The Power of Youth

Shining a light on the achievements that young people have made towards creating a kinder and more compassionate society.

Hi, I’m Emily! I’m 18 and I have just finished studying A-Levels at college, and I’ve found myself with a lot of free time. Now that I’ve finished college, I have decided to dedicate some time into finding out more about the good things that young people are doing in our community. After the year that we’ve had, it has been both rewarding and uplifting to see that not all hope has been lost. In Leeds, we really don’t have to look far to find examples of outstanding young people who have gone above and beyond to create a kinder society for all. Let’s celebrate the good that the youth of today have created, and maybe we could all take a leaf out of their book. I will leave a link to all of the campaigns mentioned in this article at the end so that you can take a look at their amazing work for yourself.

I’d like to start by taking a look at the Cody Hartley’s Defibrillator Campaign, which was started when Cody was only 11 years old. After reading the tragic story about 12-year-old Oliver King who suffered a cardiac arrest during a swimming race, Cody was determined to raise awareness about the importance of having defibrillators in schools, and therefore single-handedly raised enough money for her local school to have a defibrillator installed in just eight weeks. From there, Cody’s Defibrillators Campaign was born. This is a campaign that I have been following for some time, and I was reminded of its importance after the recent events that took place during the Euro 2020 Denmark vs Finland game, when Denmark’s Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch. After this tragic event, it has been positive to see the amount of young people sharing posts on social media about the importance of defibrillators and effective CPR training. Cody will be donating her 9th defibrillator later this year. An impressive milestone and an inspirational story. You can keep up to date with Cody’s fundraising story on her Facebook page.

Cody’s story embodies the essence of kindness and determination that young people are so often deemed to be lacking. She was able to seize an opportunity at a young age and commit herself to achieving her goals, which have potentially saved the lives of many.

Located at their colourful headquarters in Harehills, which was once a wasteland that often attracted anti-social behaviour, CATCH (Community Action To Create Hope) is a charity that has created a safe place for the whole community (but in particular young people) to come together. The organisation allows young people to take on both volunteering and professional roles in the community, including opportunities in sport, creativity and learning. Many of the volunteers are young people who are going out of their way to make a positive change in their community, for example helping to create and develop safe community spaces for all to enjoy.

The founding of CATCH proved that it wasn’t young people who were uninterested in taking action to help out their community, but that they were lacking youth provisions, positive role models and a safe place for them to come together.

If we look at the impact that young people have had on a global scale, it has been great to see that over the last couple of years, it has been predominantly young people who have been taking action over the climate emergency, Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ rights. Young people are our future, and we are taking steps towards making a more accepting society for all. 18-year-old Greta Thunberg is one of many who has used her voice as a way of attracting the attention of the most prominent world leaders to understand the importance of the climate emergency, and that it is the responsibility of all of us to take action in our daily lives. Now, strikes for climate change, led predominantly by young people, have shown the willingness of youth to take care of our planet for future generations.

Let’s celebrate the achievements that young people in Leeds and further afield have made to create a kinder society for all of us, because they are the ones that we need to thank.

Cody’s Defibrillator Campaign
https://www.facebook.com/codysdefibcampaign/?xts[%C2%AB0%C2%BB]=68.a
CATCH Leeds- CATCH – Community Action To Create Hope (catchleeds.co.uk)

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