AUGUST 12, 2012

Every year at this time a special day reminds us of our responsibility to the world’s youth. Nearly 13 years ago, the United Nations declared August 12 as International Youth Day to recognize the challenges that youth around the world face.

As B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth, I have a mandate to advocate for the young people of this province, and a commitment to let youth know they have a voice and that we are listening.

Key to the work of my Office is to hear directly from youth about their concerns and seek their ideas on how child and youth services can be improved. We engage youth directly for their input and feedback, benefiting both the work of the Office and the development and capacity of the youth.

A major focus for my Office in the coming year is the development and implementation of a youth participation strategy to inform our work, in partnership with a wide number of youth and youth serving organizations including Aboriginal youth groups. This work ties in closely with this year’s International Youth Day theme, Building a Better World: Partnering with Youth.

Today, I would like to thank our young people for their many contributions to our society, and for their energy and resiliency. Those in a position to do so must work to ensure our youth are heard, and that we do all we can to support them on their way to adulthood.