More than 20 percent of our country’s population is aged 15 to 24, making the Philippines one of the youngest populations in Southeast Asia. This poses a challenge for every Filipino to ensure that this young population can be advantageous to us. As our national hero, Jose Rizal, once said: “The youth is the hope of our motherland.” But how can we make sure that the youth today can be the hope of our future?
The YMCA of the Philippines answers this call through its programs for youth empowerment, such as the Rizal Youth Leadership Training Institute: a 15-day leadership training seminar that trains top college students and youth leaders from various colleges, universities and local organizations for leadership in honesty, integrity, excellence, and love of country. The belief and conviction of the program is that these young individuals are the future leaders of the nation; it asserts that the youth have a part in building a sustainable future.
MP-KNN had a chance to speak with some of the young scholars of the program. They shared their thoughts on youth empowerment, and the program they spearhead.
Quinzy Lim, Iloilo City
“I’m Quinzy Lim, representing the YMCA of Iloilo and I’m studying at Central Philippine University taking up Bachelor of Science in social work.
“For me, youth empowerment is the ability to empower the youth wherein you have to put the youth into action. You have to develop and enhance their skills in order to be useful and be productive citizens of today’s generation. Mahalaga ito dahil kung ano ang ginagawa natin ngayon, bukas tayo rin ang aani. Gumawa tayo ng mabuti para sa susunod, babalik rin sa atin ang ginawa natin.
“In our organization, one of our programs is to involve students and encourage them to volunteer. We do outreach programs in the community, such as feeding program for the kids. We also conduct programs related to health and lifestyle. For the youths, we conduct leadership programs and youth camps. We also have an international program where volunteers from other YMCA of other countries visit our local community.
“We adopted a local community affected by typhoon Yolanda, where we renovated their school and reorganized their lives.”
Kristofferson Monis, Vigan City
“I’m Kristofferson Monis, 20 years old, from Vigan City. I’m studying at the University of Northern Philippines, taking up BS Medical Technology. I am a member of College of Heath Sciences Health Organization.
“Ang youth empowerment ay pagbibigay ng opportunity sa mga kabataan na maging ehemplo sa kapwa at sa komunidad.
“We conduct seminars about health. One of the seminars is about HIV/AIDS. Mahalagang pagtuunan ang sex education dahil ngayon dumadami na ang cases ng HIV/AIDS sa bansa at malaking porsyento sa apektido nito ay ang mga kabataan. Ang kabataan din ay naiinvolve sa pre-marital sex. Kaya ginagawa namin ay nagpapalaganap kami ng impormasyon tungkol dito.”
Veil Christian C. Domingo, Pangasinan
“Ako po si Veil Christian Domingo of YMCA of Pangasinan.
“Para sa akin, ang youth empowerment ay kinabibilangan ng bawat kabataan na kung saan sila ang nagpapatibay ng isang organisasyon. Kailangan ito ng mga kabataan upang maiayos ang susunod na generation.
“Ang maaaring program na maitutulong ko sa mga kabataan is yung mga simple lang, tulad ng feeding program, tree planting. Dahil sa mga simpleng bagay na ito, maaari kong mapag tipon-tipon at maiayos ang mga kabataan na napapariwa sa kanilang mga direksyon.”
Diann Calago, Cagayan de Oro
“Ako si Diann Calago, galing sa Cagayan de Oro YMCA. Ako ay 19 years old at incoming 3rd year education student major in early childhood education sa Pilgrim Christian College.
“Para sa akin, ang youth empowerment ay ang paghubog sa mga kabataan upang maging matatag at dedicated sa kanilang mga trabaho at handang tumulong sa mga nangangailangan lalong lalo na sa kanilang komunidad.
“Nagsasagawa kami ng tree planting sa community at community immersion. Tinuturuan namin ang mga bata sa kanilang pag-aaral.”
Michelle Anne Laurel, Makati City
“Ako si Michelle Anne Laurel, 20 taong gulang, nag-aaral sa University of Makati at may kursong BS Edukasyon, Major sa Filipino. Ako ay miyembro ng Uni-Y at student volunteer ng Supreme Student Government.
“Sabi nga ng ating pambansang bayani, Jose Rizal, ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan. Ngunit talamak na sa henerasyon ngayon na malihis ng landas, kaya ang youth empowerment ay isang paraan upang matugunan pa rin natin ang sinabi ni Jose Rizal, na ang kabataan pa rin ang pag-asa ng bayan.
“Ang isa sa mga activities ng Uni-Y ay ang Academic Olympics. Ito ay nakapokus sa mga talento ng kabataan. Tinitignan namin ang iba’t-ibang talento ng mga kabataan upang ang paghinang sa kanilang talento ang pagtuunan nila ng pansin at hindi ang ibang bagay. Kung may mga problema naman sila, andoon kami upang sabihan sila na mag-focus sa talent nila.”
Jennifer Sasagawa, Manila
“I’m Jennifer Sasagawa, incoming 4th year BS Psychology. I’m a College Student YMCA Council President of the University of Manila.
“Youth empowerment is to give inspiration to the youth about the transition of their development, especially on their values and core.
“When it comes to pagbo-vulonteer, tinatarget namin na to participate in international events, clean-up drives, as well as programs for freshmen to adopt in their first year in college. These programs help them to realize na to be a part of organization, they’ll have participation, to be an individual na merong sense yung ginagawa na maging outcome rin nila yun na pag-alis rin nila sa university. As a student, ito rin ang ngasilbing training ground ko para magkaroon ng purpose sa buhay.”
Mary Claire Rico, Albay
“My name is Mary Claire Rico. I am from Albay. I am 18 years old and studying at Bicol University, taking up AB Economics. I am a member of the College Y club.
“Youth empowerment is something to do with making youth involved in the community and to know what problem there is and give a positive change to other people, especially the youth and the people of the community.
“Our organization engages with the disaster risk reduction council of our province. We do community service and seminars for the community in order for them to know more about the environment and what should they do to maintain cleanliness and respond to climate change.”
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