A news story on the United Nations Population Fund site states that “Young people are increasingly recognized as critical actors in matters of global importance.”The same story quotes Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon saying, "I place great hope in their power to shape our future.” Globally, young people are taking charge of their future, speaking out, and standing up for what they believe in. This is evident in various youth initiatives in different fields that push for positive change and social justice. Erin Blakemore writes in nationalgeographic.com that “teenagers and young adults have a history of pushing social change forward. Look at passionate young people from any era and you’ll find impressive catalysts for change.”
The Epic Youth Leadership Awards (EYLA), under the parent banner Gawad Geny Lopez, Jr. Bayaning Pilipino Awards, seeks to recognize the movers, innovators, and changemakers serving the youth whether in the U.S., Canada, or in the Philippines. The awards’ Project Director Fr. Nilo Tanalega says that with the EYLA, “we are making a statement that the future has come with these young people that we will look for and recognize.” Similar recognitions are valued by the youth as shared by the 4-H Science in Urban Communities. They say that “Recognition is a basic youth need and provides them with motivation to not only complete projects, but to complete them in an exemplary manner.”
Brendan Flores, the youngest executive director of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA), and a former finalist of the Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipino Awards, sees the value in recognizing the youth who are diligently working in the background. “We need to highlight a lot of successful and high achievers in the Filipino American community so people will be inspired. Not everyone wants to be a celebrity. You have equally hardworking individuals who want to make a difference in their community, or at their church or at their school or someone who is breaking the glass ceiling in corporate America.”
It is this idealistic and hopeful radicalism in the youth that inspires them to bring ahead a revolution of concrete service. As mentioned in the passage from 1 Timothy 4:12: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” These young people who embrace their leadership roles with humility, compassion, and justice are the ones that EYLA hopes to recognize.
Deadline to submit nominations to the Epic Youth Leadership Awards (EYLA) is on February 15, 2019. The search is open to groups, organizations, clubs, and societies whose membership and leadership are composed of a majority whose ages are 38 years old and below, and where majority of members have Filipino lineage.
$3000 and a trip back to the motherland goes to the top winner; 2nd prize is $2000 and 3rd prize is $1000.
For more information and to submit nominations, go to www.mytfc.com/eyla. Follow the search for more updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GawadGenyLopez/ and on Instagram at www.instagram.com/epicyouthleaderawards.