Image: Fuu J, Unsplash, 2020.
Service projects developed by young people:
Blankies 4 My Buddies: 12 year old Chris 'CJ' Matthews collects blankets for kids who are sick or displaced.
Jack Andraka: At 15 years old, Jack invented a cancer test 10X more sensitive and 26,000x less expensive than current tests.
Trisha Prabhu: As a high school freshman, 14 year old Trisha Prabhu heard about a young girl’s suicide because of cyber bullying. As a result, she created an app called ReThink, which gives adolescents trying to post offensive messages on social media a second chance to reconsider their decisions.
Kelvin Doe: When Kelvin was 11 years old, he began looking for ways to fix local problems in Sierra Leone. By 13, he was powering neighborhood houses with batteries made out of acid, soda and metal in a tin cup. He went on to build a community radio station out of recycled parts that he powered with a generator also made out of reused material.
Katie’s Krops: Katie Stagliano’s service journey began in 3rd grade when she received and grew a cabbage seedling. She donated her 40 pound grown cabbage to a local soup kitchen and was invited to serve the soup to 275 guests at the kitchen. This experience inspired her to start 'Katie’s Krops' which guides kids in developing vegetable gardens and donating the harvest to help feed people in need.
The Hot Seat: 17 year old Alissa Chavez heard about infants who passed away after being left in a hot car. She was inspired to create 'The Hot Seat', a safety device that can be used in any infant, toddler or booster seat to prevent children from being accidentally left unattended in a car.
Gotta Have Sole: When Nicolas Lowinger was 5 years old, his mom took him to a homeless shelter, where he was struck by the children who had no shoes or whose shoes were very tattered. When he was 12, he met a brother and sister experiencing homelessness. The pair took turns going to school because they shared a pair of shoes. Nicolas gave the boy a pair of basketball sneakers, and thus kicked off an organization that would come to be known as Gotta Have Sole, through which footwear has been donated to over 99,000 children in homeless shelters.
Threads for Teens: When she was 14, Allyson Ahlstrom read a book which tells the stories of teenagers completing service projects around the country. She was so inspired to make a difference that she created Threads For Teens. Allyson’s first goal was to provide two new sets of clothes and shoes for 10 girls from extreme poverty or foster care. Threads for Teens has now grown to a nonprofit organization and has outfitted more than 1,600 girls.
Marley Dias: 14 year old Marley is the activist behind the Twitter hashtag #1000BlackGirlBooks. She was frustrated that she couldn't find any books in which the main characters looked like her. Her goal was to collect 1,000 with a black, female protagonist. The book drive resulted in more than 12,000 books catalogued so far. Marley also wrote the book Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You as a guide to positive change through activism.
Ryan’s Recycling: When Ryan Hickman was 3, he visited the rePlanet recycling center in California. He was inspired! At 7, he started Ryan’s Recycling. What started out as collecting cans and bottles from his neighbors to recycle has risen to over 50 customers and over 200,000 bottles and cans.
Spark the Wave: Igniting Teen Volunteers, providing training and ideas for making a difference.
Ideas, and service toolkits and trainings!
Some Good News - with John Krasinski
In an effort to spread good news during the early days of the COVID pandemic, actor John Krasinski started broadcasting positive news stories on YouTube. That show inspired young people and other adults to do the same!
Positive, inspirational news stories from around the globe.
Teaspoons of Change offers small but significant ideas, attitudes and actions that have a positive impact on people and the planet, in alignment with the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
Gain awareness regarding these issues: Girls and Women, Health, Education, Finance and Innovation, Food and Hunger, Water and Sanitation, the Environment, and Citizenship. Check out the 'Action' page for ideas!
This organization was founded by the children of Philippe Cousteau Sr. (the son of the legendary explorer, Jacques Yves Cousteau). Philippe Sr’s belief in 'a world where every single child can breathe fresh air, drink clean water, and walk on green grass under a blue sky' serves as the vision for EarthEcho. The organization uses 21st century tools and interactive resources equip youth to identify and solve environmental challenges starting in their own communities.
News stories about ways that people have taken action to help others, and ideas for taking action.
Voices of Youth is UNICEF's digital community FOR YOUTH, BY YOUTH. Create an account and submit your blogs, illustrations, poems and other sparks of creativity through our website. You can also use the hashtag #Voicesofyouth to share your content on social media.
Sometimes the United Nations has volunteer opportunities that might be appropriate for students!
Ideas for taking specific actions on a range of global issues.
IB video of an example service as action project
3 Questions That Could Change the World from Kid President (3:48)
What are you not okay with? What do you have? What can we do about it?
One example of action taken after answering those three questions: SOCKTOBER- a project started to collect socks for homeless people
The Do Something Generation (2:55)
Do Something believes young people have the power to make a difference. It is their aim to inspire, support and celebrate a generation of doers: people who see the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and then take action. DoSomething.org provides the tools and resources to convert ideas and energy into positive action. Be part of a generation of doers!
If I could change the world… (6:11)
A class project about making a difference, one class at a time.
Primary School students in Australia take 5 minutes of the school day to take action to make a positive difference in the world.
Motivation: Tap into the power within!
An inspiring message from Nick Vujicic, a man born with no arms or legs, about not letting obstacles get in the way of making a positive difference.
Read about and listen to 10 inspirational young people.
Life advice from teens who are changing the world (slideshow)
View inspirational quotes from nine teens who have taken action and begun businesses that have changed or are changing the world!