Participation in Above And Beyond Initiative has many advantages for the youth themselves, as well as for the entire community. Of course, the most obvious advantage of membership is that this organization provides a forum to fully, effectively deal with an issue that is especially important to them, such as youth violence, Academics and sex education. However, there are a lot of other advantages to our youth program. We list some of these advantages below.
Advantages For The Youth:
- Being part can help young people develop important personal and interpersonal skills. These include the ability to think critically and solve problems, and the assumption of personal and group responsibility.
- It can also help young people gain self-confidence and self-esteem. Contributing to ABI can help them see themselves as being able to really help other people, and having something important to offer the community.
- ABI gives youth a “safe space” that they wouldn’t have otherwise–a place where they can express themselves through discussion group and activities, or just by being able to talk openly with peers and caring Leaders and mentors.
- It can help reduce the risk of becoming involved in unsafe activities, such as using drugs and alcohol. Being involved in community activities has been shown to be a protective factor–that is, it help the youth make healthy choices. That’s because by being involved in ABI, they can develop a “safe” identity, and are less likely to participate in unsafe activities (such as becoming sexually active before they are ready) to feel they belong.
- Young people involved in organizations can develop job skills, including organization and experience working with a wide variety of people. These skills the youth learn from being part of ABI can help them be better prepared for any job they might choose.
- ABI gives youth a “safe space” that they wouldn’t have otherwise–a place where they can express themselves through dussion group and activities, or just by being able to talk openly with peers and caring Leaders and mentors.
- ABI offers opportunities for leadership that young people might not get otherwise.
- The youth can receive information on staying safe and healthy from their peers or adults they know and respect. They then pass on this information to other young people. In this way, ABI offers a credible way for young people to learn about staying healthy, because they can learn about it from friends they admire, rather than adults or other outsiders whose opinions they might not value.
- Young adults can develop a strong support network of other young people who make healthy choices, and who can help convince them to stay healthy, too.
Advantages for the Community:
- ABI can help change public perception of young adults from being “the problem” to an important part of making life better in the community.
- Involving Teenagers in the community helps them see themselves as part of the whole; they really do become less likely to cause problems and more likely to want to look for solutions.
- By involving the youth, the community is allowing them to carefully develop their leadership potential, so that as they grow and learn they can become thoughtful, prepared leaders of the society.
- Other community organizations partner with ABI to mutual benefit. Young people can bring a tremendous amount of life to an organization; often, their energy, enthusiasm, creativity, and perspective are invaluable to members of larger community initiatives that choose to actively involve them.