12 August: UN International Youth Day
According to the UN right now there are 1,8 billion young people between the age of 10-24 years. However, 1 out of 10 lives in a conflict zone while 24 million do not attend school. Today, we celebrate the International Youth Day and it is our chance to get the attention of the world. We, the children and young volunteers of YouSmile, The European Student Voluntary Network of the NGO “The Smile of the Child” on the occasion of this day which is dedicated to “Safe Places for Youth” are going to talk about our place in which we not only feel safe but respected too: we are going to talk about YouSmile.
In YouSmile, we learn about our rights and we unite our strength with other children and youth in order to stand up for the rights of every child in our world. We participate in voluntary actions by helping at the Support Centers for Children & Family of the Organization, doing recreational activities with children at hospitals and many other actions. The most important aspect of YouSmile is that here the adults, the “grown ups”, hear us, ask about our opinion on crucial issues that concern us and we all together make it possible to have our voice heard as far as possible!
The “grown ups” keep saying “Give voice to children and youth…”. You should know that we have a voice, we do not need anyone to give it to us, we just need the older ones to stand beside us, listen to us, trust us and encourage us to express ourselves: To take the voice of every child into consideration and try to turn our visions into reality. Just like another “grown up” who took into consideration the voice of a child 23 years ago and now more than a million of children in need have been saved.
So, this year’s International Youth Day, we want to remind you that we are here, we want to participate and express ourselves in order to defend every child and young person and eventually change our future. Together, we can build a strong and hopeful tomorrow. Do not forget though that in order to achieve this you should listen to us today…
The YouSmile Team
In the course of the past year YouSmile:
- Organized more than 30 voluntary actions in which 140 students and youth participated and spread smiles children in need.
- Organized the 2nd YouSmile Awards highlighting actions and initiatives of 6000 students, both individually and in groups, that had a positive impact to society and inspired other children or adults.
- Carried out an Awareness Week against Bullying in March with a number of anti-bullying actions and the participation of 1500 students across Europe who promoted the message SPEAK NOW in various ways
- Implemented actions on the occasion of Safer Internet Day
- Participated in the European Youth Event which took place in the European Parliament at Strasbourg by presenting the workshop “Start your own raising awareness campaign”.
- Participated as a member in Eurochild Children’s Council & in the Children Participation Reference Group of the European Network Eurochild.
In 6 years of successful actions YouSmile has given the floor to more than 5.000 students and more than 100 schools across Greece though its informational website, TV and Radio Platform.
In addition, more than 450 shows have been produced with social, cultural and entertainment content, while students had the opportunity to organize and participate to more than 30 campaigns with the aim to mobilize and raise awareness about various issues related to children such as bullying, abuse against children, teen runaways, gaming and safe internet use.
The action of YouSmile is supported by the scientific personnel of “The Smile of the Child” and constitutes one of the main tools of the Organization in its effort to inform children via the social media on the serious problems of abuse, their rights, the operation and services of the National Helpline for Children SOS 1056 and the European Helpline for Children 116 111 in case they need to talk and/or seek help and guidance.
Learn more about YouSmile on its website on www.yousmile.gr
Learn more ΗΕRE about the International Youth Day campaign realized by the United Nations on this 12th of August.