The rapidly changing social landscape of both California and the world as a whole leaves many, especially the young, questioning their identity, their future, and their place in society. Youth in particular seem to be searching for standards by which to govern their lives and decisions. OLINGA does not view youth as powerless victims of social forces around them, or as a “crisis” population to be feared. Now, as throughout history, when appropriately guided, youth can be powerful resources for social advancement.
While global trends present an image of this age group as problematic, unmotivated, and self-consumed, OLINGA sees something different. We see in youth altruism, eagerness to learn about the universe, and the desire to participate in building a better world. Our experiences over the years have confirmed this vision as we see youth enthusiastically participate, out of their own volition, in our educational program and eagerly engage in service projects.
OLINGA’s programs enable young people to take ownership for processes of social and economic development in their communities.
Students form groups, envision, design, plan and carry out service projects while progressing through educational materials to explore concepts pertaining to development theory and practice.
Older students befriend and involve groups of younger students in structured weekly activities; increasing scale while raising capacity in the next generation of program facilitators.
Sustained effort by student groups to improve certain aspects of community life generates practical knowledge that is captured, distilled, systematized, and disseminated through evolving educational materials and branch programs.
When nurtured and accompanied over a period of years, student groups can evolve into community-based organizations, operating within an evolving conceptual framework, and dedicated to advancing both the material prosperity and spiritual well-being of their communities.