For the entire day of August 31, over sixty youth from varied developing communities of Barangay BF Homes had fun, worked together and got educated during the Youth Forum (full title: Edukasyon Para sa Lahat – Kaeskwela Youth Forum) held at the Phase 1 gym along Pilar Banzon street, BF Homes subdivision, Parañaque City.
Under the watch of Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Rocel Espino (in-charge of the education committee), youth from Masville, Sampaloc and a few other developing communities formed seven groups and their respective members not only bonded but also learned new things. For fun, they took part in a series of games and contests.
In the afternoon, each group took on the challenge of getting their members together to discuss what issues they see affect the youth of their generation today, express what can be done to not only survive and progress, and express their suggestions on how the local authority – namely Barangay BF Homes – can help them through service.
During her address to the youth, Kagawad Espino announced that the Barangay BF Homes Youth Camp is already being prepared and soon they will announce when and where exactly it will be held. Espino told me that the Youth Forum served as a prelude to the Youth Camp.
“Why are we doing these activities? We have objectives set. While we (the barangay) cannot always build the future for the youth, we can help the youth develop ways to prepare themselves for the future,” said the Kagawad during her address. “Local youth can learn a lot to move forward through the activities organized by the barangay.”
During the group presentation of the Youth Forum, common issues that affect youth include Internet addiction, social media obsession, drugs, avoiding or cutting classes, depression, obsession with video games and computer games, bullying, peer pressure, gender confusion due to LGBTQ propaganda, exposure to sensuality and the like.
As I watched the groups express themselves, I noticed how much of an impact social media had on the youth. Through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, young people of today are so exposed to lots of random forms of information or images, videos and sounds which are clearly distracting to them. Some youth participants admitted they had trouble resisting social media use while others said they experienced temptations while online.
Compared to what I witnessed more than twenty years ago (before social media was realized), the new issues that affected the youth was the rise of Internet access as well as the rise of computer and video games. Back in those old days, there were lots of concerns and complaints from parents/guardians stressing that digital games and Internet addiction made educating and nurturing their children harder. There was also a wave of concern that young people will become violent and obsessive with digital content.
Going back even further into the past – specifically just before Internet access became available here in the Philippines – sexual and mature or violent content shown in movie theaters, television and print media were the hot issues related to the development of young people.
By today’s standards, those old issues seem to pale in comparison to the wide and powerful influence social media has on the current generation of youth who now enjoy better access to Internet due to the availability of cheap smartphones and the numerous WiFi hot spots around the communities. Such a high number of opportunities to connect online means more exposure to videos, images, verbal expressions that could influence users and even impact their behavior. Even worse, there could be potential victims by hackers among these young users. Imagine yourself being the parent of these youth.
Going back to the Youth Forum, the event ended with a positive and promising note. I noticed several participants were already excited about the upcoming Youth Camp which could attract a potential five hundred participants. What Kagawad Espino told me was significant.
“Today’s event is very successful as it has been very challenging to reach out and convince these kids to decide to participate. It was also challenging to engage them and maintain their attention all throughout. Regardless, the fact that they attended until five o’clock proves the success,” Espino said. “This Youth Forum was the result of requests by the parents of these youth and this serves as a prelude to this year’s Youth Camp. We received feedback from parents who noticed that youth seem disturbed and they requested for another Youth Camp to be held.”
Supported by Barangay BF Homes chairman Paolo Marquez, the August 31 Youth Forum was the latest youth-related achievement of Barangay BF Homes through the committee headed by Kagawad Espino. Prior to it, the Barangay BF Homes edition of the Linggo ng Kabataan 2019 celebration organized by the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) became a major success attracting more than three hundred (300+) youth. Kagawad Espino congratulated the BFSK during her visit at the August 17 Linggo ng Kabataan 2019 event.
For updates regarding the youth activities and developments of Barangay BF Homes, come back here soon.
While waiting, you can read my exclusive interview with BFSK chairwoman Mariel Angela Tumang here, my exclusive scoop on BFSK’s campaign against youth suicide here and my exclusive interview of BFSK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero here.
Let me end this piece with this scripture from the Holy Bible.
The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
Psalm 14: 2 (NKJV)
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