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Why should young people care about politics?

November 1, 2020 by Courtney Stringer

In this world, what we do now, affects who we become years down the line. The decisions and actions that we make now, have a big impact on our life in the future. As a newer generation, it is important for us to have a voice when it comes to politics. As the younger generation, we need to speak up for what we believe in. When we speak up, the older generations hear us, and make changes. If we don’t, 20 years from now, we are going to be the ones living in a world where change could have been made. 

A few years ago, there was a mass shooting in a Florida high school. This was not the first time a school in America has come under attack, but it was the first time that our generation spoke up. Students from all over came together to hold the March For Our Lives protest, begging politicians to change the laws for our safety. I remember watching it on TV that day, feeling proud that so many teenagers were speaking up. If we don’t involve ourselves in politics, who is going to be our voice? Who will understand what needs to be changed? It is extremely important for today’s youth to become active in politics. When we speak, we leave leaders no choice but to listen to us. Staying silent benefits no one. How can we expect change to come if we don’t make an effort to make that change

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Why should young people care about politics?

November 1, 2020 by Chloe Martin

Politics can seem boring – a bunch of people in an overly crowded room arguing with one another about things like foreign policy or climate change. But actually, politics is much more than argument or yard sign publicity; politics is what provides your public school with proper funding for online education and learning tools.  Politics is protecting a woman’s right to safe abortion in a society where people don’t believe women have a say in their own bodies and health. Politics is creating and enforcing a safe and equal country where everybody is accepted. As young students and citizens we should care about politics even more deeply than adults because today’s politics are creating a future country that we will work, live, and learn in. Politics determine whether we, as the youth, inherit a country that is either just and moral, or broken and falling apart. Caring about politics is caring about your friends, family, and community. It’s caring about your education, your basic rights, and ability to coexist peacefully in a country of all different races, genders, sexualities, and cultures. Politics is your right to simply be, and it is so important that we care about this country now, because someday it will be ours to make decisions for

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Why should young people care about politics?

November 1, 2020 by Sebastian Joseph

Politics, by definition, is the art or science of government concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy. The government serves all people and acts as the governing body with the key purpose to enact, enforce, and justify laws and policies. Within the United States, the Constitution serves as the supreme law of the land, with no other figure or authority above it. One major part of politics is these laws and policies along with how different groups of people feel about them. This is the basis of political parties. How do young people come into play with this? In many high schools, one graduation requirement is taking a government class. Part of this required education is the understanding of our democracy for what it truly stands for. Political participation is a given right. Not too long ago, the Bill of Rights that grants us certain freedoms, including the freedom to assembly, to press, to vote, and freedom of religion, was not guaranteed or assured. Millions of people sacrificed their lives in order for us to be where we are today. We live in a world where we have so much information and power at our disposal. It is a great waste to not use your rights. One of the biggest rights we, as Americans, possess, is the right to vote. To vote is to choose what you believe is right, based on your beliefs

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Why should young people care about politics?

November 1, 2020 by Samantha Duquette

Whenever the topic of politics is brought up in conversation, it is often met with acute awkwardness and strange social tension. Politics has always been a controversial topic and many people hesitate to educate themselves on it due to this. As the citizens of tomorrow, though, I believe that it is the duty of young people to become involved in the world of politics. 

As soon as we turn 18, we are granted the right to vote. Many kids of this age aren’t necessarily informed on what’s happening in the political world and thus, decide not to vote. While this might not seem like a big deal, in truth it is extremely imperative that we exercise our right to vote. The reality of the situation is that a single vote could change the world that we live in. Voting for the wrong person could lead to disastrous effects. For example, if we’re unaware that the person we cast our vote for doesn’t believe in the issue of global warming, major problems can occur. Efforts won’t be made to counteract the affair and hence it will only get worse. Soon enough, it will become our responsibility to deal with global warming but by then it might be too late. The irreversible effects of the matter are already taking place and can only continue to worsen. That is why we need to take action now, not later…

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Why should young people care about politics?

November 1, 2020 by Ginger Asen

There’s no ignoring that it’s easy to get caught up in your bubble- the one your family, school, neighborhood, and even social media algorithms create. But the facts say it best- youth voting has been at a consistent low. Young people’s beliefs may be disregarded if they aren’t perceived as reliable citizens. At the end of the day, even when a generation is inspired, having passion and interest sparked within, politicians will be listening for the clearest message they can receive. 

Did you vote?

I know you’ve heard the same phrases, catchy slogans, or downright pleas. But it’s for good reason- we’ve needed your passion then, now, and forever. Each vote really does count, even when you feel outnumbered, and even when you’re not in a swing state. If you want to make an impact on our society, know that you have the chance to create a new culture. This is the culture where perspectives are not isolated and misinformed but instead empowered by exposure. 

Politics is what you make it

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Why should young people care about politics?

 November 1, 2020 by Genesis Santos

My legs marched up the steep stairs to reach the oval stage. I was led to the center booth, and my eyes stared down- a white sheet of paper. It reads, “Who are you voting for?” The two options were below: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. After George Floyd’s death in May 2020 and the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement, more young people have started to participate in politics. For others, like me in the fourth grade, it was their first time acknowledging a fundamental right- voting. It is vital that young people care about politics because they are the largest generation on the planet, relevant issues are involved, and social media exists. 

Gen Z is the biggest cohort of young people. That said, many people are going to be affected by politics, which can be an advantage. They can sway over elections, especially the 2020 presidential election. This generation also has much diversity. People are coming from different countries, cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Nevertheless, they make up an entire population, and they share a common goal: wanting to create a better life for themselves and their families

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Why is it important to help those who are less fortunate?

