Youth Initiatives

"If you think that young people are the leaders of tomorrow, you are procrastinating." - Changemakers

Run the phrase "young people are the leaders of tomorrow" through a Google search and you will turn up more than 10 pages of websites that employ that phrase. But as the more discerning among us have come to realize, young folks aren't just the leaders of tomorrow - they're the leaders of today. Whether it's feeding the hungry, educating youth about citizenship, combating violence or eradicating child poverty, young people are at the forefront of innovation and are taking leadership locally, regionally, nationally and globally.

With all that talent, expertise and energy going around, we saw no need to reinvent the wheel by creating a separate Philia youth program. Instead, our goal has been to connect with existing youth-led initiatives, support them where we can, and collaborate with them to nurture our shared values such as inclusion, civility, neighbourliness and justice. We want to encourage contributions from young people as a source of innovation and change in their communities. In particular, we want to inspire an appreciation of the abilities and contributions of young people with disabilities, and facilitate their participation in youth-led initiatives.

In the past couple of years, we've built many bridges between Philia, community organizations and young people. Some of the connections we've made include:

Our experiences with youth tell us that young people in Canada, regardless of ability, are both able and eager to participate as citizens and contribute to their community. They "get" inclusion, they "get" their responsibilities, they "get" the need to be active, and they're full of vitality and innovative ideas that they yearn to share. If we, as a society, are serious about wanting to nurture and inspire young caring citizens, we need to listen to them, to celebrate the ideas they offer and the actions they take, and to be willing at times to follow their lead. As we've seen from the Philia youth initiatives, it often takes us to exciting new places!

We're looking forward to the places our young leaders will take Philia in the future, and are excited about joining with them to fulfill our mutual goal of nurturing caring citizenship in youth. We have lots of ideas and welcome yours too, especially if you're a young person who shares this goal. Please feel free to share your ideas, questions and comments with us by clicking the Have Your Say button below or writing us at And stay tuned to this space for new developments!