Rebecca Clark's entry to the Nutmeg Young Journalist Competition, sponsored by Hendon Rotary Club. The question set was: How can the youth of today benefit from a united community and how can young people play a role in forming them? Rebecca's entry was recognized as highly commended by our panel of judges, the announcement was made at the Nutmeg Awards Evening at Hendon town hall on December 10th. Read her entry below:
Picture a society where there is no community togetherness. Neighbours snitch on one another, snarl at one another, snoop on one another. People act with indifference to the world around them. The air is thick with the hostility, which seeps into every aspect of life. In essence, a community divided rather than united. Now upscale it by a few thousand, and you’ve got a pretty accurate picture of vast parts of the UK. Is this the sort of society we want to live in?
The divisions which erode the very foundations of communities stem from religious, ethnic, cultural, gender, class and ideological tensions. A harrowing stereotype permeates society that youth = crime, hoodie = mugger, piercing = trouble. Yet social cohesion is surely the most important part of a community. A united community would defeat these prejudices, and would result in people actually giving youth a chance; not writing them off as incompetent, but recognising them as able young people who will shape the future. And with this shift in perception would come more job offers, more apprenticeships, and simply more acceptance. These are all things that would benefit the youth of today.
I know from my own experience that having a stranger pigeon-hole you is utterly demoralising. It sets back your self-esteem; you feel that you cannot be who you are, but who people assume you to be. A more united society would nip this in the bud, thus lifting the ceiling of young people’s ambitions, as well as the ceiling of other peoples’ beliefs as to what young people can truly achieve.
And how could we as young people play a part in delivering this idyllic vision?
By learning about other cultures and different points of view.
By being more tolerate of other people’s beliefs.
By standing up for people who cannot stand up for themselves.
By just going out of your way to be nice – one small act of kindness could completely alter someone’s view of young people.
And by mobilising social media to spread the message – the message that what we want, and what we need, is a united community for everyone to enjoy.