The cover of the new Footsteps magazine is full of hope. It features nine young people from all corners of the globe and makes me curious to know the stories behind each of the different faces.
There is plenty of hope and diversity to be found inside the pages of the magazine. The stories and reports are full of the bright ideas, resilience and energy of young people around the world. After all, as we are reminded throughout this edition, young people are the future. They will be tomorrow's leaders.
We hear about a group of young people in Khartoum, in Sudan, who are designing a generator that can be powered by either solar energy or fuel. And a group of 50 young people in Nigeria who have completed the Live Justly course. This course covers six key areas: advocacy, prayer, consumption, generosity, relationships and creation care. The young people have formed a foundation and support each other to carry out activities that make a difference in their communities. These include tree planting, litter clean-ups, and making stools and coffee tables from old tyres.
Watch a short video about a Live Justly course that took place in Haiti and is featured in Footsteps 109.
However, I like the way the magazine sees a bigger picture. It explores both the vast opportunities for young people growing up in a globalised world and the very real challenges faced by millions of 15 to 24-year olds. These include lack of education, poverty, conflict, early marriage, unemployment, corruption, political uncertainty and environmental degradation.
It was disturbing to read about 16-year-old Rani's terrifying experience in Delhi and the fears of daily gang violence faced by young people in cities in Honduras. Footsteps looks at ways to cope with and overcome such difficult events and how to take steps to protect vulnerable young people.
The internet is another area where young people are vulnerable to exploitation. It is set to play a huge part in the lives of young people. They are already the most connected age group in the world. The benefits and disadvantages of internet connectivity are explored in a double-page infographic. There are also some great discussion questions to start young people talking about online opportunities and challenges.
'The stories and reports in Footsteps 109 are full of the bright ideas, resilience and energy of young people around the world.'
As ever, there are useful practical guides such as how to organise a debate, tips for staying safe online and a Bible study that focuses on the boy who provides the loaves of bread and fishes that Jesus takes to feed five thousand people. There is also a fascinating section on the transition from childhood to adulthood. It looks at the health risks and support strategies that can be employed to guide young people through these vital life stages. Much of the information is likely to ring true for parents everywhere.
Last but not least is a nostalgic note from the original editor of Footsteps, Isabel Carter. She reflects on the magazine's 30th anniversary and quotes an early reader from Honduras who describes Footsteps as: 'A fountain of practical ideas and information exchange.' Long may it keep flowing.
Let us know which stories and issues interested you in the comments box below.
You can read more about youth issues around the world in Footsteps 109.
Download a PDF version