Created by:  Ranye Ezenekwe (CO, USA), Pragna Yalavarthy (CO, USA), Amara Nwuneli (Nigeria), Serena Binkowski (VA, USA)

Children are equally affected by every issue we face as a society. However, they are often left out of the conversation, unaware that they hold the power to create lasting change. This is why we, the Arts Hub, embarked on a four-month-long journey that would inspire and educate youth voices.

On April 22nd, roughly 100 people attended a hybrid Earth Day-inspired school assembly based in Uruguay, with teens tuning in from the United States and Nigeria. This event — spearheaded by the Arts Hub —  increased awareness surrounding the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), helped teens learn how to use art to advocate for global issues, and highlighted the Global Co Lab’s role in engaging teens worldwide to become changemakers.

How did we get involved in this opportunity? Well, after several months of holding our weekly, teen-led meetings, we found a need to provide younger voices with a platform to address their concerns, desires, and interests about our planet. In late December, we were contacted by Ms. Tendai Wilkinson, a Uruguayan middle school art teacher and long-time Co Lab partner, who was captivated by our ability to use art as a medium to advance the SDGs. She proposed that we hold an Earth Day-inspired assembly in her middle school to show the importance of teen changemakers in shaping global issues. By working with our hub for over four months to refine our presentation, obtain compelling images, and record media, we completed our ambitious project.

We began the assembly with a brief introduction to the Global Co Lab, our mission, and international impact. Then, we introduced the Arts Hub members and how we’ve used art to enrich our global community. After a quick overview, we discussed the importance of Earth Day and advocating for the SDGs. The presentation was designed to be an interactive experience that keeps the audience engaged in open conversation. We proposed open-ended questions and held brainstorming sessions to foster active dialogue among the middle schoolers. In addition, we asked five students to choose a number between 1 and 17, and then we elaborated on the SDG correlating to the number they chose. This allowed the audience to engage meaningfully in our presentation and inspired them to learn more! Lastly, we streamed the Global Co Lab’s documentary, Youth Voices on the UN Goals: Changing the World Together, to mobilize youth to become community leaders. On their way out, each student was given a slip of paper to write down one takeaway or solution they learned from the assembly. To much surprise, Ms. Tendai had organized on-site producers, who filmed an inspiring video of our event.

If you would like to view the full assembly video, visit here.  If you would like to view our slide deck, visit here.