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Monday, March 11, 2019

7 Easy Ways for Teens to Give Back

Our friend, Craig Kielburger, the co-founder of WE Charity shares a few easy ways teens can get involved through his organization or a local charity that meets their interests.

The Dalai Lama once observed: “The greatest threat to our world is [that] we're raising a generation of passive bystanders.” WE is helping ensure that won’t be the case. Through our WE Schools service-based learning programs, it provides students and educators with the tools and resources to take action.

At the very heart of WE Charity lies the belief that young people can change the world. It’s why the organization was formed over 20 years ago with the mission of raising awareness about child labor. And it’s the driving factor that’s propelled WE into the global movement it has become today—dedicated to creating the next generation of positive changemakers.

There’s also clear evidence that by doing something for others, the students themselves are benefiting in multiple ways. According to McGill University researcher Dr. Nancy Heath, “Volunteering and getting involved gives a sense of community and belonging.” It can also help young people manage stress and build leadership skills that support both their academics and future career opportunities.

WE encourages youth to take action on causes they care about, both at home and abroad. It believes no matter your age or location, we can all make a positive impact—whether it’s volunteering, fundraising or raising awareness around issues that matter.

Here are seven easy ways teens can give back and make a positive impact in their daily lives, on the issues that are most important to them:

1. Share skills
Passion is infectious. So, what better place for a teen to begin than by sharing a skill they’re
passionate about? Those who love a good book can help a young person learn to read through the WE Read Together campaign. Those who love sports can volunteer to help coach an inner-city sports team. One group of Toronto students, inspired by WE’s Social Entrepreneurship Program, is working to boost the number of women pursuing a career in the sciences by matching young women with mentors in STEM.

2. Collect for those in need
WE encourages youth to come together and collect food to contribute to their local food bank through its WE Scare Hunger campaign. But teens have also used WE Schools programming to launch book drives for inner city schools and collect much-needed toiletries and other items for local homeless shelters.

3. Volunteer time
In our busy world, time has become one of our most valued commodities. Yet how often do we hear about the amount of time teens waste watching TV or playing video games? Channeling some of that screen time into helping out a local community center or senior’s home through WE Volunteer Now can provide teens with a sense of pride in doing something that matters while building skills that can help boost their resume.

4. Fight cyberbullying
We’re becoming increasingly aware of the devastating effect cyberbullying can have on its victims. Through the WE Rise Above campaign, teens can promote positive online behavior and create awareness of the power and impact online words and actions have.

5. Go green
Teens can help keep the earth green by organizing a community clean-up day or launching a WE Go Green campaign and starting a school or community garden. They can also organize a clothing swap to pass unwanted duds onto friends rather than throwing them out. Unwanted items can be donated to those in need.

6. Reach out online
In our wired world, technology can be a powerful tool for social change. Through the WE Are One campaign, teens can develop ways to make their school and community more inclusive for everyone. Plus, many charities can use a hand with social media outreach. What better way for those already spending time on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram than to fit in a little volunteer time by helping them out.

7. Rally others
Teens can rally others to join them in giving back to their community by starting a WE Club. The WE Schools Kit provides educators and students with tools and resources to take action on the causes they care about. Along with an overview of its service-learning program, it provides a sample campaign to help youth get started.

By inspiring youth to take action in ways such as these, WE inspired young changemakers in 2018 to volunteer 10.5 million hours to support over 5,000 local and global organizations. It also invited over one million youth who’d participated in one local and one global act of service to attend massive, inspirational WE Day events in 17 cities across America, Canada, and the UK.

The WE movement is bringing youth together to make a difference—so they truly will have the power to change the world.

You can learn more about WE Charity, a highly-rated charity, here. You, or your teen, can also use Charity Navigator's Advanced Search Tool to find other highly-rated charities in your area.

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