This Blog was developed by Lia Putkaradze for the Centre for Training and Consultancy (CTC).
I always knew that I was born for a reason. Doctors used to tell my mother that she would die if she gives birth to me. Indeed, they insisted on abortion; however, my mom kept me along the way 9 months and I was given her name as she thought she would die. Luckily, she was able to live with me for 19 years since then. This was the very first and important factor of me becoming a responsible individual. She was an excellent youth worker.
We all individuals have our own stories. We create these stories, and we know that people help us make our stories happen. These stories are important and have to be shared to accept, understand and commit to each other. We are youth, we represent youth, we have youth in our families, societies and we work basically for them; as our ancestors would say: “We do it for future”. And yet, this future has not been as close to us as it is today, in the 21st century. It is our responsibility to create the future we wished our ancestors had created for us. For that, we need to make decisions; it does not take you to learn SMART decisions, but make responsible decisions. I am a youth worker.
My job-shadowing experience at Zemgale NGO Center has empowered me to say, “you can become a youth worker”. Youth work is to help individuals reach their full potential. Youth work helps you to increase humanity in local communities. “The word humanity is from the Latin “Humanitas” for human nature”, Kindness, Love and Compassion. “Humanity is the human race, which includes everyone on Earth.” You may ask: is it the only way to increase humanity in local communities? The answer is: Not at all. It is not the only way, but the best way to make a healthy social and professional environment around us and in the rest of the world.
The next question is, how?
- Respect – Love them and if you decide to love them and you will want to make them happy.
- Accept – Don’t judge. Forget what has been told; create new healthy norms and shared responsibilities for them and with them.
- Understand – They are here and present, whether they are introvert or extrovert, you will need to become an active listener.
- Care – They want to help people, they live in diversity, and you will need to prioritize your values, and I would say labor values as well. Labor rights matter.
- Educate – They seek for quality information, advice and education. Be there for positive changes that help you to become critical thinkers. You will need to learn 44 social skills to change your behavior that simultaneously will affect their personal and professional lives.
- Employ – they are creative, interested and employable. You will need to know how you can create a qualified human resource in your communities. Give them a chance of whether developing volunteer programs, professional job-shadowing programs, internships, mentorship, and scholarships.
- Trust – “What goes around comes around”. They are the future.
Zemgale NGO center in Latvia is one of the best examples in the non-governmental sector. They have proven their competence by complying with and experiencing all the techniques mentioned above step by step. They have become the resource center for more than 700 non-governmental organizations and youth centers with more than 6000 information network users. People working at this organization have put humans as their value. Apart from their professional and personal enthusiasm to help youth become independent and active citizens, the other fantastic virtue of Zemgale is that they motivate youth to take charge of NGOs that are in crisis or are about to close down. The act of cooperation needs a desire to make the work of each sector sustainable and empowering. I participated in on-site visiting and joining work at different youth centers learning how to make resources accessible on the local community levels as well as engaging local municipalities through non-violence techniques. Youth work is all about non-violence work. We need to prepare for that in every level of our community and civic engagement.
The twenty-first-century youth has become more welcoming, open and visible. Therefore, we need to be there, to engage, and to empower with our intellectual and professional capacities to facilitate the growth of tolerant, prosperous and healthy generations.