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18-year-old’s manifesto for positive change

Words by Smiley Team

Imagine a society in which everything, from education to housing and healthcare, is designed around collective wellbeing. What would it look like if we replaced individualism and materialism with community and generosity?

Envisioning this better world is the task 18-year-old Gracie Chick has set herself as an ambassador for the youth-led social movement, #iWill

Together with young people like her, the inspiring speaker and campaigner is drafting a Youth Manifesto to be launched on 6 June. It will contain a wealth of ideas for improving life for people everywhere based on an alternative outlook on what matters most. 

Gracie tells Smiley News: “The Youth Manifesto is about creating a vision for what can follow the shift in value system that we need.

"We need to value sharing, human connection and community within our lives over the current value system, which is very competitive, and based around what you earn and what you own, seeing everyone as an individual who should each just look out for themselves.”

To support the manifesto, she hopes to gather a collection of individual stories which demonstrate the positive changes promoted within its pages. 

She explains: “I feel like our stories are our greatest truth and once you bring so much truth together, it becomes impossible to ignore.”

Coming from a place of care

Gracie’s own story is integral to understanding how she has reached these conclusions. All her life she has been home-educated by parents who have taught her to cherish community and connections with others.

Her family lives a low-impact, semi-nomadic lifestyle, hopping between tiny homes such as a campervan, a canal boat and a wooden cabin built on the back of a pickup truck by her father, a carpenter. 

Wherever they go, their door is always open to others – whether it’s someone wanting a chat and a cup of tea, or a sick elderly person in need of care. 

“We've always been known as the people that everyone can come to, which is something that's very important to us,” she says.

Gracie’s family values helped her develop a strong passion for helping others and led her to volunteer for a homeless shelter, speak publically about the power of collectivism and dedicate much of her time to driving positive change.

When Gracie was 15 these values took her family on an extraordinary adventure. They embarked on a 7430-mile journey around the UK coastline in a tiny campervan to raise £17,000 for a young people’s sailing charity. 

Along the way, she learnt another important lesson - that her family “weren't alone in wanting to make a difference and that there are so many people out there doing incredible things in their communities,” she recalls.

Inspired to act?

SUPPORT: To learn more about #iWill, read the Power of Youth Charter.


This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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