the potential of youth and young adults by supporting their leadership roles in building strong, resilient communities. This program was developed out of our beliefs that: positive social change is necessary for the world to progress in a way that is healthy and vibrant; and that youth and young adults represent the group that offers the greatest hope for this change as they go beyond societal, cultural, governmental and institutional barriers to enliven the wisdom of communities around the world. Furthermore, we believe that youth and young adults desire positive social change…in fact, their future may depend on it.
What is Included in Unveiling Youth Potential?
UYP is an approach to youth leadership training and development, during which the following components are integrated:
- Wisdom Stories answer the question of WHY you want to inspire change. What is it that youth participants are passionate about, and what motivates them? What is it that makes them believe they are the right individuals to lead change?
- Community Mapping answers the question of WHERE you are going to inspire change. Participants may choose to focus on any community that they belong to, but they will be most influential in a community they deeply care about.
- Change Leadership answers the question of HOW you are going to inspire change. Unveiling Youth Potential introduces a leadership strategy called “Gentle Action”, adapted from a book of the same name by David F. Peat. Gentle action is all about introducing small changes that are sensitive, relevant, and culturally-aware.
- Social Entrepreneurship answers the question of WHAT you are going to do to inspire change. Unveiling Youth Potential teaches social entrepreneurship from a perspective of compassion. The goal is that youth participants would see themselves differently in relation to the world around them – that they would feel empowered to respond to social issues.
What are the Goals of Unveiling Youth Potential?
Bridges aims to empower youth to be agents of change by supporting the development of capacities necessary to respond to the conditions of their environment and meet situational challenges. Through the UYP program, Bridges supports empowerment by inviting youth participants to reflect on themselves and their communities – and the connectedness between the two – and then take action by responding to community needs or priorities. This process sustains the practice of praxis, develops critical consciousness and social competency to unveil, build, and sustain youth potential and capacity. Youth become agents of change as they start to take action, engaging within their communities whether by just simply being kind to others, being a better neighbour, daughter, son, mother, father, sibling, or by initiating a social change project. Developing the capacity to engage with life’s challenges and subsequently take action are crucial pieces of learning, and Bridges believes that every youth has this potential: to lead and/or support social change. Through this approach, the building of individual empowerment will result in the realization of healthy and vibrant communities.