As summer ends and you begin to ease into your back to school routine, it is easy to get trapped in the bubble of our teenage world. What should I wear for my first day? How many notebook do I need to buy? What class will be my favorite? While these things are all very reasonable questions to be asking and thinking about, it is also a good time to ask yourself how you can get involved in your community on a regular basis to make a difference in the lives of others. You do not need to start a non-profit or raise a lot of money to make a difference, you just have to find a cause you are passionate about and act on it.
Here are some ideas on what you can do:
-Start a Girl Up club at your school: As you may know from reading this blog, Girl Up is a campaign of the UN foundation that mobilizes teens to raise awareness and funds for the world’s hardest-to-reach adolescent girls. Girl Up has many amazing projects going on right now in addition to funding programs in developing countries to ensure that girls have the chance to be safe, counted, educated, healthy and positioned to be leaders in their communities. For example, you can be part of helping to get a bill passed in Congress called “Girls Count,” which will enforce that girls everywhere are given a birth certificate when they are born. It is an exciting time to start a Girl Up club! Learn more here.
-Volunteer at your local food pantry: It is very rewarding to work at a local food pantry whether it be helping in the kitchen or serving meals, starting a conversation, and making other people smile.
-Volunteer at your local chapter of ASPCA or other animal shelter: It can be a little tricky to get approval to volunteer in an animal shelter if you are under 18, but if you love working with animals…give it a shot!
-Volunteer with kids: This could through an afterschool tutoring or arts program or through a shelter. There are always lots of opportunities to work with kids in your local community if you explore the options.
-Join or start a chapter of national service or social justice organizations: Amnesty International and the Red Cross are just two examples of organizations that have thousands of chapters around the country.
-Join or start a service board/club at your school: If you are passionate about bringing your classmates together to volunteer or educating them on the importance of social justice and volunteerism, consider a service board as a way to inspire others to become change agents in your community.
Trying to find one-time service opportunities in your area? Try volunteermatch.org