Unless someone like you cares a whole, awful lot. Things aren't going to get better, they're NOT!
--Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
We all know the value of volunteering. Giving back has an enormous impact on the health and well being of a community. Doing something good for others has been shown to reduce stress and improve the health of the volunteer.
My boys have been surrounded by volunteer work their entire lives. Even as babies I took them with me to various activities, and in high school, they have been required to perform volunteer hours in order to graduate.
But I don't want them to see volunteerism as something they have to do to make mom happy or fulfill a requirement. I want them to understand that one person can make a difference, that one of the best ways to be happy is to do things for others, and that the world needs their help to make positive changes.
What's the easiest recipe to get a teenager interested in something? Make it cool, and kick the old people out. Enter DoSomething.Org. I'll let them explain.
DoSomething.org makes the world suck less. One of the largest orgs for young people and social change, our 2.7 million members tackle campaigns that impact every cause, from poverty to violence to the environment to literally everything else. Any cause, anytime, anywhere.
My favorite part? Members are ages 13-25, and anyone beyond that = old person. Love it!
Young people can go to their website and join one of their existing volunteer campaigns, or create one of their own and share it with others. In the past year, members have collected 800,000 jeans for homeless youth, distributed 73,000 "thumb socks" to remind people not to text and drive, and started a Babysitter's Club, which provides free child care for parents earning their GED. The list of campaigns goes on and on.
Growing up is scary these days. DoSomething.org tells young people that they have a say in where the world goes from here, and shows them how to change things - one person at a time, starting right now. Pretty powerful stuff.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
--Margaret Mead, anthropologist