Paying It Forward to the Youth, for the Youth and by the Youth
A civic space can only be great when there is truly a public place to make meaningful and collaborative exchanges. While this could be another motherhood statement, allow me to talk from memory, from experience, from the heart.
I’m writing this to maybe, somehow encourage and inspire all those who think that they are doing a thankless job in the humanitarian and development sector. The altruistic feeling of being able to help cannot be exchanged with money, the exact experience when you were present in the very moment of being able to help can never be lost and the pure happiness that it brings you are the things that you will forever be your positive guiding light as you go along with life.
I’m now 37 although I still feel 19, the time when I started being part of the Commission on Population’s (POPCOM) Adolescent Health and Youth Development Program (AHYDP) focusing on promotion of good health and well-being specifically, the youth who are more vulnerable and most often feel invincible. I have pledged to myself that I will always help my fellow youth in all that I can with the technical and adaptive expertise that I’ve learned through the years. Right after my own training by CSOs and youth organizations when I myself was a teenager, I decided to help the youth organizations around the world, registered or not, other CSOs, and co-founded a youth organization called “Artistikong Kabataan Philippines, Inc.” (AKP) a non-profit, non-governmental organization, whose principal activities primarily consist of creativity, connections, charity, and cross cultural communications based in Manila. Our members are youth volunteers who also help in providing civic spaces for their fellow youth. Yes, there’s a ripple effect to this. All those youth that we’ve trained, shown goodness somehow paid it forward like we did. Youth participation is very crucial since their fellow peers will only listen to them. We succeeded because the youth wants to be involved; the youth wants to step up, to lead and be heard. We succeeded because the youth saw our love for them. No drama, only genuine concern.
The best part that I’m most proud of is that those whom I have trained and mentored under the AHYDP have grown to be better citizens, young professionals who still help the next generation of youth organizations starting their own CSOs if not joining the government.
There is no framework. It’s all about having a good heart. It’s all about believing in the advocacy of keeping the civic space open and free for those who want to extend help and support as well.
As for now, I have started my own CSO in my province, and yes, I have started paying it forward.
How about you?