Did you know people under the age of 25 make up 1.8 billion of the global population? Talk about a group that has the chance to make a big impact on our world!

International Youth Day, commemorated annually on Aug.12, was designated by the United Nations General Assembly as a day to shine a light on young men and women’s roles as societal change agents. Yearly themes such as “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production,” “Youth Building Peace” and this year’s theme, “Transforming Education,” bring international youth issues to the forefront to serve as an impetus for change.

Though International Youth Day is a global celebration, young people can influence their local community in a number of ways. The best part? Their efforts can continue year-round! Here are a few ways young people participate in International Youth Day:

  • Teens who volunteer often exhibit high self-esteem, confidence and build valuable leadership, communication and decision-making skills that last well into adulthood. Encourage your youth to consider volunteering with one of these Michigan organizations.
  • Kids are sponges – they soak up much of the information they consume on a regular basis. Educate yours about energy conservation and how the small, planet-conscious choices they make every day can have a great impact for generations to come.
  • Enrich your youth’s cultural awareness. Spend an afternoon at a local museum, help them learn about holidays and celebrations of another culture or even spend an evening preparing a traditional meal of another heritage. These educational opportunities will not only help to make your child well-rounded, it can promote diversity and acceptance of backgrounds other than their own.