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Worrying is a good thing!

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Volunteers from Oxfam Quebec, Canadians Advocating Political Participation and Plan Canada at the drawing board at a People's Summit workshop on youth engagement. (Taylor Lew)

By Talor Lew, G20 citizen blogger

Taylo Lew52.jpgI woke up this morning looking for inspiration.

I'm 19 years old, but sometimes I can feel so cynical. I'll read the newspaper and end up feeling stressed out thinking about all of the problems in the world.

What makes me feel more at ease is the knowledge that there are many people who are just as concerned as I am about the future of our world. The only thing left to worry about is where to start getting involved.

The inspiration I was looking for today came from a People's Summit workshop on youth engagement led by Oxfam Quebec. I met some incredible people who all added energy and passion to the discussions.

I learned that I had already accomplished a great deal just by feeling worried. I know, worrying doesn't sound very productive, right? But feeling worried and getting upset about the state of our world is a good first step to becoming an engaged citizen.

The next step of course is to turn our sense of worry into action.

It felt good to learn that Canadian youth are actually particularly well set up to take action and make a difference. We are well educated, we have access to technological resources that are crucial in creating international networks, and we live in a democratic society where we are free to voice our opinions.  

But even with all of these resources, many young people still feel reluctant to take a stand. This is because there are so many issues to tackle it can be difficult to find a way to start. Christine Girard, a project officer for Oxfam Quebec, said that the first step to engaging yourself is to focus. It's best to sit back, zero in on what is important to you and then go hardcore. Join an organization that supports your cause or start something yourself.      

I feel that the G8 and G20 summits have been great for Toronto because they start discussions and draw out people's opinions. Every day presents an opportunity to get inspired by speaking to people and engaging in new ideas. If you sometimes get cynical like I do, get out there and talk it out!

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