It's a great time of year to be thankful for what you have and to think about ways you can help others who don't have as much as you. Maybe volunteer some time at a local food shelf? Or think globally: The World Food Programme website
has up-to-the-moment information on how it has delivered food to families in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. Get inspired and get involved!.
Looking for something to do this summer? Find a Volunteer Opportunity
in your community. The library is one place among many who could use your support.
Fifteen year old Mississippi teen Erin Kavanagh
collected 200,000 online signatures from people concerned about BVO (brominated vegetable oil) added to Gatorade. Some research indicates BVO increases risk of nuerological disorders and altered thyroid hormones; it's banned in the European Union. Do your favorite drinks still contain BVO? Want to sign a petition, get more people involved, or start a petition? See change.org
April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month and National STDs Education and Awareness Month. June is Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and National Hunger Awareness Month. If you start now, you can organize a fun and important event in your school or community. For ideas, check the do something
site. I wish someone was collecting jeans for homeless teens here in Minnesota! If you do that, please let us know.
Make this Valentine's Day special at your school with an event demonstrating love (aka food and hygiene supplies) for the homeless. Getting organized now will make all the difference, whether you simply collect donations or raise money selling flowers and candy, here's a soundtrack
for your event.
Teens are powerful role models, influencing their friends and younger kids. (Adults too, but that's another topic.) Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) has an innovative program where teens teach grade school kids about how alcohol affects their brains. See MADD
to learn more and consider getting your school district involved.
When homework's piled high and you're tempted to take your education for granted, learn a little more about Malala Yousafzai
, the Pakistani who was recently attacked because of her outspoken defense of education for girls. (Think twice about following the link to the two-part documentary, it's one thing to know that people are flogged and killed, another to watch it happen in color.) Human Rights Watch
points out that Malala is just one of many school-age victims, and the attacks continue. To put the challenges of your life in perspective, learn what other young people around the world are doing at the International Childrens Peace Prize
site. And if school really is too hard, talk to your teachers and parents.
You can help by organizing an event at your school, wearing orange on October 10, Unity Day
, or being inclusive on a daily basis. Need motivation? View this trailer for "Minnesota Nice
?" . The movie "Bullied
" can be shown without charge at any school.
Every vote counts! If you'll be 18 November 6, you may be eligible to vote. See the Hennepin County election
site for voter registration and absentee ballot information. If you won't be 18, you can still impact the outcome by working on local campaigns and making sure your family and friends vote. For local info, see mngop.com
, as well as Minnesotans for Marriage
and Minnesotans United for All Families
If you've found recent stories about gun violence disturbing, this is an issue you can do something about. Find an organization that addresses the issues you care about, and make yourself heard. One organization working to end gun violence in Minnesota is protectmn.org.
Another organization working on violence prevention is menaspeacemakers.org
. If you believe that safeguarding the rights of gun owners is paramount, consider the nra
. Leaders are talking about your future. Speak up!
Get Involved without leaving home! The gaming site Extra Credits posted a well-designed call to action about harassment, an important issue impacting teens. However, it includes multiple examples
of vile profane hate messages. Do not follow this link if you have any doubts about reading evil
. If you feel like you can act without viewing explicit examples, go to to x-box
directly with a request that they address harassment. Gamers everywhere will thank you!
If you need ideas, learn how Baltimore environmental activist Hannah Freedman
a high school sophomore, discovered her passion or check out this title from the local Mill City Press, The Compassionate Rebel Revolution: How Ordinary People are Changing the World
by Burt Berlowe.
According to the World Health Organization, tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death, killing nearly 6 million people each year, 600,000 of them people exposed to second-hand smoke. Learn more and get involved.
It’s not too early to start thinking about what you’ll do this summer. If a paid job doesn’t work out, or doesn’t have many hours, consider volunteering to gain experience and save yourself from too much reality TV. How can there be 100 channels and nothing to watch? Don’t forget your library
and Free Arts Minnesota
and these other great places to volunteer
Lady Gaga has launched Born This Way
, a new organization to empower youth and celebrate individuality, hoping to build a braver, kinder world. Check out their site for ideas and support. And, enjoy the music!
On Super Tuesday ten states will select delegates to their national conventions where their presidential condidates
will be officially nominated. For a national delegate count, see USA Today
. For local info, see dfl.org
Forget about getting roses!Be a leader in your school's definition of love on February 14. Start now to organize an un-VD event
, or help your classmates demonstrate love for the hungry and homeless with a food or clothing drive.