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Empowering Changemakers: A Beacon of Hope for Youth in South Korea


In a society grappling with high rates of youth suicide and bullying issues, a recent workshop held at Seoul Finance High School aimed to empower students and provide them with the necessary tools to overcome adversity. This transformative workshop focused on nurturing self-awareness, promoting self-care, and fostering purposeful leadership among a group of 11 talented and resilient students as "Changemakers of Seoul Finance High School". Against the backdrop of diverse and underprivileged backgrounds, these young individuals showcased incredible strength, serving as beacons of hope for their peers.

South Korea faces a daunting array of social issues, particularly affecting its youth. It is one of the highest youth suicide rates among developed nations, with an estimated suicide rate of 7.3 per 100,000 people in 2020 (Korea Suicide Prevention Center). The pressures of academic expectations, intense competition, and societal demands take a significant toll on young minds, leading to feelings of hopelessness and despair. Additionally, the prevalence of bullying has reached alarming levels, with over 80% of South Korean students experiencing some form of bullying during their academic years (Korean Educational Development Institute).



Creating a Safe Space for Growth: Recognizing the urgent need for change, the workshop at Seoul Finance High School sought to create a safe and nurturing space for the participating students. The facilitator and founder of gdly, AJ Kim's expertise in mindfulness and well-being provided the students with essential tools to cultivate self-awareness and navigate their emotional landscapes. By fostering an environment of trust, respect, and support, the workshop enabled the students to confront and open up about their personal struggles, channeling their experiences into personal growth and resilience.

Harnessing the Power of Peer Support: The workshop leveraged the transformative power of peer support, recognizing the unique bond that can be forged among individuals facing similar challenges. The students, hailing from diverse and underprivileged backgrounds, were encouraged to share their experiences and concerns openly. Through these intimate circle-sharing sessions, they found solace in knowing that they were not alone in their struggles, forging deep connections and building a supportive community that transcended their individual hardships.

Addressing Mental Health Concerns Head-On: Amidst the backdrop of South Korea's troubling mental health landscape, the significance of this workshop cannot be overstated. With youth suicide rates on the rise, it is imperative to provide young individuals with the necessary tools and support systems to navigate their emotional well-being. By integrating elements of self-awareness, self-care, and peer support, the workshop offered the students a lifeline—a chance to develop resilience, coping mechanisms, and a renewed sense of purpose.

Igniting Purposeful Leadership: Beyond addressing mental health concerns, the workshop sought to ignite a sense of purpose and empower these young individuals to become agents of change within their own lives and their communities. By emphasizing the vital role of aligning personal values with leadership endeavors and having thought-provoking discussions, the students were inspired to tap into their unique talents and aspirations, fueling their drive to effect positive change and tackle the social issues plaguing their society.

The workshop stands as a testament to the power of resilience, peer support, and purpose-driven leadership. Against the challenging societal landscape and individual adversities, these 11 exceptional students emerged as shining examples of strength and determination. Equipped with self-awareness, self-care practices, and a sense of purpose, they are poised to become ambassadors of change within their communities. As we celebrate their journey, we must recognize the importance of providing more platforms and support systems that enable young individuals to flourish, paving the way for a brighter and more hopeful future for the youth of South Korea.

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