July 4, 2020 by Raywon Kim

Pursuing dreams, or even having dreams, should be non-negotiable. Sadly, in the world we live in, not everyone is given the opportunity to pursue or even have dreams. However, these pessimistic thoughts by no means, should lessen our drive to help those unfortunate. To put things into perspective for myself, I look at where I am today as a meter to gauge how ready I am to help others. I see how privileged I am to have what I have, love what I love, and do what I do. As a human, I often feel pride in my achievements, and deem all that I’ve done “thanks to me”. Although these thoughts often pop up in my head, I know that I can continue fighting against my flaws. I can see two reasons why helping those less fortunate is extremely important to me. The first reason comes from my firm belief that since I have been given this life of privilege and opportunity, it is my duty to do whatever I can, no matter how large or small, to serve whoever needs my help. The second reason why I want to help the less fortunate is to fulfill the dream of my parents that has become my own…

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Why is mental health so important?

June 21, 2020 by Saira Sarfaraz

Mental health has continued to be an issue throughout society. This is because there is a large stigma around mental health. Many people think having depression or anxiety is something to be ashamed of. Thus, they fail to speak up and seek professional help. One cause for this is that society has given mental health an irrelevant image. Most people believe that mental issues are not real. They constantly refer to the phrase, “It’s all in your head”. This means that they think that people are giving themselves depression and anxiety on purpose and it is not a fundamental issue. They believe people with mental health are overreacting. In addition, Suicide has become a serious threat to teenagers. Sadly, more and more teens are developing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. These issues have made them more vulnerable to committing suicide. According to an October 2019 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, the suicide rate in kids, teens, and young adults increased by 56 percent from 2007 to 2017. This alarming increase makes me question our social ideals and current parenting skills as possible causes. As a teenager myself, I have seen friends with possible depression and anxiety struggling with suicidal thoughts. These first-hand experiences motivated me to spread awareness about mental health and research the possible cures or preventions…

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Why is volunteering important to you?

June 21, 2020 by Chaitanya Arora

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”- Winston Churchill. This is a quote that I live by and in my opinion, is the definition of why it is essential to help others who are less fortunate. One experience in particular that opened my eyes to why it is extremely necessary to help the less fortunate, occurred when I was in middle school. I volunteered with a homeless shelter in Boston for a year and a half, and had done numerous things to help, including running canned food drives and making and selling bracelets to fundraise. But, the most meaningful experience to me was when I volunteered at the shelter’s food pantry, packaging and handing out bags of food to the less fortunate in the community. I watched people line up down the block for hours, even in the pouring rain, just to get two bags of food for their families. This volunteer opportunity was truly one that I will never forget because it made me realize how important it is to help others who have less than I do. While volunteering and seeing all of the people in need, I couldn’t help but think how much the less fortunate struggle for opportunities and aren’t given the same chances that average people are. We live in a world where people are judged and limited by their circumstances, and I want to change this…

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What is a shocking realization that you had?

June 20, 2020 by Derek Martinez

A lot of times we may not realize that we are more fortunate and have more opportunities than others. I know that especially for students in high school, with such an emphasis on attending college, it is easy to dream and envy others who have experiences and opportunities that seem so grand. However, we must also think about where we have gotten and just how we have gotten here. Whether it be going to math team practices, or playing basketball for your school, we have more than we actually think we have. I come from a low income city with an underfunded school system, and I have honestly taken my resources for granted. Whenever I’m leaving school after a practice, a study session, or a competition, I notice that my school is almost always empty. Whenever I visit another high school, there are always a majority of students staying after school to attend sports, clubs, and events. When I started thinking about applying for Interns 4-Good and started to think about my role in helping others, the realization came to me that the students at my school were missing out on an experience that they deserve because of something that they cannot control. My peers aren’t able to stay at school to play baseball, get tutored, or volunteer just because of one reason that I have never even thought of: transportation

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How have you volunteered in your community?

June 20, 2020 by Felicia Mo

Now, I know it may seem out of place here, in a tutoring organization that focuses primarily on young elementary school students, to talk about my experience volunteering at my city’s Senior Center. Polar opposites on the age spectrum right? But I want you to know that it is not any different—it is not any more or less important, any more or less inspiring. It is a service to my community’s wisest population just as Interns 4-Good is a service to our community’s future generation. In my time at the Senior Center, I’ve learned lessons, heard insights, and experienced originality and imagination that cannot be found anywhere else. We always say “respect your elders”, “seniority is priority”, “a wise man once said”, and all that is one hundred percent true. Maybe for you, though, that is in theory. For me, after months of teaching seniors how to use the newest iPhone, guiding them step by step through computer applications, listening to the best stories of their lives, celebrating their accomplishments when they can repeat smoothly what I’ve taught them—for me, that is reality. I know it to be true. I know their wisdom makes me think twice, and their joy makes me want to get up and throw them a party

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What are the benefits of volunteering?

June 14, 2020 by Luca Mitran

Helping others less fortunate, or in other words, volunteering, is an activity that is often mentioned in the modern day, whether it be because of increasing disparities between socio-economic classes, high schoolers believing it will aid their chances at college admissions, or otherwise. Personally, I see the intrinsic value in such activity lying in two main facets: community and perspective. First off, I believe that as an individual, one has a moral obligation to help out those in need in their community. This may encompass simply donating clothes or food, going to local volunteer shifts, or even putting forth a hand towards a much larger community by traveling and engaging in more direct volunteer work. This allows individuals to bring themselves closer with sectors of their community that they may not have been exposed to otherwise, as well as support the fight to minimize any disparities, whether it be financial or social, in various parts of the world. Next, I maintain that for those who typically engage in volunteer work (those more fortunate/wealthy), it helps to put things into perspective for them. While many, including myself, are born into a position of inherent privilege, without much worry over basic financial or personal needs, it is quite easy to gloss over those on the opposite end of the spectrum, who face hardships and disadvantages each day…

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How have you changed?

June 14, 2020 by Risha Bongu

To be very honest, I have never really volunteered before. I have participated in fundraisers and concession stands, but it was for the badminton or bowling team, which I was in. It does not count as volunteering when you are a part of the team. I have always wanted to volunteer, but I ended up backing out because I was shy. I didn’t want to talk and communicate with others because I thought they would talk about me. I always stayed in my comfort zone, until now. It was about a month ago that I thought to myself that I had to change. I have to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. I had to challenge myself and prove to myself that I was more than what I am now. That is when I applied to teensgive.org. I also applied to other volunteer programs to help me get out my comfort zone. Now I am also thinking of volunteering at the local library and the church when it is safe to do so. I have always wanted to help people and now it is time that I actually do so. I think it’s important to volunteer because you are helping others feel happy. It’s a win-win situation because you are happy while making other people happy. It is a great feeling to have when you make some else happy. A volunteer that inspired me are my parents…

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When did you try something new?

