Amplifying youth voices &
actions in communities
YMCA is committed to providing platforms for young people to lead change in their communities through civic action and advocacy, gender equality, youth justice and leadership development.
It’s part of the principle of ‘inclusion’: ensuring that all young people have a safe space to belong, to contribute and to thrive in their local community, regardless of issues like where they come from, who they love or how they worship.
Young people should have a say in decisions of all matters affecting their lives and their communities.
Though these YMCA projects, young people offer innovative and creative solutions to community problems.
- 88 National YMCAs worldwide are working on civic engagement related issues
- YMCA worldwide runs nearly 7,400 programmes on issues related to civic engagement, involving and reaching over 280,000 people
Examples of projects
- YMCA Roots for Peace (YMCA Europe): a programme giving young people as many opportunities as possible to be involved in dialogues, peacebuilding and conflict resolution initiatives and actions.
- Youth Justice (YMCA Africa): The project reaches out to those ‘at risk’ (gangs, youth in risky areas, vulnerable youth, drug-addicted youth or those in that environment), those in places of safety and institutions of correctional services, as well as those in the reintegration phase. Involving life skills, personal development, victim-offender dialogues, reintegration and awareness-raising, the programme has a huge success rate.
- Youth Leadership Hub programme (YMCA Latin America and Caribbean): young people from 14 to 19 years of age from different countries will have the possibility of sharing dynamic activities allowing them to be aware of themselves, their life projects, and their environment.
- YMCA Europe Leadership Academy: The aim is to empower young people by equipping them with relevant knowledge, so they live as active citizens, promote social change and strengthen their movements as bearers of democratic values and change-makers
- Addressing institutional racism: in October 2020 YMCA England and Wales launched a report called ‘Young and Black’, which sets out young black people’s perceptions of institutional racism in the UK today.
Refugees and migrants focus
- Refugees, asylum seekers, migrants: response from YMCA Europe
- YMCA Global Summit on Migration and Immigration 2019
- YMCA Québec provides housing services for refugees and asylum seekers
- Since 1991, YMCA Mexico, with the support of YMCA USA and YMCA Canada, has provided a temporary home to more than 70,000 Mexican minors who are detained and deported by the US authorities
- Each year, the YMCAs in USA mark ‘Welcoming Week’, to celebrate the growing movement of communities that fully embrace newcomer immigrants and their contributions to the social fabric of the country
Read the World YMCA’s position paper on Civic Engagement (2018 – PDF – 14.7KB)
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