As our news channels started to focus around preparations for last night's yearly state of the union address by President Barack Obama, my thoughts started to focus on my own direction for the year. The first lady graces the balcony to sit with her invited guests of everyday heroes, I think about those everyday hard knock leaders that I have met during my time serving in communities. Dignitaries & politicians with both similar and opposing views join in to chart course on priorities for the upcoming year. The Presidential state of the union #SOTU pays homage to the idea of moving forward.
Putting the politics aside as critics and opposition members starts to weigh in, I took a second look at those empowering words spoken to be inspired and to dream forward with others who want to make our world stronger.
So here are four themes highlighting the 2014 state of the union for Hard Knock Leadership
1) Making this a year of action
How much time of our life do we dedicate to just thinking and dreaming instead of acting on those thoughts. While I acted on launching Hard Knock Leadership last year, the first phase of HKL has been focused on building dialogue. The second phase this year will focus on forums for taking ACTION.
2) Focusing on education as a tool to reduce inequality
Access to education has been a vital part of my journey as a first generation student immigrating to Canada. The importance of reducing inequality both local & global comes with the need to provide communities with the same resources for education that empowering to youth. Supporting leaders within under resourced communities and working around youth empowered models will always be at the heart of HKL.
3) Focusing on the facts of climate change
We can't ignore it and I'm not just talking about the current state of cold that we are facing here in Toronto. If we want the next generation to live in a better state than we are now, we need to start learning, understanding and addressing the realities of what is affecting our climate. My recent travels has allowed me to witness the necessity of leaving a sustainable footprint & HKL will begin to highlight some of these topics affecting our environment.
4) Creating citizenship that matters
"Citizenship means standing up" for what you believe in and if we are all working towards the same goal of stronger communities then lets stand together. As eloquently stated in President Obama's #SOTU "citizenship demands a sense of common purposes and an obligation to to serve our communities." COLLABORATION is key in navigating the change we wish to see together as people and will be the goal & purpose of how HKL gets involved in communities.
With these themes in mind HKL's strategy for the upcoming year has been defined to call out fellow hard knock leaders who like the heroes of nations are striving to make change. We have the ability to address our future and in closing, to echo the words of the Presidential #SOTU
Comment on what your 2014 state of the union will be & hashtag #HKLSOTU
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Contact Sid Naidu to address your youth group around creating stronger communities at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @hardknockleader