June 6, 2020 by Mehri Sadri

Although I have experienced many volunteering opportunities throughout my life, my volunteer work has mainly been community and library-based, so I was apprehensive to apply to be a junior counselor at a local summer camp. I didn’t know if it was for me, and wasn’t familiar with the camp’s atmosphere. Nonetheless, I went for a group interview and was accepted into the program. Although my experience was only for a month, it was absolutely amazing to meet other caring counselors and campers, and although I was able to teach them skills and activities in a fun, comprehensive way, they taught me valuable lessons about leadership and friendship as well: thus creating a positive experience for both of us. Kids are the future, both myself and them, so if we can help and improve each other, the future only becomes brighter. The leadership aspect of this journey was just as valuable to me, as the junior and senior counselors were very vocal about our preferences and needs, always trying to improve our counseling. We would always meet at the end of the day to discuss these tenets, which gave me this sense of leadership as I gave suggestions and took others’ ideas…

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How are you changing the statistics?

June 6, 2020 by Elinor West

July 4th has always been a special day for the family. It was a time for my family to reflect on the principles of America: equality and liberty for all— the same principles that inspired them to immigrate to the United States following the establishment of the Khmer Rouge, a Communist regime. Despite this proud feeling of liberty, I felt myself stuck in a liminal space— stuck in the (half-worlds or mudbloods) of race: half first-generation, half first generation to college, half Cambodia, and half White. This sense of one hundred percent American was lost in the definition of a mixed child, and I dismissed that feeling of displacement for years until my junior and senior year of high school. My years at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes’ have truly been a blessing. As a private school, it is not the cheapest, and I have had parents hardworking and determined enough to spend weekends and long nights doing overtime. But when I walked down the main hallway, I never knew another child of two identities, whom I could relate to— who felt the same tug in opposite directions. A Catholic father and a Buddhist mother seemed to mix like oil and water at St. Stephen’s. So, as I stained the crisp white linen of high school with a light brown stain, I began to feel more and more out of place. To this day, I have yet to find a place— other than my home— in which I truly feel accepted.

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What important cause do you champion?

May 30, 2020 by Makenna Dovel

Humans. We are far from perfect. We mess up, we say the wrong thing, and we lose ourselves. When we are filled with an anxious, lonesome mindset, we can feel like we are losing the stability in our life. But there is always one thing that will be there for us: Nature. For me, going on a nice walk through my neighborhood, seeing a pretty sunset, or smelling the salty air of the sea can cheer me instantaneously. It makes me realize the importance of life. But what if the harm we do to our planet becomes too detrimental? Will our society fall into a continuous depression if the only smell from the ocean is old trash, only sunset in the world is from burning mountains, only way to go outside is if hidden behind a mask? All these questions go through my mind everyday. I never want this to happen. Of course, I can’t just say that and do nothing. To accomplish my longing for an everlasting beautiful planet, I hope to communicate the importance through awareness, possibly starting my very own movement to stand up against global warming. I hope to create non-profit organizations helping give back to the homeless with sustainable products and negotiating with big companies to change their packaging to be more eco-friendly…

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What was a profound realization that you had?

May 30, 2020 by Hope Wright

All my life, I’ve lived in a bubble. No, this isn’t the 1976 film The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, and unfortunately I’m not John Travolta. What I mean is, I’m surrounded by constant security and comfort. I’m blessed with an environment that contains everything I’ll ever need; running water, electricity, food, and a stellar education. And far too often, I take these privileges for granted. Far too often, and despite the multitude of resources that allow me unhindered access to knowledge and information, the countless chances to gain awareness of what goes on outside my metaphorical bubble, I don’t take the opportunities that present themselves. More likely than not, I have consciously allowed a chance to change someone’s life for the better slip through my fingers simply for the sake of convenience. I have permitted myself to sacrifice another’s well being because it was too hard. Too untimely. Too demanding. But what I’ve come to realize is helping others isn’t supposed to be easy. It requires both personal and external sacrifices, hard work, determination, and realizing that even the changes we perceive as minute can have a drastic effect on the lives of people used to the bare minimum. Some people dream and long for the type of life far too many take for granted…

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What does volunteering mean to you?

May 28, 2020 by Caroline Lidz

Before gaining some “field experience” with volunteering, I had a very narrow understanding of what volunteering really is. I associated the idea of volunteering with crowds wearing the same ugly neon t-shirt while completing the same mundane task. Little did I know that volunteering could encompass designing the t-shirts, organizing the events, and designing the visual identity for a cause. Volunteering, as I have learned, demands organization, creativity, and invention. I grew up as an art kid with my face behind a camera, and my hands shackled to Adobe photoshop. By creating branding for the New Jersey Student Climate Advocates, I learned how to use my skills to amplify the voices of nonprofits. While the work demanded a level of professionalism, I was able to catalyze my growth as a creative professional while giving back to a cause that I am tremendously passionate about. Put simply, volunteering is equal parts giving back and self-exploration- two attributes that continue to drive my passion for activism…

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How are you helping to make the world a better place?

May 27, 2020 by Alize Gonzalez

I volunteered in a village school in Turkey. They did not know English very well because there were not enough resources for books and good teachers. I taught them the foods that we eat for breakfast and taught them how to make sentences like “I like to eat…for breakfast.” The subjects I taught were mostly simple English. This experience was very important for me because I saw the other side of the world. There are people who can reach most of the stuff they want. Maybe it is not in an easy way but, still if they try more they can reach them. However, for the kids in this school it is not very possible to reach what they want even though they try hard. It made me realize more that the world does not only contain where we live it contains both positives and negatives. In order to make them equal we should try to help both parts. Because when we can have what we want the other part cannot have it and not sharing would be selfish. To help the less fortunate will bring all of us together and help them live a happier life. Even doing something little can make wonders in someone’s life…

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How have you volunteered? Why is it important?

