The youth: hope for the future, change maker today

The organizers of the first-ever Filipino Youth Volunteer Convention

“The future belongs to us, starting today, we have to own it.” These were the words that were embedded to me from the first-ever Youth Volunteer Convention in the Philippines. The youth might really be the hope for the future, but why do we have to wait for a later time when we can contribute in building our country now?

Young people check out booths at the first-ever Filipino Youth Volunteer Convention.

The Filipino Youth Volunteer Convention (FYVC) 2018 showed me that there are numerous groups: business firms, government agencies, and private organizations that reach out to the young people.

Plenary panel with (L-R) Mx Balibago (UNICEF Philippines), Billie Aranzanso (Chairperson, Filipino Youth Volunteer Convention), James Ventura (National Youth Commission), Ruel Maranan (Ayala Foundation), Emee-Lei Albano-Valdehuesa (UNICEF Philippines), and actress Princess Manzon.

They give support to the youth in different age groups and different parts of the country in a variety of ways such as teaching, funding, providing job opportunities, creating laws to protect minors, building learning centers, and taking care of those with disabilities. All these organizations presented reasons why we need to volunteer.

14-year-old Isabel Sieh, founder of Girls Will Code, tells the story of how her organization came to be, and what it is all about.

The convention made me realize that there is really a need given that young people lead in the statistics on HIV, traffic accidents, drug addiction, unwanted pregnancies, crimes, and other issues.

The young people of this generation have many problems, but we can also be a big part of the solution. FYVC showed me that we can do something to help.

I gained confidence through the event itself because of the presence of many young people: from my new friends from school to the volunteer staff members and speakers who were mostly composed of youth,even a fourteen-year-old kid!

A young crowd eagerly listening to one of the breakout sessions at the Filipino Youth Volunteer Convention.

There were also testimonials of young people who are currently volunteers and are already able to take action for the betterment of our generation. 
These clearly exhibit the presence of the young people who have the desire to reach out to their fellow youth.

We can also be a part of addressing the need today. We only need to speak ourselves: to bring our ideas out. There are countless opportunities to serve that were laid before us. It’s our turn to contribute through our innovative ideas, and by volunteering for these activities.

Personally, this was an eye opener to me. Our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, said, “Kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan.” I agree with that, and we can already bring change to our country and the world today.

I was presented a choice: to sit idly and wait for help or to reach out my hand and be part of the help. I choose to be an agent of changing this world.

How about you?

By Leila Micahella Cruz, Geodetic Engineering student from the University of the Philippines Diliman

The Filipino Volunteer Youth Convention was organized by UNICEF student volunteer groups from De La Salle University Manila, University of Santo Tomas, University of the Philippines Diliman, University of the Philippines Manila, Ateneo de Manila University, and Polytechnic University of the Philippines. The convention provided young people an opportunity to learn more about the current issues affecting the country, promote actions they can do as youth volunteers, and network with different sectors that take action to address these issues.