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From left, WHS sr. Tyler Timm, WHS Spanish Instructor Cass Didier, and WHS jr. Ryan Volin pose in the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations in New York City. All three were selected as Nebraska's only representatives in the Feb. 15-18 U.N. Winter Youth Assembly, a forum of 700 youth from 70 countries convened to help find solutions to global problems.

Timm, Volin & Mrs. Didier attend 2016 United Nations Youth Assembly

3 of Wahoo's own collaborate with 700 world-wide youth to develop solutions to global crises

Sometimes adults don't have all the answers.

As life-long learners, effective school teachers thrive on what they learn every day from their students. On a global front, when our world leaders are perceptive enough to do the same, good things happen!

As its members continue their work of finding ways to improve the quality of life of the world's less-fortunate populations, the United Nations proves that it also values the youth perspective.

The UN hosted its 2016 Winter Youth Assembly at its Headquarters in New York City last week, Feb. 15-18.

"We must constantly think and have the conviction to transform our visions into action to create a future for a better and more sustainable world," encouraged Yin-Chu Jou, Youth Assembly Chair, to this year's young participants.

Three of Wahoo's finest were among that group being addressed, which included peers from across the globe!

In late November, Wahoo High School’s Tyler Timm (sr.), Ryan Volin (jr.) and Spanish Teacher Cass Didier were notified of their acceptance to attend this year's UN Youth Assembly!

The assembly’s purpose was to increase understanding and to promote the implementation of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 amongst youth worldwide. The 17 SDGs include global issues such as eradicating poverty and hunger, improving access to education, and advocating for gender equality.

In all approximately 700 youths from 70 countries were in attendance. The trio from WHS served as the only Nebraskan representatives, and they represented the state quite well, as Timm was selected as one of only 15 “Outstanding Youth Delegates!”

Throughout the two-day conference, Timm, Volin and Didier listened to numerous panel discussions from global leaders on the many ongoing movements to reach the UN’s 17 SDGs of 2030, and the part youth can play in ensuring their success.

The three agree that the experience to discuss such issues with the perspective of youth from around the world was truly surreal, especially doing so in the legendary UN General Assembly Hall.

“I am incredibly grateful to the administration for 1) allowing me to attend, and 2) in continuing to promote the importance of being global citizens to our students,” Didier stated. “How cool is it to be able to show students firsthand that a 21st century classroom is so much more than four walls?”

On the overall experience:

“NYC is a crazy city, but having the chance to explore this city with two great friends was something I’ll never forget. We were able to have a couple of days to relax and enjoy the city, and a couple of days of very in-depth and thought-provoking presentations at the UN. The best part was being able to collaborate with like-minded youth from all corners of the globe,” Timm commented.

Volin added, “This being my first time in New York City, it was eye-opening. I haven’t ever experienced a city that was in such a hurry. The main thing that I will take away from this trip was how well everyone worked together. When we split into small groups of 10 people, we were all able to work together to ask questions and learn new things in an efficient and fun way. There is nothing as amazing as having the opportunity to have friends from each and every continent.”

“It was so awesome to learn alongside my students—even though I was somehow mistaken for their mom a couple of times!” Didier continued. “We were such a great team all around, from taking advantage of the networking opportunities to navigating the city—we had an absolute blast. I am excited to see what Tyler and Ryan do with the connections they have made and the information they have gathered. It’s refreshing to work with students who care so strongly about making a positive a difference in our world.”

Timm, Volin and Didier agree that any student interested in human rights, international relations, and/or the chance to simply try something new should apply to the program next year.

“The chance to enjoy a beautiful city, travel with friends and meet other inspiring youth is something no Wahoo student should pass up,” Timm said.

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The goals of the Youth Assembly:

  1. Provide access to and information about the work, successes and current challenges of the United Nations;
  2. Promote increased youth participation in UN programs, agencies and NGO affiliates;
  3. Strengthen the role of youth in implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals;
  4. Connect committed youth with opportunities, mentors, colleagues, and new associates;
  5. Recognize the artistic and diplomatic efforts of young people already involved in development and humanitarian initiatives; and
  6. Promote renewal of a commitment to serve and respect this most important international institution.

17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
  2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
  3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
  4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
  7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
  8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
  9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
  10. Reduce inequality within and among countries.
  11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
  13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
  14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
  15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
  16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
  17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

Source: YA@UN website, http://www.faf.org/main/youthassembly/overview-annual/

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Timm, Volin & Mrs. Didier attend 2016 United Nations Youth Assembly

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