May 24, 2020 by Lilah Lindermann

Every Thanksgiving since I was four years old, my family and I get up early in the chilly morning and put on our snug winter coats. Later that day, we go to my Grandma’s warm and cheery home and eat turkey and mashed potatoes and apple pie. But in the morning, we drive to a church where Volunteers for Long Island making preparations for the day. For the next few hours, we sort clothing donations and apportion food into individual foil trays for people who are homeless, while younger kids make cards using markers and brightly colored paper. I remember how proud I was when I was deemed old enough to help the adults with the food. Along with the clothing and food, we distribute hope. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to help with other projects and collection drives. Whether playing my flute for the seniors at an assisted living facility, organizing a women’s self-defense workshop, or collecting food for victims of Hurricane Sandy, I have noticed that volunteer efforts always bring hope with them. When I got older, I began to volunteer at a local children’s science museum. I’ve led multiple workshops there, teaching young kids about hydraulics, coding, and robotics…

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How have you volunteered? Why is it important?

May 24, 2020 by Gia Vellegas

Volunteering is one of the most beautiful things in this world. It fosters human connections, something that this world needs more of. As people, it is our duty to be there for one another by helping and encouraging others to grow stronger. I’ve been able to paint the nails of residents at nursing homes, teach a theater workshop to children whose school does not have a theater program and I’ve written letters to a local nursing home to let them know that they are not alone and that we will get through this pandemic together. Through opportunities like these I’ve been able to realize that volunteering acts like a boomerang of happiness and love. Smiles have appeared on the faces of the people I have been lucky to serve, but most importantly these amazing people taught me new approaches to life and made me feel a strong love that is hard to describe through words. I’m so grateful for being able to develop human connections that I would have never been able to have without volunteering. I view volunteering as the missing piece of a better world. A world where people aid other people, where happiness is constantly lingering in the air and where help will not be hard to find…

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What does volunteering mean to you?

May 23, 2020 by Jaylen Adams

I’ve volunteered in numerous ways. For instance, I am an advisor on the Youth Council of Charlotte. I represent Olympic High School, acting as a voice to Charlotte’s governing body, as well as the school board. Furthermore, I am an ambassador in training for the Young Black Leaders Association. As a member, I have donated toys to underprivileged students, created care packages for Title One schools, and acted as a model to advertise black beauty. At my own school, I’m a member of many different clubs — Model UN, Student Council, Key Club, Junior Leadership Society, Black Student Union, and so on. I’ve organized Bowling for Babies events for my aunt’s sorority, raising money for disabled newborns. I’ve went to a mission trip in Jamaica to bring supplies to underfunded retirement homes. Volunteering is so important to me. Everywhere I look, I see something I want to change. It can be the education system, the mass incarceration epidemic in America, poverty. There is an intricate web of corruption in our country, and there’s only so much I can do as a high school student. I might not be changing the country right now, but I can be changing one person’s life one toy or smile at a time…

Our Mission

Interns 4-Good is a 501(c)-3 nonprofit organization connecting high school students with remote, skill-based internship opportunities at nonprofit organizations, allowing them to build their resumes while giving back to worthy causes.

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Why should young people care about politics?

November 1, 2020 by Courtney Stringer

In this world, what we do now, affects who we become years down the line. The decisions and actions that we make now, have a big impact on our life in the future. As a newer generation, it is important for us to have a voice when it comes to politics. As the younger generation, we need to speak up for what we believe in. When we speak up, the older generations hear us, and make changes. If we don’t, 20 years from now, we are going to be the ones living in a world where change could have been made. 

A few years ago, there was a mass shooting in a Florida high school. This was not the first time a school in America has come under attack, but it was the first time that our generation spoke up. Students from all over came together to hold the March For Our Lives protest, begging politicians to change the laws for our safety. I remember watching it on TV that day, feeling proud that so many teenagers were speaking up. If we don’t involve ourselves in politics, who is going to be our voice? Who will understand what needs to be changed? It is extremely important for today’s youth to become active in politics. When we speak, we leave leaders no choice but to listen to us. Staying silent benefits no one. How can we expect change to come if we don’t make an effort to make that change. 

Voting is another political issue that’s important today. One of the most powerful ways to bring change is to vote. 1 in 3 teenagers that are eligible to vote, haven’t registered yet. Many young people don’t think that their one vote counts when it comes to electing a leader. It does. Each person’s vote is the drop of water that makes the lake of change. 

Whoever you are, it is important that you become involved in politics. You have the ability to shape the future. Whether you’re protesting, marching, voting, or any other way that you can bring change, it matters. It may not feel like you’re moving anyone, but you are. We have to stay involved, not only for us, but every other generation that comes after us. Together, I know that we will make the world a better place.

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Why should young people care about politics?

November 1, 2020 by Chloe Martin

Politics can seem boring – a bunch of people in an overly crowded room arguing with one another about things like foreign policy or climate change. But actually, politics is much more than argument or yard sign publicity; politics is what provides your public school with proper funding for online education and learning tools.  Politics is protecting a woman’s right to safe abortion in a society where people don’t believe women have a say in their own bodies and health. Politics is creating and enforcing a safe and equal country where everybody is accepted. As young students and citizens we should care about politics even more deeply than adults because today’s politics are creating a future country that we will work, live, and learn in. Politics determine whether we, as the youth, inherit a country that is either just and moral, or broken and falling apart. Caring about politics is caring about your friends, family, and community. It’s caring about your education, your basic rights, and ability to coexist peacefully in a country of all different races, genders, sexualities, and cultures. Politics is your right to simply be, and it is so important that we care about this country now, because someday it will be ours to make decisions for.

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Why should young people care about politics?

