Youth leaders are taking charge

Youth around the world are witnessing the daunting issues that face our communities and taking matters into their own hands. Each of us has a part to play when it comes to creating a better California. The initiative and leadership these young people have shown is inspiring. 

You may have heard the buzz around Greta Thunberg, the Swedish student who made international headlines as a climate change activist by skipping school to protest outside Sweden’s parliament. Recently, Greta served as a keynote speaker at Governor Schwarzenegger's R20 Austrian World Summit alongside UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Earlier this year, Thunberg visited the UK Houses of Parliament where she delivered a speech in which she said her future had been “stolen” due to current environmental practices that put our planet in jeopardy.


Greta is not after fame or social media followers. She even recognizes that her turn in the spotlight will be short lived. "I just hope that the attention sticks to the movement,” she told TIME magazine. She was recently included in TIME's 2019 list of the 100 most influential people and on the cover of their May issue highlighting "Next Generation Leaders."

Greta far from the only youth making a difference. Here in California, students are preparing to take on important local initiatives. A San Diego teen is empowering those who are homeless by orchestrating a program that pays them to pick up litter from sidewalks. Participants have said that their experience is not just about the paycheck, but also the opportunity to be more productive with their time and help expand outreach to the homeless population.

Recently in Riverside, The Community Foundation awarded 50 grants to support youth-led projects. These programs spanned many components of society including support for immigrants and a rape crisis center. 

“The future belongs to our youth, who are becoming leaders in their own right, helping to solve the ongoing challenges their peers face,” said CEO and President Michelle Decker.


We can be proud of these young people and the many others who have decided to take an active role in creating a better tomorrow. Let's do our role as adults to model behaviors that help produce responsible solutions and meaningful change.

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