Young people aren’t just the leaders of tomorrow – they’re making huge changes to the world around them, right now. Whether it’s through social media or ‘hashtag’ activism, writing online or in their paper about a cause, or taking part in a protest, there are many ways that young people can ‘be the change’ and make a difference to the world.
Many young people volunteer in some way these days. It’s not just for adding experience to your CV – whether it’s a teaching or sports project, to animals and conservation work, to a hospice or a community centre, you can make a real difference!
Usually, the more local you can volunteer, or the more focused the action point, the better! Volunteering abroad can often be a great experience, and definitely life changing, but ‘voluntourism‘ projects aimed for young people aren’t always the best way to help communities. To start with, focus on how you can help your local area or a cause within your country.
2. Write to your political representative
A great way to start writing to your political representative is researching what some of your favourite charities are doing. Many charities, such as anti-poverty or environmental ones, will be running advocacy campaigns with petitions or with options to write to your representative regarding the issue. Through these, you can learn the best ways you can ask your representative to take action.
MPs want to hear from their constituents and what they’re interested in – that’s their job! However, they can’t tackle poverty or climate change singlehandedly – what they really want is to know what they can personally do about it. Write to them, or even ask for a meeting with them, and show them what you think they should be focusing on.
3. Use online platforms to reach others
There’s never been a greater time in history for reaching out to millions of people around the world. You’ve probably seen how a single Twitter hashtag can create massive social awareness, such as #BlackLivesMatter and #YesAllWomen. What hashtags can you contribute to, or even create?
If longer writing is more your thing, writing for an online portal like Huffington Post is a great place to start. You can write blogs and original content for HuffPo to reach new audiences, and if it’s featured then you could see your article reaching thousands of people.
4. Giving other young people a role
One of the best ways you can make a difference is to inspire others to join you. Not only are you teaching other young people about important issues, but you’re encouraging them to teach others too. That’s one reason why many charities and organisations have resources for young people who want to get involved as an ambassador for their cause. But you can do the same thing! Maybe you want to launch a campaign on raising awareness of a social issue, for example, but you need help to do everything. If you can create a team to join you, by giving everyone a role as an ambassador and a change agent, you’re helping them to put their own ideas into reality and make a much wider difference.
5. Think out of the box
Why do videos, campaigns, or pictures go viral? Normally a big reason behind this is because it’s something not many people will have seen before, which makes it ‘shareable’. By finding a way to make a difference in a completely unique way, you can find ways to reach entirely new audiences.