WATCH: Tapping youth volunteerism for public service

David Lozada
WATCH: Tapping youth volunteerism for public service
Candon Youth Movement engages Ilocos Sur youth for projects on public health, agriculture, and education

MANILA, Philippines – Public health, agriculture, and education are some of the problems plaguing the city of Candon in Ilocos Sur province. With the absence of the Sangguniang Kabataan, there has been a vacuum for public service for the youth in these issues.

This is why one organization is trying to fill the gap by engaging local youth in advocacies and issues that impact their communities.

Candon Youth Movement (CYM) is an organization where we give avenues for the youth to be leaders in their own communities. We give them opportunities to serve and to lead,” said CYM founder Joanne Valdez.

CYM holds medical missions and pushes for HIV testing among the youth in the province. The organization also holds workshops to promote responsible farming practices. 

In the past months, they’ve also created a donation drive to give slippers to urban poor children.

Small beginnings and expansion

The idea of creating an organization for the youth started when Valdez went around the city to learn about the concerns of the citizens, prior to her electoral run.

“I consulted with the youth, and asked what they needed. I admit that my knowledge of the issues in Candon were shallow. I needed to know their (concerns) for me to (be able to) address their needs,” Valdez, who’s also a city councilor of Candon, said.

GIVING BACK. Candon Youth Movement volunteers talk to farmers in Ilocos Sur. Photo courtesy of CYM

In June 2016, Valdez and other young leaders formally organized CYM.  Since then, they have given medical assistance to 10 communities.

The organization has already expanded to other towns in Ilocos Sur like Cervantes, Gregorio del Pilar, Banayoyo, and Santa Lucia, and even to La Union province.

We believe that service is not exclusive to one’s location. It has no jurisdiction. We believe that if there are communities that need your help, you cannot say no as long as you can and have the opportunity to help,” Valdez added.

For CYM, tapping the youth’s sense of volunteerism goes a long way.

“Change is collaborative. It has to be worked for through multi-stakeholder partnerships. I believe that no one has the monopoly on goodwill. It’s the job of the people, the government, the private sector, and non-government groups to work for change. We all have to work for it,” Valdez concluded.

With its successful model of engagement, CYM hopes it will inspire other youth leaders across the Philippines to follow its steps. –

Candon Youth Movement is a partner organization of Rappler’s civic engagement arm MovePH. For more information on how you can help or be part of Candon Youth Movement, check out their stories on X. Know more about our other organization partners:

Do you want your organization to be part of MovePH’s X Network? Email us at!

At Rappler, we believe there are many freedoms: to speak, to choose, to love, or just to be. #InspireCourage is our campaign to encourage people to speak up, engage in issues, and continue fighting for the change they want to see. Be part of the conversation. 

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