November 1, 2020 by Sebastian Joseph

Politics, by definition, is the art or science of government concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy. The government serves all people and acts as the governing body with the key purpose to enact, enforce, and justify laws and policies. Within the United States, the Constitution serves as the supreme law of the land, with no other figure or authority above it. One major part of politics is these laws and policies along with how different groups of people feel about them. This is the basis of political parties. How do young people come into play with this? In many high schools, one graduation requirement is taking a government class. Part of this required education is the understanding of our democracy for what it truly stands for. Political participation is a given right. Not too long ago, the Bill of Rights that grants us certain freedoms, including the freedom to assembly, to press, to vote, and freedom of religion, was not guaranteed or assured. Millions of people sacrificed their lives in order for us to be where we are today. We live in a world where we have so much information and power at our disposal. It is a great waste to not use your rights. One of the biggest rights we, as Americans, possess, is the right to vote. To vote is to choose what you believe is right, based on your beliefs. If the idea of voting seems boring or irrelevant to you, then that displays ignorance. Politics, as mentioned before, discusses the policies that are relevant to this time. Some issues on the line include education funding, employment, job training programs, accessible health care, and reproductive rights. Looking into the future, one must also consider environmental concerns, fossil fuel consumption, farming and livestock funding, and climate change. In the midst of a global pandemic, we find ourselves wondering where we can find hope or what our next meal will be or how we will pay rent. Although they are the lowest demographic registered to vote, young people tend to have better general knowledge than the average citizen. Democracy only works when you work. Today will be the same, but tomorrow might not be insured, especially when you aren’t even sure who is in D.C. representing you or what laws you should be abiding by. Nothing is perfect, that is true, but if you are to complain about the government and its actions, it only makes sense that you, as a citizen, vote – you really have no right to complain about government decisions that you don’t like if you don’t vote. It’s ironic that the endless ramblings on the bad political policy of our current government is spewing from the mouths of eligible voters who never bothered to cast a ballot. Along with voting comes the possibility to truly share your views and to find people who feel the same. This helps bring Americans together, but at the same time, it lets you participate in thrilling debates with others on your respective beliefs. In conclusion, it does serve well for young people to join the political playground and really immerse themselves in the issues of today.

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Why should young people care about politics?

November 1, 2020 by Samantha Duquette

Whenever the topic of politics is brought up in conversation, it is often met with acute awkwardness and strange social tension. Politics has always been a controversial topic and many people hesitate to educate themselves on it due to this. As the citizens of tomorrow, though, I believe that it is the duty of young people to become involved in the world of politics. 

As soon as we turn 18, we are granted the right to vote. Many kids of this age aren’t necessarily informed on what’s happening in the political world and thus, decide not to vote. While this might not seem like a big deal, in truth it is extremely imperative that we exercise our right to vote. The reality of the situation is that a single vote could change the world that we live in. Voting for the wrong person could lead to disastrous effects. For example, if we’re unaware that the person we cast our vote for doesn’t believe in the issue of global warming, major problems can occur. Efforts won’t be made to counteract the affair and hence it will only get worse. Soon enough, it will become our responsibility to deal with global warming but by then it might be too late. The irreversible effects of the matter are already taking place and can only continue to worsen. That is why we need to take action now, not later.

We absolutely must be informed on what’s going on in the world. As children we tell ourselves that we’re too young to understand politics and that we shouldn’t get involved because politics will not affect us. However, we’re only kids for 17 out of the average 79 years that we’re alive on this earth. Sooner or later we will have to be dealing with the chaos that is politics. We can better help our future selves and country if we start educating ourselves early on. Knowledge is power. If we grasp the knowledge that we have and put it to use, we can forge a country that we are proud to live in – one that deals with global and societal issues correctly. The children of today are the adults of tomorrow. Together, we can attempt to create a world free from the disasters of our predecessors.

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Why should young people care about politics?

November 1, 2020 by Ginger Asen

There’s no ignoring that it’s easy to get caught up in your bubble- the one your family, school, neighborhood, and even social media algorithms create. But the facts say it best- youth voting has been at a consistent low. Young people’s beliefs may be disregarded if they aren’t perceived as reliable citizens. At the end of the day, even when a generation is inspired, having passion and interest sparked within, politicians will be listening for the clearest message they can receive. 

Did you vote?

I know you’ve heard the same phrases, catchy slogans, or downright pleas. 

But it’s for good reason- we’ve needed your passion then, now, and forever. Each vote really does count, even when you feel outnumbered, and even when you’re not in a swing state. If you want to make an impact on our society, know that you have the chance to create a new culture. This is the culture where perspectives are not isolated and misinformed but instead empowered by exposure. 

Politics is what you make it. 

When you are the future and trendsetters of citizens to come, you hold a unique position. You are the voice of advancement, innovations, and opportunities. Each are being constructed as we speak, many by youth themselves. The message that can be sent by young people is so strong. Everyone is watching for the idea that has shaken nations time and time again:

We won’t settle for the past, we’re going to fight for the future.

Politics can seem polarizing, unclear, and distant. Nonetheless, starting early in your journey can be an eye-opening step out of your comfort zone, and into the world in which you live and shape. Whether it’s a community meeting, participation in a cause you value, being open to outside perspectives, or creating the pattern of voters consistently turning out, your time and effort break down the illusions surrounding political action. Politics is not a set of unattainable goals, it’s hard work that changes these counteractive mindsets, nurturing incredible possibilities.

In the past, politicians have seen the lack of consistent youth votes, and have certainly remembered it as they carry out their work. 

But what if you were part of the turnaround?

What if every fight you made, hope you dreamt of, no matter where and to what scale, could be seen clearly to those in power? You’ve been told that every voice matters and each vote counts, but don’t underestimate how deeply these truths connect. When you educate yourself, have tough conversations, and respect the responsibilities given to you, you build up power. We must bring back the power in our youth vote like our world depends on it.

Because it does.

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Why should young people care about politics?

November 1, 2020 by Genesis Santos

My legs marched up the steep stairs to reach the oval stage. I was led to the center booth, and my eyes stared down- a white sheet of paper. It reads, “Who are you voting for?” The two options were below: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. After George Floyd’s death in May 2020 and the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement, more young people have started to participate in politics. For others, like me in the fourth grade, it was their first time acknowledging a fundamental right- voting. It is vital that young people care about politics because they are the largest generation on the planet, relevant issues are involved, and social media exists. 

