In M.A.D.E., we are all about empowering the next generation to fulfill God’s plans and purposes in their lives, even beyond their wildest imagination. Empowerment is actually one of our five core values which we strive to incorporate in every single thing we do, not only as an organization but also in our individual lives. We genuinely believe that we have all been hand-picked to be world-changers and difference makers, and we won’t stop until every youth knows it.

Each day that passes by, my heart breaks at the news of every youth whose short life comes to an end far too quickly. In fact, according to the CDC, the second and third top leading causes of death in teenagers are suicide and homicide, respectively. Can you imagine how many teen suicides we could prevent if they had an influential voice near them, cheering them on, speaking life into them, giving them hope for a brighter future? Can you imagine how many homicides could be prevented if we could build up a generation that chooses love over hatred and acceptance over ignorance?

While one person might not be able to reach every single youth, if we are each intentional about it, we can each play a role in building up a generation of difference makers. Here are three practical ways to empower the youth in your life:

  1. Remember their emotions have value: So often we can find ourselves judging this generation and wondering what they could possibly have to complain about, given all of the first-world privileges they have. Yet, we must remember that there are layers to people that we may not see, wounds that may have left ugly scars, and experiences that may have molded their identities. This generation deals with a lot of “first-world problems” that leads to emotions we shouldn’t belittle. Be the first to ask how someone is and mean it. Get down to their level; you’ll be able to see their lives from a new perspective and instead of judging them preemptively, you can guide them in love.

  2. Encourage them to act today, not just in 10 years: It can be easy to dream about the future and all of the things they want to accomplish as an adult, but why wait until then? Inspire youth to make a difference in their schools and families today. Encourage them to get involved and be the most loving and caring citizens that their community has. Offer to drive them to their local homeless shelter or support them financially when they want to organize a food drive.

  3. Be present and be available: Let your empowerment be more than just words and turn it into action. Don’t just cheer a youth on verbally but prove it to them by showing up. Take the time to listen to their situations, ideas, and dreams. Speak life into the darkest parts of their lives and always point them to their original cheerleader: Jesus.

I hope that you are encouraged to reach out to the youth in your life and be used as a vessel for all that God has for both your life and theirs. Together, let’s continue building up a generation that makes a difference every single day.

Ester Avero

President + Co-Founder