Celebrating International Youth Day

Published: 12 Aug 2013

Award participants in South Africa

Today is the UN’s International Youth Day and we are championing the young people who do, deliver and support the Award worldwide. International Youth Day recognises and celebrates the contribution young people make in society, many of whom do this through the Award.

Award participants complete around four million hours of service within their communities each year. But increased participation in civic life is just one way to measure the Award’s impact. We also assess how it improves health and well-being, educational attainment and, in line with this year’s theme for International Youth Day, ‘Youth Migration: Moving Forward’, how it unites people from different backgrounds, abilities and cultures. 

All inclusive

The Award is inclusive of all young people regardless of their socio-economic background, gender, ethnicity or disability. The Award can empower socially excluded young people, re-connecting them with their communities and enabling them to meet friends from different backgrounds. Opening a dialogue between young people makes them more aware and accepting of one another.

We have many stories of young people who, through the Award, have been able to build a better future for themselves but also to engage with their communities. We have chosen a few to share with you that demonstrate how the Award is providing opportunities and a place for all young people to thrive. 

A place for indigenous youth 

"The prospects for many indigenous youth in my community are not good, however we are touching and transforming their lives with the Award. The pastor at my church said the seed for success lies in every young indigenous person. The Award is helping us to water that seed and nurture the plant to grow into a tall tree." Kerrilee, Gold Award holder from Australia. Read Kerrilee's story.

Former offender receives Gold 

"A few years after my release, I joined The President’s Award as Fieldworker. I then became the National Coordinator of the Award in prisons. In this time, I motivated and guided the implementation of the Award in prisons across South Africa." Errol, Gold Award holder and Leader from South Africa. Read Errol's story

Against the odds

"It has been depressing. I haven't been able to get a job, it’s hard to find volunteering opportunities because of the support I need – or people assume I need – and I've been in and out of hospital all my life. But the Award showed me I can achieve anything." Kate, Gold Award holder from the UK. Read Kate's story.

Courage under fire

"Although I was a refugee, the Award in Finland trusted me to represent them at an International Gold Event in Hong Kong in 2005. I am now solid, well prepared: a positive citizen, ready to face challenges and, more importantly, that lonely boy is now a young man having a network of friends around the world." Jassin, Gold Award holder from Finland. Read Jassin's story

No longer in isolation

"I have changed from a reticent young lady into a confident and ambitious young adult who my family are very proud of. I am about to leave school this year and plan to go to university. A major achievement in my male dominated society!" Almira, Gold Award holder from Jordan. Read Almira's story.

Mother and son 

"Now, I am confident that I can do anything. I never imagined that I could do anything to help others, while I myself had this disability… But I could, in the end, overcome my handicaps.” Seungjun Lee, Gold Award holder from South Korea. Read Senguin and his mother's story. 


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