A Youth Ambassador from YMCA Norfolk has addressed an international conference at the United Nations in New York.
Charlie Smith, who is a Mental Health Engagement Worker in Norwich, was invited to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum held in New York on January 30-31 as part of the World YMCA delegation, after she presented her work to an international Innovation Camp in Switzerland in October.
The Forum brought youth leaders from around the world to the United Nations HQ and gave them the opportunity to engage with government representatives, youth delegates, policymakers and other relevant stakeholders in civil society and the private sector.
“It was a scary but exciting experience being a World YMCA representative at such an important event,” said Charlie. It was a privilege being asked to attend and to offer a youth voice at a conference that aims to increase youth participation.
“During the event I was able to make further connections with those who are involved with YMCAs across the world. I was also able to place the YMCA at the centre of conversations on youth resilience and what we could do to create further impact for young people in Europe.
“I was in the group looking into resilience and what being resilient actually meant and how it may affect young people in different ways. We also looked into the importance of technology in this market, but that it would need to be used effectively with the correct goals and aims.
“I was elected to address the forum about the aims and goals that we had come up with. This included: building science, technology and innovation into an infrastructure to improve literacy; building on train the trainers to encourage community based interventions such as volunteer innovation hubs; and building data from public/private partnerships and the community to leverage big data results.”
The ECOSOC Youth Forum aimed to provide a platform for youth to engage in a dialogue with Member States. Also to discuss the policy frameworks and promote innovative, institutionalised approaches and initiatives for advancing the youth development agenda at national, regional and global levels with a view to promoting solutions to the global challenge of strengthening resilience and sustainable development.
Pictured above is Charlie Smith addressing the ECOSOC Youth Forum at the United Nations HQ in New York.