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'I truly believe young people can change the world'

Words by Smiley Team

Volunteering and giving back has always been part of Jack Abrey’s DNA.

The 24-year-old from Enfield in North London currently works as a programme delivery executive at the Scouts, helping to create social action campaigns that empower 500,000 young people in the UK and 57 million globally, to help leave the world a little better than we found it.

On top of this, he volunteers as a school governor for St Michael’s Primary School, an ambassador for Blood Cancer UK and audiobook narrator for Living Paintings – an organisation that gives thousands of blind and partially sighted people the opportunity to read.

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He has a lot on his plate, but he wouldn’t want it any other way. “I truly believe that young people can and do change the world,” Jack tells Smiley News.

“By working collectively, we have the power to tackle the biggest social issues of our time head on. From supporting refugees and displaced children, to protecting our environment, Scouts and young people across the world are shaping society into a kinder, more resilient and more tolerant place. We won’t sit around and wait for world leaders to solve things, we’ll roll our sleeves up, get stuck in and make change happen!”

‘Volunteering is part of my DNA’

“I have always volunteered, for me it’s a part of my DNA – from being a Young Leader in the Scouts at 14, to helping oversee the strategic vision and direction of a school as a governor at 24, I have always been driven to give back,” says Jack. 

“The best thing about volunteering is the double benefit – it’s good for the communities, people and organisations you are helping out but it’s also good for you – from developing skills for life to meeting new people and making friends, there really is nothing else quite like it.”

For his work, one of the international campaigns he co-designed with young people from over 20 countries is called: #PromiseToThePlanet

“As part of this campaign I designed the actions, policy asks and mechanism for connecting 57 million Scouts to take collective action against climate change,” he says. “I am most proud of the partnerships I forged between Scouts UK, the World Organisation of the Scout Movement, WWF and the Cabinet Office through Together for our Planet. 

“By connecting and marrying up the expertise of WWF and the Cabinet Office to the enthusiasm and drive our young people have to make and create change we pioneered environmental social action at a truly ground-breaking level.

“We have seen some truly amazing and innovative examples of interdisciplinary action created by young people, such as solar water purification in isolated rural communities, to afforestation programmes in previously deforested land. This campaign is all about collective action – if enough people make small changes, these add together to form widespread global impact.”

Jack believes everyone needs to play their part in giving back to the planet, “as we are the first generation to truly understand the damage and destruction we are inflicting and the last that can do anything about it”. 

Find out more about #PromiseToThePlanet –





This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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