A properly functioning society relies on people being involved. Whether that means serving as President, Member of Parliament, local Mayor, or even taking a leadership role in a local club or organization, society can only function properly when those that have something at stake take an active role. Whether you are concerned about access to education, income inequality, or even zoning rules in your own neighborhood, it is important to participate — but you’ll need to know how to get involved, background information, and even some of the important players.
At IDIA, we see it as our job to help Educate, Empower, and Engage you in your own community. Our programs are designed to help you to learn more about the issues you care about, to develop the tools necessary to make a difference, and to facilitate your successful involvement. While we simply cannot be in every community around the world, our proven methods will give you the tools and experience necessary to bring about positive social change.
Why should I get involved?
In short, the reason you should get involved is because if you don’t, someone else certainly will. Effective governance and society relies upon people’s ability to use their independent voice. If you do not agree with a certain rule or policy in your community, province, state, or country, you should be able to speak out and work toward positive social change. In an ideal world, when you use your own voice you should be able to expect a mature, educated, reasoned response. You’ll find that’s not always the case.
What’s this “independent voice”?
Everyone has opinions. By existing in society, you interact with people, institutions, and governments. Whether you have a good experience or bad, you likely have ideas on how things can work better. You begin to have your own ideas of how things how be done; how people should be treated; even what rights people should have. When your interactions don’t match your expectations, you’ll want to bring about change. It can be something as simple as keeping streets in your community clean, or even something as big as tax policy or climate change. Your own experiences influence the way you see the world, and over time, you will develop a worldview.
The “independent” part is perhaps the most important. When you’re young, people do a lot of talking for you. They might choose your wardrobe, or even your path of schooling. They’ll influence how you feel about social policies, even your values and morals. But as you experience more of the world, you’ll start to develop your own voice. Maybe you don’t agree with your parents’ position on economic policy. Or maybe you don’t agree with the attention your school gives to technology and engineering education. You might not agree with the way federal taxes are apportioned. Once you recognize your own views, it’s critical that you develop your independent voice. Start talking for yourself and start encouraging others not to speak for you. If you don’t use your own voice, others will seek to use it for you, regardless your own positions on the issues.
Learn first, talk later.
Before you start talking, it is very important for you to become educated on the issues that are important to you. Limiting yourself to anecdotal information will yield poor results: instead of knowing what you’re talking about, you’ll be limited to your own experiences. The world might act very differently than you think it does, and your arguments won’t be persuasive. Educate yourself on the issues, and be sure to learn all sides. Instead of just confirming your own views, learn what someone with a conflicting opinion thinks. Understand their motivations and expectations and then compare them to your own. By achieving a 360 degree understanding of an issue, you’ll be better positioned to persuade others to your beliefs, and in turn, to bringing about the change you wish to see.
Where do I get this education?