First Steps in Doing Good for High School and College Students

A major characteristic of the younger generation is their desire to change the world. However, with busy schedules, lack of awareness of opportunities, and growing competition in the public sector, it is hard for many young people to understand what steps they should take to making a career in social justice.

The tips below will allow you to tap into your passion for social change while developing important skills and networks for a career in the non-profit sector. The emphasis is on exploration of your interest and talents and connection to organizations and your peers.

Start something good

Make an effort to start or lead a service based project in your school. Lead a toy drive for a local charity or start a tutoring program by gathering a bunch of your friends after school. Go the extra mile and design a project that allows you to raise money while getting the school and local community involved by organizing a walkathon. Also, pay attention to local events and see how you can help. Is there an election coming up? Create and distribute flyers and pamphlets or start a voting drive.

Make your class work relevant

Connect your academic work to your passion for social justice. Take classes that include service-learning or support your research by doing your own community service. Examine how what you are learning in class can benefit people less fortunate than you or how different perspectives from different communities can enhance or challenge what you are learning. The goal is to not only give back but also to constantly grow more connected and aware of the world around you.

Volunteer

Giving your time to an organization is the best way to demonstrate commitment and passion. To get the most out of your volunteering, make it a key part of your schedule (like going to class or playing a sport) and reflect on what you are learning and what is challenging on a regular basis. Ask the organization how you can be of best use to them and make attempts to build a relationship with the organization and the population you are serving.

Invite organizations to the school

Not just in terms of partnering for community service projects, but also as speakers, facilitators, and panelists. Is there a pressing issue at your school (like bullying)? Invite a nonprofit focusing on that issue to help lead a workshop. Want to learn more about climate change and protecting the environment? Get people from organizations focusing on the environment to lead a panel discussion. Inviting organizations to share their expertise allows them to share their cause and pushes people to think about an issue as well as act.