We are living in a world where everything is changing all of the time, even if it seems as if things are stuck, change is always on the horizon. Spring has burst through and with it a whole range of activities have been happening with young people in the vanguard. I have been heartened to witness the international impact that Greta Thunberg has catalysed through her words and actions. Greta was disturbed by what she heard from her school teacher about the human effects on climate. Thanks to her persistent efforts and the actions that she and many others who have supported her stance have taken Climate Change is back on the front pages of the newspapers and being discussed more widely across international communities.
At Eastside we recognise that young people are growing up at a time when societal challenges seem all too pervasive. This new generation is navigating a world in which technology enables immediate and constant lines of communication, something never before experienced by young humans. This of course brings with it great awareness and opportunity but also serious challenge.
In April, in partnership with our supportive funder Adobe and our wonderful neighbours Shoreditch Town Hall, Eastside hosted its first ever youth dialogue exploring the Impact of Social Media on Young People’s Mental Health.
For 45 minutes, 9 young representatives from Mulberry Secondary School for Girls and St Marylebone C of E Secondary School held a dialogue, not a debate, but a dialogue about this topical and sensitive issue in front of their peers, teachers and dialogue experts. Through listening to each other, exploring fresh ideas and finding ways to achieve consensus, these courageous young women came up with a series of key recommendations to tackle this issue in their own school communities which together with their peers they will then implement in the summer term.
Eastside believes that each and every young person has something important to say and that the older generations have a responsibility to nurture their voices and the creative potential of all young people so that they may go on to lead happy and positive lives in which they are equipped to engage with the challenges of the day and able to build new value and hope across society.
We are more determined than ever to deliver our part in supporting and nurturing a new generation of empowered, creative, connected and confident young people and we look forward to hosting many more youth dialogues in the future.