Why we chose to work with youth
It is a difficult journey traveling through the teenager years. Many teenagers look old enough to make adult-like choices and they are often treated and expected to behave like adults. But the reality is they lack the developmental maturity to grasp the broad magnitude of behavioral consequences. Rarely do the pause long enough to consider consequences and often never get past their immediate needs and wants. Whilst there is no argument that they have the capacity to choose responsibly there is a lot of research which suggests they may not be as capable as we adults would like, or at times expect them to be.
Changes within their brain structure, bodies, self-concept, and their ever volatile social world can make the journey extremely difficult to understand – as adults we often struggle – but at times we expect youth to just take it in their stride. They often partake in risk-taking activity, impulsive behaviours, cave in to peer pressure, seek out pleasure activities, and lack future orientation – all of which studies have show to be a result of psychological and social immaturity. Taking the time to stop and reflect and consider consequences is not something youth are known for. During their younger years the majority of adolescents become involved in negative behaviours (substance use, detachment from school, etc.); this behaviour increases through the late teens and then starts to decrease and diminish by the mid-twenties. That means a teen engaging in some form of deviance or risky behavior is common enough to be considered ‘normal’ behaviour. Even violent criminal behavior in adolescence is not a reliable predictor of future criminal behavior.
We ourselves have been through this cycle and I for one have wondered how much more successful I could have been with the support and mentor-ship to maximise available resources and develop better life skills. Therefore we are passionate about helping youth overcome challenges they are facing, maximising their available resources, and learning life skills which will empower them to go and get the life they want.
We know that just by helping one youth become a better person we are changing the world.