At the beginning of July I joined the Citizenship Foundation as a Press and Events Intern in the Communications Team. I arrived to a whirlwind of planning, correspondence, and a mammoth ‘to-do’ list in preparation for an upcoming event at the House of Lords called ‘Young People Driving Change‘.
As a relative newcomer to the Citizenship Foundation I was unsure of what to expect in the run up to ‘Young People Driving Change’. Those involved in the organisational process had obviously put a lot of hard work in, but did this mean it was going to be a success? In one word – yes.
Although any event that runs smoothly, has a fantastic turnout and is granted the blessing of the English weather, (all of which true of last Wednesday) can be classed as a success, I think that an event needs to achieve far more than that to qualify. For me the true measure of success is in the ‘feel’ of an event and what we take away from it as individuals.
The ‘Young People Driving Change’ event definitely had the ‘feel good factor’. I would challenge anybody not to be inspired by so many ambitious, innovative young people voicing their opinions and talking so passionately about a wide range of issues. From deforestation in Cambodia to the issues facing Muslims in the wake of 9/11, young people of all ages illustrated to ministers, barristers, and other professionals how they were making a positive change in society. However, I would have to say the group of young people that impressed me the most were those involved in the Value Life project, an anti-knife and gun crime campaign. From a thousand strong peace march to producing a film, the phrase ‘the sky is the limit’ obviously features strongly in their mindset.
As an individual I also gained a lot from the event. As well as cementing my belief that young people can really make a difference if presented with the right opportunities, the event also opened my eyes to the benefits of these projects for the young people participating in them. Such projects build young people’s confidence and provide them with valuable skills they can use throughout life.
Overall I left the event feeling inspired to get involved in more voluntary work, optimistic that the Citizenship Foundation can really make a difference, and somewhat envious that I had not had the chance to partake in citizenship myself when I was at school.