Tap the Power of Youth: The Time Is Now
By Roberta Giordano, Youth Leadership Program Coordinator
In the words of Bono, “This is a time for bold measures. This is the country, and you are the generation.”
Institutional racism, the unequal distribution of wealth and power that aim to preserve the status quo of an economic system based on extraction and labor exploitation, and the perpetuation of systems of oppression that lie at the foundation of issues like climate change are just a taste of the challenges our generation must tackle.
Indeed, these challenges may seem insurmountable. There isn’t a day that goes by where I am not haunted by the incessant question: What kind of bold action can I take to effect change?
I Am a Bioneer
When I first joined Bioneers as the Youth Leadership Program Coordinator little did I know that I was about to embark in a journey filled with bold action!
The Youth Leadership Program is an empowering program for youth ages 13-23 that runs in parallel with the National Bioneers Conference. The program provides a space for youth to connect with each other and elders to create and implement strategies to address social, economic and environmental issues.
We strive to make our program inclusive and diverse. We do so by providing scholarships to all those youth committed to build a resilient future and who need financial assistance to do so.
Soon after I joined Bioneers, I was tasked with supporting the team in running an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to increase youth scholarships to the 2015 National Bioneers Conference.
Why an Indiegogo Campaign?
In 2014, we received over 600 youth scholarship applications, but we were only able to provide 357 youth with scholarships. Lack of funding and staff capacity is what limited our ability to bring all 600 youth to Bioneers.
This year, Bioneers staff decided to join forces with Bioneers community to increase youth attendance and ensure these seeds of change, our youth, are well nurtured.
We set a goal to raise $10,000, and after a month of sweat and soul, daily updates, emails, phone calls and social media, together with our Bioneers community, we achieved our goal!
What I Learned: #WeAreBioneers
- The boldest action I can take is to set the stage for our youth to develop as leaders and be empowered to create and implement innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges of our times
- Youth must be given a chance. Our youth scholarship applicants and their incredible stories allowed us to raise $10,000. If you haven’t read their stories yet, I encourage you to do so. You will see why it is impossible to not support their efforts.
- The Bioneers community is real and tangible: together we raised $10,000. You made this happen!
- We are all holders of knowledge, and together we are stronger.
This campaign was generated by the collective efforts of our staff, our community, partners, allies, and our scholarship applicants. Just like we ensured the success of this campaign together, we must continue to work together to transform the destiny of our planet and humankind.
Take Bold Action with Me!
We have the choice to either see the most pressing challenges of our time as a great burden or as an opportunity to challenge the status quo.
Inspired by Bioneers, our youth and allies who have decided to see these threats as an opportunity, I am determined to continue to nourish our youth who will advance the movement of transitioning from an extractive society to a regenerative and just world.
I am asking you to join me in this effort, and to continue nourishing these seeds of change.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”
Thank you for staying vigilant, for your passion, and for being active agents for change.
Youth Leadership Program Coordinator