Youth are a dynamic force for social change. Yet, in an age consumed by self-interest the crises affecting all of society always have a particularly devastating impact on its youngest members who are still in the process of forming the attitudes that will guide their lives. At this turning point in history, when so much of society invites passivity and apathy or, worse still, encourages behaviour harmful to oneself and others, a noticeable contrast is offered by those who see difficulties in society as a stimulus to action, an opportunity to create unity where disunity exists.
Not surprisingly, youth are gaining the most experience at aiding junior youth, and children too, with their moral and spiritual development – that is, fostering in them capacity for cooperation, collective service, striving for excellence and true friendship. After all, aware of the world which these young souls will need to navigate, with its pitfalls and also its opportunities, youth readily appreciate the importance of strengthening and preparation. Youth are, therefore, galvanised to assist those younger than themselves to refine their characters and prepare to assume responsibility for the well-being of their communities. As they enter adolescence, youth are helping them to enhance their power of expression, as well as enabling a strong moral sensibility to take root within them. In so doing, youth’s own sense of purpose becomes more clearly defined.
The habits of mind and spirit that youth are nurturing in themselves and others will endure, influencing decisions of consequence that relate to marriage, family, study, work, and life itself. Consciousness of this broad context helps to shatter the distorting looking glass in which everyday tests, difficulties, setbacks, and misunderstandings can seem insurmountable. Youth are extolled as possessing a spirit of adventure and enterprise, eagerness, optimism, vigour, and vitality. They are encouraged to channel these qualities into lives of service shining as lights of hope in their community.
This programme calls youth in Cambridge to volunteer and help with its community building initiatives. It offers them a charter and hope for the future, an opportunity to become “a new kind of people, people who are upright, kind, intelligent, truthful, and honest.”
“Undoubtedly, it is within your power to contribute significantly to shaping the societies of the coming century; youth can move the world.”