Youth Empowerment and Skills (YES!+)

YES!+ FEST ’ 09: Youth Gather to Take Oath for Change!

A Concert Event that Featured Local Bands: Case Closed, The Hermit, Matt Mei, Bodhi Jones & Satori Tide. Hundreds of youth (18-35) gathered at the Hellenic Community Center in Vancouver, B.C. (Canada) on November 8, 2009, for a momentous event where youth stood up to take an oath to create a stress-free and violence-free society.

“WE PLEDGE to be responsible for our life WE PLEDGE to become leaders for our societies WE PLEDGE to create a stress and violence free world TOGETHER, we will make a difference TOGETHER, we will be the change!”

Inspired by the transformation YES!+ has brought in their own lives, a new team of YES!+ graduates from Vancouver decided to organize YES!+ FEST ’ 09, a drug-free and alcohol-free event that allowed youth to experience positive ways to celebrate, and to collectively take responsibility for their city.

One of Vancouver’ s new YES!+ Graduates, Sumant Gandhi, shares his experience:“ I personally went through many transformations throughout the process. One of them being the self- realization of why do I want to create a divine society. When I had to invite someone to the concert, I would tell him or her of the intention behind the concert and why is it that I am doing this. It reinforced my belief that I am playing an important part in transforming the society. It was also a very educational experience; I learnt the dynamics of gathering hundreds of people and what is involved with putting on an event. It helped me polish my interpersonal and organizational skills. While organizing this concert I felt the power of group energy. There were so many young, vibrant and energetic people in the room, all committed to one cause, radiating positive energy - it was an experience to remember. At the end when the concert was done, the self gratifying feeling that I had, was nothing like I ever had after finishing a school project or work project. I felt content in myself. The whole experience was the living example of one of the values taught in YES!+ DSN that ‘ Great Responsibility Brings Great Power’. I felt powerful.”

Organized in only three weeks YES!+ FEST ’ 09 was an extravaganza of youthful energy, optimism, and commitment to individual and global transformation. The event showcased several local bands and artists and community leaders who supported this vision. Awards were presented to Joshua Fishman of the Gathering Place, Nigel Mojica of East 13th Community Breakfast Initiative, and to Claudia Goodine of SAWA Global for their committed effort in promoting a stress-free and violence-free society for the youth and community at large.

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