#DOT this Youth Day! Support our country’s future by swiping your MySchool card

June 16th is Youth Day in South Africa, a special day that marks a turning point in our country’s history. Do One Thing (#DOT) this youth day by ensuring you are supporting our country’s future by swiping your MySchool card every time you shop.

June 16th is Youth Day in South Africa, a special day that marks a turning point in our country’s history. It is important not just because of what resulted from that day’s events, but also because of who was involved in those events. Disgusted with the status quo, it was the younger generation who, no longer willing to sit back and let things happen, took the future into their own hands and paved the way for a new South Africa to emerge.

For centuries the world’s youth have played a vital part as bringers of change in our societies. They have ushered in new opportunities and new ways of thinking. They have challenged the status quo and have been (and always will be) the voice of the future.

This is why I am actively involved in several initiatives that work with children, particularly initiatives that develop leadership skills in at-risk youth. Organisations such as the Wilderness Leadership School, Scouts SA, WESSA, the Amy Bhiel Foundation and MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet, all of which I am affiliated with, actively support and empower our young people and give them the opportunities they need to not only survive, but thrive. If we don’t give our children the tools they need to think critically, to understand the importance of the world around them, and to value and respect all living creatures, how can we expect children to lead well in the future?

I recently came back from a trip to Israel, where I gave several motivational talks on ‘leading with courage’. I also led a guided nature walk through the city of Jerusalem, of which some of the participants were children. To me, teaching children to value nature is equal to teaching them to value life; fundamentally important as a leader. People who value life – in all its forms – are people who lead with ethics, empathy, tolerance and understanding. And those are the kinds of leaders we need in this world.

I firmly believe in the power of our youth. They are the imagination machines, the dreamers who haven’t been broken by the words ‘no’ and ‘impossible.’ They represent hope for all that is possible in the world today and tomorrow.

Our youth hold the keys to the future. To discount them or to belittle them is to deny the power they have over what is to come for our planet. We need to encourage and empower them. If we fail to do so, we ultimately fail our future.

#DOT and ensure you are supporting our country’s future by swiping your MySchool card every time you shop.