What does it take to bring together a group of young people motivated to affect change?
“We just don’t want to be a couch-potato generation,” explained Chloe Constantinidou, President of YouthLens. “We want to do something for young people who want to do something valuable with their time.”
This common drive for positive change, was the catalyst for the creation of YouthLens, a politically-neutral youth group, which aims to contribute to the enhancement of participation of the youth of Larnaca and Cyprus in general, particularly through their intellectual, social and professional development.
Among its seven founding members are four American Academy Larnaca alumni: Chloe Constantinidou, Class of 2010, YouthLens President; Mikaela Kantor, Class of 2010, Head of Discussions and Debates; Maria Philippou, Class of 2010, Media Planner; Christina Antoniou, Class of 2011, Treasurer. Demetris Stefani, Head of Youth Entrepreunership, Ariana Zakou, Head of Social-Cultural, and Artemis Stefani, Fundraising and Communications Officer, complete the YouthLens team.
“Upon my return, I was wondering how I could help change things,” said Philippou. “And I think that it can be done by taking on a bottom-up approach rather than top-down.”
Testament to this is the recent success of the implementation of the Youth Guarantee across Europe, which was actually an idea that stemmed from young people.
The YouthLens Board wants to attempt to bring this kind of positive change to Larnaca, by inviting local youth to organised events based on three sub-groups: Youth Entrepreneurship, Discussions and Debates and Social and Cultural Development.
The focus on Youth Entrepreneurship aims to create a platform between employers and young professionals, and to nurture the development of innovation and start-ups in Larnaca.
Through Discussions and Debates the group wants to give young people in Larnaca a chance to voice their concerns and opinions about matters that most affect them, that will then be conveyed to the relevant local authorities.
“We are better equipped than our parents were – we studied abroad, we had a lot of stimulating influences, and we have access to technology – If we make the most of it we can really do something extraordinary,” said Philippou.
YouthLens’ next event, a Blood Drive organised in collaboration with Rotaract Larnaca Kition, comes under the group’s Social and Cultural Development dimension. The event is open to the public, and there will be sign-up stations for those under 35, who are interested in joining the youth group.
If you’re interested in joining you can also complete an application form online.
Find out more details about the event here.