Gen Z is the biggest cohort of young people. That said, many people are going to be affected by politics, which can be an advantage. They can sway over elections, especially the 2020 presidential election. This generation also has much diversity. People are coming from different countries, cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Nevertheless, they make up an entire population, and they share a common goal: wanting to create a better life for themselves and their families. 

Young people will be dealing with relevant issues that are important today such as climate change and abortion. Not only are these issues relevant, but they are also controversial. Everyone has an opinion. People tend to have strong opinions over these subjects due to their beliefs and values. They realize that they have the ability to change the world to exactly how they want it to be.

A large majority of Gen Z use social media to share information. Most of the time, they post pictures or memes. Yet, the young generation has discovered a way to educate each other- creating aesthetically pleasing, simple to read, informative posts and videos. Topics range from the BLM movement to immigration reform to the presidential election. Moreover, this is an easy and effective way to educate others because the whole world is at your fingertips. 

Overall, it is an understatement to say that Gen Z, young people, will be sticking around for a while. The people who will be in charge in 10 to 20 years are the people who are young, especially around the legal age of 18. In an age where politics dictates everything and everyone, political engagement is necessary to create drastic change on the world. And the only people who can stand their ground and let their voice be heard are young individuals.

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Why is it important to help those who are less fortunate?

July 4, 2020 by Raywon Kim

Pursuing dreams, or even having dreams, should be non-negotiable. Sadly, in the world we live in, not everyone is given the opportunity to pursue or even have dreams. However, these pessimistic thoughts by no means, should lessen our drive to help those unfortunate. To put things into perspective for myself, I look at where I am today as a meter to gauge how ready I am to help others. I see how privileged I am to have what I have, love what I love, and do what I do. As a human, I often feel pride in my achievements, and deem all that I’ve done “thanks to me”. Although these thoughts often pop up in my head, I know that I can continue fighting against my flaws. I can see two reasons why helping those less fortunate is extremely important to me. The first reason comes from my firm belief that since I have been given this life of privilege and opportunity, it is my duty to do whatever I can, no matter how large or small, to serve whoever needs my help. The second reason why I want to help the less fortunate is to fulfill the dream of my parents that has become my own. When I was 12 years old, my parents told me that their most important goal in life was to build a school in Africa, in order to give as many children an opportunity to pursue their dreams through receiving a quality education. When I heard this story I was amazed and proud of my parents. I immediately assumed that my parents’ dream was simple. However, what they said after telling me their dream is what fuels my mission today. They said, “Raywon, building the school itself is something that money alone can cover. Creating a school that provides genuine hope and love to kids your age is our dream, but that’s something that money alone cannot cover. My dream is that you and your two sisters grow up to be thankful people, and can use what you have now as a way to change these kids’ lives”. My parents’ words fueled me into applying for Interns 4-Good. I can not build a school right now, and I may not ever be able to, but I hope to help anyone I can, in these difficult times, no matter what. This path will not be easy, but I know that I will not be alone. I know there are a vast number of young kids like me who also hope to slowly change our world. Reflecting upon all of this leaves in my head an extremely well-known quote by Dr. Seuss: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

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Why is mental health so important?

June 21, 2020 by Saira Sarfaraz

Mental health has continued to be an issue throughout society. This is because there is a large stigma around mental health. Many people think having depression or anxiety is something to be ashamed of. Thus, they fail to speak up and seek professional help. One cause for this is that society has given mental health an irrelevant image. Most people believe that mental issues are not real. They constantly refer to the phrase, “It’s all in your head”. This means that they think that people are giving themselves depression and anxiety on purpose and it is not a fundamental issue. They believe people with mental health are overreacting. In addition, Suicide has become a serious threat to teenagers. Sadly, more and more teens are developing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. These issues have made them more vulnerable to committing suicide. According to an October 2019 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, the suicide rate in kids, teens, and young adults increased by 56 percent from 2007 to 2017. This alarming increase makes me question our social ideals and current parenting skills as possible causes. As a teenager myself, I have seen friends with possible depression and anxiety struggling with suicidal thoughts. These first-hand experiences motivated me to spread awareness about mental health and research the possible cures or preventions. I feel a strong desire to help teens struggling with mental health issues. It is important to spread awareness of suicide and its possible causes. To add on, suicidal thoughts are not health issues that can be seen physically such as physical health problems. Thus, it is more difficult to determine if someone is struggling with suicide, which makes it even more difficult to prevent. As a result, awareness on this issue is crucial so possible symptoms of suicide and mental health issues can be detected. In addition, many psychologists are finding it difficult to pinpoint an exact cause of the increase in suicide rates in teens. Thus, not many are sure why teens are committing suicide. In my opinion, adults will struggle to understand the cause of suicide rates increasing because they are simply not teenagers. Their childhood was completely different then what teenagers face now. Consequently, it will be difficult for them to put themselves in our shoes and try to understand our situation. However, the more they try to understand what Teenagers are going through, the more capable they are of helping.  Lastly, physical health and mental health should be treated the same way because they are both crucial to a person’s health. Bad mental health can be the cause of many physical problems. Thus, if you treat mental health first you may save yourself from the threat of physical issues. Just because you can’t physically see mental health doesn’t mean it’s not real. In conclusion, there should be no health without mental health.

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Why is volunteering important to you?

