Since its inception, IARS' charitable business, projects and strategic direction have been steered by user groups one of which is the Youth Advisory Board (YAB). This continues to be a key governance and project feature of IARS that meets on a regular basis to scrutinize, quality control and monitor our work, and advise on our strategy. YAB is a team of young volunteers aged 15 – 25 from different backgrounds and circumstances who are aware of the problems facing young people in today’s society and who are interested in an opportunity to do something positive about these issues.
YAB members also have the opportunity to be more directly involved in IARS projects, by attending workshops, assisting with how the projects are managed, writing in the IARS newsletter, updating the website and setting up youth events. All YAB members are awarded with a certificate for their active participation at the end of the project and they are provided with bespoke and tailored training that will allow them to genuinely get involved in projects and our governance.
The YAB has proved to be an excellent opportunity for young people to get their voices heard and to address issues that are important for them. At the end of the project members of the YAB get the chance to stay on and assist us with IARS other youth-led projects.
To become a YAB member, young people apply with their CV and a covering email, they are shortlisted and interviewed and then invited to join the YAB. During the life of the project new YAB members are selected in the same way but involving the existing YAB group. If you would like to know more about the Youth Advisory Board and the terms of reference click here.
“I am currently completing my undergraduate law degree at the School of Oriental and African Studies. After my degree I would like to go on to do my LPC and become a qualified solicitor. I joined the Youth Advisory Board as growing up I have seen the lack of concern young people have for current political issues but yet young people are the most affect. My aim by joining the YAB is to be in the position to involve more young people in key political issues that affect us. “
IARS essentially reinvigorates the democratic spirit of young people who are distanced from the decision making process by helping them take charge of the issues that matter most to them and their communities. I know that independent, grassroots organisations with social well-being motives such as the IARS can make a real difference firstly because, I have personally benefited by directly engaging with them and secondly because, they've provided me distinct opportunities to contribute to the wider good of my community.
I have previously campaigned with Citizens UK to tackle local child poverty and I've earned my 100 Hours of Volunteering Award from Vinsipred, an organisation dedicated to inspiring young people to develop professional skills by working to improve their communities.
After recently completing my GCSE’s, and a summer of training as a RAF Cadet, I have begun my A-Levels (History, Maths, Physics & Philosophy) like thousands of other students across the country. In a society where the economic, social and political situation is unstable and unforgiving towards youths in terms of allowing them to secure employment by gaining the right experience, I am thankful for this position on the YAB. Not only am I able to develop professionally through it at a young age, but due to the nature and goals of the YAB, I will also be able to inspire and help other young people to do the same.
I am currently at University reading Law with Business. I am a firm believer in equal access to justice for all and I strive for the youth in society to have their voice heard as I believe that we have a dwindling role in the decision-making of the laws that govern us. If this problem is acknowledged, I believe that the youth will become more interested in politics and voting for the political party who will ultimately have knock-on effect on their daily life. There is a lack of understanding from the ‘top up’, the decision-making bodies, and the ‘bottom down’, who are the youth in society. There needs to be a bridge in between this gap and I believe that an organisation like IARS helps in narrowing this gap. IARS encourages the youth, who are essentially the future of society, to actively participate and stand up for issues that affect them and this is why I am delighted to be a part of the Youth Advisory Board.
I firmly believe that true democracy cannot exist if those deemed young in society are excluded from the decision making process. This is why I joined the Youth Advisory Board. It, essentially, provides a platform for young people to get their voices heard and their issues addressed. I always had a tendency to give back to my community. I was once a volunteer at ReachOut which is a charity organisation that provides mentoring for young people in primary schools with academic or personal development needs. I also volunteered at the 2014 Global Summit held in London to end sexual violence in conflict areas which was organised by Angelina Jolie and William Hague.