Last week a few of SOAR's ambassadors had the opportunity to gather in Järna, Sweden for YIP's annual Initiative Forum.
"Initiative Forum is an annual conference hosted by the Youth Initiative Program in Jarna Sweden. It is hosted by and for people who want to enact positive change in the world. It is a space for learning, inspiration, networking, and collaboration. Participants can come to share and learn about initiatives for change from around the world. It combines lectures, personal stories, workshops, discussions and celebrating into a week that will awaken the intellect, warm the heart, and rejuvenate the spirit."
Following in the spirit of this gathering our team had the opportunity to give a brief presentation of SOAR's vision as well as take questions from the audience. We wanted to say a big Thank You to the organizers of Initiative Forum for creating such an inspirational 5- day event as well as giving us and so many others the space to share about our ongoing projects! We are sparked and excited to welcome in our first batch of participants for what will be surely be an exciting 6 months of learning!
Thinking about applying to SOAR? There are still a few places left!
The new SOAR site in Greek is up! Check it out at
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Marilha Balieiro age. 25
A Mini Series: 4. Being Young Today
Let me start with a very honest statement: I was never very concerned about the world. Not with climate change or hunger issues. While many of my friends where volunteering for NGO’s, working for a Socialist Revolution to start in my town or organizing big charity events, I was just taking children and teenagers on excursions to the mountains. Ok, don’t get me wrong I cared deeply about the world then. I just didn’t know that caring for my self, my people and my direct environment was also caring for the world. I cared for that which I could act on, and at the time that didn’t seem to be the most popular view.
In fact, that didn’t save me from feeling a bit off every time that my friends would introduce me to one of their causes. We would talk with passion about inequality, or governments and evil forces playing with the stock market, or how important it was to send crions to the poor African kids. I felt off not because I couldn’t feel it in myself, in fact, I grew to develop a very strong capability of speech when joining into these kind of conversations, sometimes becoming a vehement steward of peace and justice myself. No, I felt off because I wondered with envy: How do they know? How do they manage to trust so deeply? I felt I was the odd one, the one pretending to care about all of these issues when actually what I wondered was “what can I do with myself to be more happy?”
This feeling of oddness walked everywhere with me, in fact, it was always a counterforce inside that I could not fight, so I had to instead learn to live with it. I found acceptance in others and truth in the outside world. I naturally learned to fit. I had many faces for many places, I had answers for everything and really little interest in questions that I couldn’t respond to. And so I kept seeking what was outside of myself letting these feelings push me forward even more, until I was finally invited to look inside.
Long story short, life brought me through a wonderful journey within and without for the past 5 years that reached it’s culmination point while I was a participant at the International Youth Initiative Program. I studied there for 10 months, the first 10 months of the rest of my life, and it was there that I, for first time, had the time and space to look at those inner oddities, and the opportunity to discover that they were the source of my power. It was also the time where I discovered what was truly burning inside me, the time where envy left me and was instead replaced by passion, love and eagerness to serve the world.
But how? Well, at this point I would say that programs like YIP or SOAR are basically incubators for social innovation, safe spaces where groups of individuals are given the time and the opportunities to break inner and outer rules of structural and cultural establishment to let a deeper wisdom -in service- arise. In short lets just say that it’s like living in a TED Talk for 10 months.
This experience nourished and helped me to define and step into my work. It gave me dozens of technologies and tools (and not just the theory but the experience of those in multiple scenarios) and brought me to the hands of real experts in various fields like group facilitation, organizational consultancy and personal growth, worth thousands of euros in workshops, courses and seminars.
However, I would say that the most important skills for my life and my work that I developed through this program were observation, deep listening, presence and intuition. Each individual, group of individuals or situation ask for different solutions and approaches, and now that I am working with different teams and individuals in tackling within their organizations one of the major challenges of humanity: how to work together and co-create from a healthy space. I am realizing how often I go back to my notes to get inspiration from the exercises and experiences we had, and how often I let go of all the guidelines so that I can create my own exercises. Because of the understanding given by the long exposure and practice with these technologies that enhanced my capacity to observe and to listen to what the situation asks for, and because of the daily use of all this skills and the incredible outcomes they generate, it allows me to trust that what my intuition is telling me is the right thing.
In conclusion, I think that programs like YIP or SOAR are cutting edge spaces of innovation, maybe too innovative to be recognized as so. Because of this it is time for us, the Alumni of such programs to show the world what is possible to create out of the space that these experiences opened inside us.
Let’s let the future emerge!
A Mini Series: 3. Being Young Today
What is the new story we are co-creating today?
When we sit in Circle together there is an image that comes to mind. It's an image of a blue lake underneath a dark sky covered in thick, black clouds. At the precise moment when all of a sudden there is a break in the clouds and the sun comes bursting through shining down onto the water, there is a feeling of elation, hope and possibility. This moment of break-through is the feeling I get when I sit in Circle. When we talk about what we want for the future, we are challenging the old story. With this, I think it is important to have empathy and compassion for this story – understand that it once served us and that it was created because there were needs. Now we want to meet those needs in a different way.
I see a world in our future where men and women are equal - equal to the point where there is no distinction between woman and man. As well, I’m excited to see the future embrace gift economy and to live in a world where people have an inherit sense of abundance. With this sense of abundance, confidence and stability will grow in ourselves, allowing us to move forward and do what we want to do. I think fear is what is stopping us from making the changes we want to see in the world. There is another image I have of the world where there are no borders and we are a global village. This includes really supporting, balancing, and encouraging diversity and unification in order to tackle issues of prejudice and discrimination which are based on economic, racial, and religious differences. There may not be a world without conflict or challenge, but I do envision a new way of working with our challenges. I can see us meeting each other with a much greater deal of openness, compassion, and understanding.
This includes taking into account the full story of each individual – which is, I believe, always beautiful.
A Call For A School Of All Relations
A Mini Series
A Mini Series 1.
A Mini Series. 2
A Mini Series 7
Being Young Today
Life After SOAR
What Does It Mean To Be A Young Adult And Wake Up To This World Today?
What Is The New Story We Are Co-creating Today?