June 21, 2020 by Chaitanya Arora

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”- Winston Churchill. This is a quote that I live by and in my opinion, is the definition of why it is essential to help others who are less fortunate. One experience in particular that opened my eyes to why it is extremely necessary to help the less fortunate, occurred when I was in middle school. I volunteered with a homeless shelter in Boston for a year and a half, and had done numerous things to help, including running canned food drives and making and selling bracelets to fundraise. But, the most meaningful experience to me was when I volunteered at the shelter’s food pantry, packaging and handing out bags of food to the less fortunate in the community. I watched people line up down the block for hours, even in the pouring rain, just to get two bags of food for their families. This volunteer opportunity was truly one that I will never forget because it made me realize how important it is to help others who have less than I do. While volunteering and seeing all of the people in need, I couldn’t help but think how much the less fortunate struggle for opportunities and aren’t given the same chances that average people are. We live in a world where people are judged and limited by their circumstances, and I want to change this. I think volunteering is essential because by doing so, we can help those in need be the best that they can be, so that they are not limited by what they have or the situations that they have been in. By building connections between the fortunate and the less fortunate, society can create a sense of equality in the world. And, although we may never be equal in what we have been through or how much money we have, that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that when our generation is older, I want to be able to look back on my life and say that I, as well as others, did our best to make an impact on those who were less fortunate. I feel it is important to remember that any act of kindness, no matter how small, will make a difference to someone in need. Volunteering has the power to change lives by giving others what a lot of us already have, and I hope that by continuing to set an example, I can inspire everyone else to give back too.

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What was a shocking realization that you had?

June 20, 2020 by Derek Martinez

IA lot of times we may not realize that we are more fortunate and have more opportunities than others. I know that especially for students in high school, with such an emphasis on attending college, it is easy to dream and envy others who have experiences and opportunities that seem so grand. However, we must also think about where we have gotten and just how we have gotten here. Whether it be going to math team practices, or playing basketball for your school, we have more than we actually think we have. I come from a low income city with an underfunded school system, and I have honestly taken my resources for granted. Whenever I’m leaving school after a practice, a study session, or a competition, I notice that my school is almost always empty. Whenever I visit another high school, there are always a majority of students staying after school to attend sports, clubs, and events. When I started thinking about applying for Interns 4-Good and started to think about my role in helping others, the realization came to me that the students at my school were missing out on an experience that they deserve because of something that they cannot control. My peers aren’t able to stay at school to play baseball, get tutored, or volunteer just because of one reason that I have never even thought of. Transportation. These are students whose families only have one car. One car for their parents to get to work, one car to get to school, one car to support a whole family. Even if they do stay, they have to wait for hours, just to get home. And here I am, being able to get everywhere I need to be, because of the flexibility of my transportation. So, why is it important to help others that are less fortunate than us? Every student has a right for an education. Every student has a right to attend school, to learn how to solve for X, to learn about photosynthesis, to find what they love. But that does not mean that every student gets the resources they need. As someone who has been able to have multiple career and academic opportunities, I feel that it is my job to use my privilege and experiences to ensure that other students and children are able to receive the resources that they need. Not every student has been able to have the opportunities they want, but it is those who are more fortunate who are able to give to those who need it.

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How have you volunteered in your community?

June 20, 2020 by Felicia Mo

Now, I know it may seem out of place here, in a tutoring organization that focuses primarily on young elementary school students, to talk about my experience volunteering at my city’s Senior Center. Polar opposites on the age spectrum right? But I want you to know that it is not any different—it is not any more or less important, any more or less inspiring. It is a service to my community’s wisest population just as Interns 4-Good is a service to our community’s future generation. In my time at the Senior Center, I’ve learned lessons, heard insights, and experienced originality and imagination that cannot be found anywhere else. We always say “respect your elders”, “seniority is priority”, “a wise man once said”, and all that is one hundred percent true. Maybe for you, though, that is in theory. For me, after months of teaching seniors how to use the newest iPhone, guiding them step by step through computer applications, listening to the best stories of their lives, celebrating their accomplishments when they can repeat smoothly what I’ve taught them—for me, that is reality. I know it to be true. I know their wisdom makes me think twice, and their joy makes me want to get up and throw them a party. That’s what serving the people around you brings; so step out of your age zone and get to work because, by golly, I promise you you’ll reap far more than what you sow.

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What are the benefits of volunteering?

June 14, 2020 by Luca Mitran

Helping others less fortunate, or in other words, volunteering, is an activity that is often mentioned in the modern day, whether it be because of increasing disparities between socio-economic classes, high schoolers believing it will aid their chances at college admissions, or otherwise. Personally, I see the intrinsic value in such activity lying in two main facets: community and perspective. First off, I believe that as an individual, one has a moral obligation to help out those in need in their community. This may encompass simply donating clothes or food, going to local volunteer shifts, or even putting forth a hand towards a much larger community by traveling and engaging in more direct volunteer work. This allows individuals to bring themselves closer with sectors of their community that they may not have been exposed to otherwise, as well as support the fight to minimize any disparities, whether it be financial or social, in various parts of the world. Next, I maintain that for those who typically engage in volunteer work (those more fortunate/wealthy), it helps to put things into perspective for them. While many, including myself, are born into a position of inherent privilege, without much worry over basic financial or personal needs, it is quite easy to gloss over those on the opposite end of the spectrum, who face hardships and disadvantages each day. Volunteer work helps to bridge these two different groups together in a goodhearted manner, and expose the hardships many face to those who may never encounter them. Overall, volunteer work possesses the obvious merit of simply helping those in need with whatever adverse situation they may find themselves in, but I believe that there is room for personal growth present as well.

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How have you changed?

