It may seem difficult to find ways teens can make a difference in the world. You haven't cured cancer yet, you haven't founded an international charity, and you haven't built a university yet, because you're probably waiting until you're at least 25 to accomplish all of those things, right? Well, to get a head start on all of your fabulous plans for your fabulous future, try out these exciting ways teens can make a difference.
1. Befriend a Lonely Student
At my high school, we have different themed weeks throughout the year. Some are anti-bullying weeks, some are anti-drug weeks, but my personal favorite is new friend week! My school has this week because one of the easiest ways teens can make a difference is by befriending a lonely student. I have kind of a big personality, so it's in my nature to reach out to lonely students; I find it fun and exciting! If you feel the same way, you should try to get to know someone at your school who seems lonely or unhappy. You never know, you may be just the type of person they need in their life at that moment! You'll be making a huge difference in one person's life, which provides an unmatched feeling of personal satisfaction.
If you have any free time outside of school and truly want to make a difference in the world, you should volunteer! There are a number of places to volunteer at in every city! From daycares, to hospitals, to soup kitchens, there is a place for every kind and caring teen out there! As an added bonus, volunteer work looks amazing on college applications, so you'll benefit from volunteering in more than one way.
3. Visit a Nursing Home Weekly
I know that visiting senior citizens once a week may not sound like a great time, but if you want to make a difference in the world, a great place to do just that is a nursing home! Residents in nursing homes often don't get to see the joy and energy unique to teenage girls. Your presence, as long as you're positive, respectful, and kind, will bring sunshine into their lives! Plus, you'll forge great relationships with wise older men and women you wouldn't meet if you never stepped foot inside a nursing home. Just make sure you visit regularly, so that you become a constant source of joy in these men and women's lives.
4. Donate Money
I know that it's difficult for some teens to get their hands on any extra money. And once you get a little extra cash, it's tempting to spend it right away! But if you want to make a difference in your community or the global community, you should try donating a small amount of money to the charity of your choice on a regular basis. Devoting part of your income to a worthy cause is a great habit to start, one that hopefully you'll hold onto throughout your adult life as money becomes less scarce. Don't feel bad if you can't accomplish this specific way of making a difference in the world, but keep it in mind throughout your teenage years.
5. Fundraise for Charity
If your personal bank account is rather slim, you can always find more ways to make a monetary donation to a certain cause. And the best way to accomplish that is to fundraise for charity! If you're part of a community service club at school, this will be a lot easier, but even if you're running a one-woman show you can raise tons of money for your favorite charity! Host a bake sale, sell candy, or simply ask for small donations from neighbors and family members. You'd be surprised by how quickly a little money here and there adds up to a significant sum of money that will change many lives.
6. Donate Toys
Donations come in all shapes and sizes, so if you can't afford to donate money, you can donate gently used toys from your childhood! Underprivileged children don't always receive gifts during the holiday season, which leaves them feeling forgotten and left out. You can help these boys and girls feel special and loved by donating toys around the holiday season. If you're not using toys from your childhood, you might as well give them to a child who will love and care for them as much as you did when you were little!
7. Donate Canned Food
Another major need around the holidays is canned food. Many homeless shelters and soup kitchens across the world ask for donations of canned foods to use in Thanksgiving and other holiday feasts. If you have some non-expired canned foods sitting on your pantry shelf collecting dust, you should donate them to a nearby shelter! Additionally, you can start a canned food drive at your school! But no matter how much food you donate, you can be sure you'll be making a difference to someone.
8. Plant a Tree
We've all heard the cry of environmentalists that we need to be planting more trees to preserve and protect nature. Well, you can be a part of the green movement too! If you're passionate about nature conservation, planting a tree is the perfect way for you to make a difference in the world. You can get a group of friends together to plant trees, or make it a Saturday afternoon tradition for you and your family. Planting trees is a great way to make an impact on the world that will last for years.
9. Raise Awareness
Perhaps the simplest way to make a difference in the world is to raise awareness about a certain issue. But don't mistake simplicity for inefficiency! Are you a social media diva? Then blog, tweet, and post about an unsettling social issue. Your followers will jump to action once they see how passionate you are. Never doubt the power of a single voice; your words can start a chain reaction in the world of social justice. Without doing anything other than speaking your mind, you can change the world.
Unfortunately, when you’re young it's easy to believe that you're incapable of making a difference, but that simply isn't the case! You are an individual the world has never seen before, which means you can make a change the world has never expected! Don't ever let your age prevent you from making a difference, or else you'll end up regretting your lack of action. What other things have you done to make a difference in the world?