We at Powerful Youth believe that all youth have the leadership potential to create profoundly positive change in their communities, and together, global change. But please do not let this intimidate you or make you think that you need to have a lot of time, energy, or money to create change! Teens can make a difference in the world without even leaving home, and here are five ideas how to do just that.
- Spread awareness via social media
Teens Can Make a Difference – participants on social mediaMore and more people are getting their news online and turning to social media to learn more about the global issues facing the world. Young activists are finding a platform on social media, quickly sharing information and starting conversations within their audiences. You can spread awareness online too! Follow news and informative accounts, activists, and experts focusing on the issues that you feel passionate about, or charities benefitting different causes, and share their content. Or even better, create your own content! You can use free services like Canva to easily create Instagram posts and slideshows to share, or simply share information via TikTok and hope it hits the For You page! Regardless of whether you share the content of others or make your own, ALWAYS check your sources before sharing!
- Contact your local government representative
Teens Can Make a Difference – posterDo not underestimate the power you have as a constituent! Consider the local and national issues you care about, find your local representatives and send them an email, write a letter, or call them about the issues you care about most. Here are a few tips for writing to a government official. If you want to take it a step further, encourage others to join you by sharing a template of what they can write, or a list of talking points for a phone call. If a government representative knows their constituents (and future lifelong voters!) really care about an issue and are holding them accountable, they are more likely to take it seriously.
- Make your home more environmentally-friendly
Teens Can Make a Difference – teens hugging a large treeYou can reduce your impact on the environment with small changes in your home that you can do right now! Did you know that 90% of the energy required by a washing machine is used to heat the water? Easy changes like washing clothes and dishes with cold water and drying clothes on a rack or line instead of a dryer machine will reduce your energy bill and make your household chores gentler on the environment. You can easily reduce food waste by saving vegetable and meat scraps in a container kept in the freezer, and making soup or stock with it when full. By offering clothing or items you no longer use on platforms like Facebook Marketplace, you not only avoid the landfill, but help someone avoid purchasing an item made with new materials. There are lots of small changes you can make today, and they add up!
- Organize a virtual fundraiser
Teens Can Make a Difference – street fundraiserYou don’t need to go door-to-door or approach strangers on the street to raise money anymore. And right now, the safest way to raise money is to do it virtually. You can create a fundraiser on a site like GoFundMe, and even Facebook now offers Facebook Fundraisers so you can easy raise money for charities or individuals by sharing on social media. You could also consider setting up a social enterprise by selling a product or service and giving all the profits to a cause you care about!.This is what many of our Global Leadership Academy participants choose to do when tasked with raising as much money for their charity as possible in just 4 hours!
- Educate yourself
Teens Can Make a Difference – teen making notes change starts from within, and learning about the issues affecting your community, country, and our world is often what sparks a passion to make a difference. While many of us having the issues we are most passionate about, consider learning more about other issues as well. Many issues are interconnected, for example, homelessness and mental health, gender equality and domestic violence, and ocean pollution and waste reduction. What are the issues that are connected with your passions? By learning more about them, whether that is through books, podcasts, or by following informational accounts or activists on social media.
If you are wanting to follow any of these ideas, but are struggling with setting goals and following through, check out our Beginner’s Guide to Goal Setting for Teens. It includes different popular goal-setting approaches so you can pick what you think would work best for you!