Do you understand the power of the youth?

I was asked a question today about how to engage young people. They are so vibrant, so creative, so full of potential, yet some of us who are a bit older feel disconnected from the youth in our families, neighborhoods, and cities. Years ago, I sat on the board for a not-for-profit agency dedicated to engaging youth through volunteering. The caliber of ideas, suggestions, and programming initiated by the youth that were discussed at our board meetings put our city hall’s program providers to shame. They were coming up with ways to include even the most disengaged, disadvantaged, and disillusioned amongst them. And they were doing it in fun, creative, and out-of-the-box ways. Young people have the ability to think innovatively and to challenge what the rest of us take for granted. And yet so often, we shut them up or shut them out. Below are my thoughts on how to engage the young people in your life, not only for their sake, but for yours. You will be amazed at how deeply your life will be enriched once you really give them a chance.

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