Ms Lilian Law
Former CEO of The Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong
Youth development and social capital
Personal and social networks make up the youth’s social capital which gives them not only substantive support on job seeking and problem solving but also emotional support and assistance in personal growth. Social capital is very essential to youth development.
Family is the very origin of social capital since we are born. Parents provide their children with education and emotional support and also opportunities for development through their personal networks. Family is the first source of social capital in youth development. However, some families are rich in social capital while others are not.
School is the second important system to which the youth will attach. Teachers and principals are adults who have the closest contact with them. Classmates are their peers who will grow up with them. Family, school and friends are the three important sources of social capital to the youth.
If a youth unfortunately fails to gain support from these three sources, he/she will turn to the virtual world online. However, the relationships and connections in the virtual world may be unreal and vulnerable. Whether the followers and friends online can be included as social capital to the youth has yet to be further studied.
The ways to help the youth acquire more social capital include developing parenthood, encouraging mutual help among families, forging good neighbourhood, promoting caring campuses, guiding students to respect and accept discrepancies, recruiting enthusiastic people to be mentors, etc. The youth will then change from recipients to those who are self-confident and willing to help others in need. I believe that Hong Kong will soon become a more caring and supportive community.
Please click here to download newsletter issue 25 for more sharing.