Our objective was to overcome the dominant narrative of complaining about difficult situation of young people and focus on specific actions which can support youth in these challenging times.
Behind the façade of statistics: the real picture of challenges faced by young people
Our debate started with the dominant question that should cause anxiety in every adult: “What is the situation of young people in Poland like, and why is it so bad?” From that moment we all knew that it wouldn’t be a casual meeting.
We couldn’t ignore the shocking statistic data presented in the Young Heads Report prepared by UNAWEZA Foundation and the report on youth prepared by the Orange Foundation.
Alarming facts of growing number of suicide attempts made by young people, a growing sense of loneliness and lack of self-confidence were the starting point to further discussion. What has made young people feel lost and abandoned? And what can we do to help them?
Martyna Wojciechowska, Joanna Flis and Konrad Ciesiołkiewicz pointed to social and emotional mechanisms that influence young people. We also spoke about the impact of last decade on youth. Professor Marek Konopczyński, Dr. Marek Michalak and Janusz Schwertner tried to answer the question why youth is all the time marginalized in the society. Tomasz Stawiszyński compared the today’s world in which young people live with our own memories from youth. He explained why it is our – the adults’ – error. We would like to encourage all those who haven’t listened to him to catch up with it.
An important for us panel was the one participated by Laura Straś, Łukasz Szczepańczyk and Dr. Aleksandra Gołdys. They told us how we can help young people find their place in the world of grown-ups. Should we trust them and offer them the space to act on their own even if there is a risk of failure? They emphasized how important for development of young people is reaching by them a success in their peer group and why adults should “keep their hands behind their backs” while watching young people with full attention.
And finally, we wondered if the method of the “Equal Opportunities” program can be a cure for youth crisis. Mirosław Czyżewski, Paweł Walecki and Janusz Schwertner shared with us their opinions on effectiveness of that method as regards supporting young people. They invited all people working with youth and organizations involved in solving youth problems to join the Ready for the Future coalition.
All this was meant to help us understand how we can really help young people and what actions we can take to support them, and not cause another problem which they would have to face.
The Future starts today!
Although the emotions haven’t cooled down yet, and each of us is thinking what shall be done next, we realize that it still is the very beginning of our journey.
The discussion that we have started is only the first step on a long way to the better future for young people.
In October and November, we invite you to additional two meetings with the guests that impressed you most. You’ll have the opportunity to take active part and ask questions. So, please leave some free space in your planners because they are going to be events you mustn’t miss.
And we have something special for you! “Magda Rysuje – graphic recording” captured the most important moments and main conclusions from the debate in her unusual graphic notes.
Finally, we would like to thank all our partners and experts. Your support, comments and involvement allowed the event to become a live initiative for all those who young people are important for and who want young people to be Ready for the Future.