Benalla P-12 College students were among more than 100 12-year-olds from across Victoria who delivered their ‘‘Kids Manifesto’’ at an inaugural event that recognises and supports child-led advocacy and social change.
Youngsters collaborate with 10 creative facilitators to explain what change they want to see across critical social sectors that include disability, environment, gender, elderly, kids, animals and cultural diversity.
The Kids Manifesto was delivered to an audience of community leaders, changemakers, family and friends who were challenged and inspired to work with participants to make their vision a reality.
Highlighting Article 12 of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child, which states that children have a right to be heard and their views and opinions respected — as part of Children’s Week — this event aims to put forward the views and opinions of children from across Victoria.
Kids Thrive co-founder and chief executive officer Andrea Lemon said participants had spent the past six months becoming local change-makers through the Kids Thrive program, ‘‘Kids as Catalyst’’.
‘‘Working within their communities with organisations and individuals, students have taken action and driven change on issues ranging from the rights of animals to the respect of elders,’’ Dr Lemon said.
‘‘The 100 children coming to Kids Manifesto represent a fantastic range of styles and abilities, which is why we have designed an event using multiple communication disciplines, such as visual arts, written word, music and performance, so as not to preference those only flu- ent in text and public speaking.
‘‘The manifesto is the next step up from the children’s local activism. It’s a childcentred gathering speaking directly to our community leaders and projecting their visions for a better world, from their own garnered expertise.
‘‘Our evaluations show that kids have a remarkable sphere of influence that goes well beyond their home and school.
‘‘It’s this influence and agency that can be harnessed in the big decis- locally ions that affect us all. It is possible to live in communities that include children in the decisions that affect them and their communities’ future.
‘‘Kids Manifesto will remind us that children are essential community contributors.’’
Proud: Cody from Benalla P-12 college, pictured with State Member for Caulfield and Shadow Innovation Minister David Southwick at the recent ‘‘Kids Manifesto’’ event.