June 14, 2020 by Risha Bongu

To be very honest, I have never really volunteered before. I have participated in fundraisers and concession stands, but it was for the badminton or bowling team, which I was in. It does not count as volunteering when you are a part of the team. I have always wanted to volunteer, but I ended up backing out because I was shy. I didn’t want to talk and communicate with others because I thought they would talk about me. I always stayed in my comfort zone, until now. It was about a month ago that I thought to myself that I had to change. I have to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. I had to challenge myself and prove to myself that I was more than what I am now. That is when I applied to teensgive.org. I also applied to other volunteer programs to help me get out my comfort zone. Now I am also thinking of volunteering at the local library and the church when it is safe to do so. I have always wanted to help people and now it is time that I actually do so. I think it’s important to volunteer because you are helping others feel happy. It’s a win-win situation because you are happy while making other people happy. It is a great feeling to have when you make some else happy. A volunteer that inspired me are my parents. They have always been my inspiration for a lot of things. They have always helped people in their journey. My dad loves to help people and make sure that everyone is happy. A lot of people have come to my dad for help and he has always agreed to help them no matter what it takes. He has helped many people with jobs and financial matters. Recently my parents have donated food to the people in India. During the pandemic, my parents thought it would be a good idea to donate fresh vegetables, rice, and other foods to the people that cannot afford food. This is part of the reason why I was inspired to help people and make them happy. My parents are my biggest inspiration and I will continue to volunteer in different organizations to make people happy in this world. I believe that it’s important to help others less fortunate because you are giving something that they can’t have. You are making them happy and creating a strong community. There is nothing wrong to help others and it makes me feel very happy when I do. Helping people creates a strong bond and connects us with the people in need. I feel that it is a blessing to help people because I have learned from my parents that if you help people, they will always help you back. I have also learned that you don’t need money to be happy in life. Money can buy us a lot of things, but not happiness. Helping people has changed me as a person. It made me much happier and healthier in life. I strongly believe that volunteering will make the society happy. We have got to help each other through the problems in the world. My plan to make the world a better place is to have everyone in the world to be equal. I want everyone to get education, food, shelter, and to be happy. I know it’s not as simple as it sounds, but I truly want everyone to be happy. I want everyone that does not have access to resources to actually be able to afford it. I want to create an organization that runs online and in reality to help the people in need. I want the organization to be a place where people can get free education, food, and shelter. I am obviously not old enough to put my idea out in the world, but I will definitely continue to help people and make a difference in this world.

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When did you try something new?

June 6, 2020 by Mehri Sadri

Although I have experienced many volunteering opportunities throughout my life, my volunteer work has mainly been community and library-based, so I was apprehensive to apply to be a junior counselor at a local summer camp. I didn’t know if it was for me, and wasn’t familiar with the camp’s atmosphere. Nonetheless, I went for a group interview and was accepted into the program. Although my experience was only for a month, it was absolutely amazing to meet other caring counselors and campers, and although I was able to teach them skills and activities in a fun, comprehensive way, they taught me valuable lessons about leadership and friendship as well: thus creating a positive experience for both of us. Kids are the future, both myself and them, so if we can help and improve each other, the future only becomes brighter. The leadership aspect of this journey was just as valuable to me, as the junior and senior counselors were very vocal about our preferences and needs, always trying to improve our counseling. We would always meet at the end of the day to discuss these tenets, which gave me this sense of leadership as I gave suggestions and took others’ ideas. Since then, I have developed a passion for becoming a leader in my community, and have acquired many different leadership positions in community councils, school clubs, and even have had the opportunity to participate in a rotary club. I believe that it is important to take this opportunity to improve one’s confidence, ideals, and involvement in local events.

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How are changing the statistics?

June 6, 2020 by Elinor West

July 4th has always been a special day for the family. It was a time for my family to reflect on the principles of America: equality and liberty for all— the same principles that inspired them to immigrate to the United States following the establishment of the Khmer Rouge, a Communist regime. Despite this proud feeling of liberty, I felt myself stuck in a liminal space— stuck in the (half-worlds or mudbloods) of race: half first-generation, half first generation to college, half Cambodia, and half White. This sense of one hundred percent American was lost in the definition of a mixed child, and I dismissed that feeling of displacement for years until my junior and senior year of high school. My years at St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes’ have truly been a blessing. As a private school, it is not the cheapest, and I have had parents hardworking and determined enough to spend weekends and long nights doing overtime. But when I walked down the main hallway, I never knew another child of two identities, whom I could relate to— who felt the same tug in opposite directions. A Catholic father and a Buddhist mother seemed to mix like oil and water at St. Stephen’s. So, as I stained the crisp white linen of high school with a light brown stain, I began to feel more and more out of place. To this day, I have yet to find a place— other than my home— in which I truly feel accepted. Neither Catholic mass on Easter and Christmas, nor the cultural and New Year’s festivals at the Khmer BuddhistTemple comforted me, as I felt too white for the Asians and too Asian for the whites. Nevertheless, my father has taught me one of the most significant phrases I have ever heard: “you defy the statistics.” Only twenty percent of U.S. born Cambodians have attained a four-year college degree, and only 4% obtain a postgrad degree. Knowing these statistics, I am obligated to change them. Don’t get me wrong, I will change that percentage by maybe .0000001 percent, but it is a change nonetheless. Cambodia remains to be one of the poorest third-world countries, with the majority of the population working in farmlands. So when I say, it lacks the medical technology to properly support its people, I mean that it can barely support its own people. The 2019 coronavirus has ravaged Cambodia in a way I have yet to find words to describe. I have always had an interest in medicine, and I believe the coronavirus outbreak gives me more reason to assist those who cannot otherwise help themselves, specifically those affected by poverty. While this is a dream, I’ve spent my time volunteering at hospitals and churches, assisting RNs and physicians and giving free clothes to those who cannot otherwise afford it. Gaining experience in any type of volunteering allows me to take a few more steps towards my goals of Doctors Without Borders and the Peace Corps. Being an underrepresented minority not only makes it important to change the statistics but doing good at the same time.

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What important cause do you champion?

May 30, 2020 by Makenna Dovel

Humans. We are far from perfect. We mess up, we say the wrong thing, and we lose ourselves. When we are filled with an anxious, lonesome mindset, we can feel like we are losing the stability in our life. But there is always one thing that will be there for us: Nature. For me, going on a nice walk through my neighborhood, seeing a pretty sunset, or smelling the salty air of the sea can cheer me instantaneously. It makes me realize the importance of life. But what if the harm we do to our planet becomes too detrimental? Will our society fall into a continuous depression if the only smell from the ocean is old trash, only sunset in the world is from burning mountains, only way to go outside is if hidden behind a mask? All these questions go through my mind everyday. I never want this to happen. Of course, I can’t just say that and do nothing. To accomplish my longing for an everlasting beautiful planet, I hope to communicate the importance through awareness, possibly starting my very own movement to stand up against global warming. I hope to create non-profit organizations helping give back to the homeless with sustainable products and negotiating with big companies to change their packaging to be more eco-friendly. For example, places like zero-waste restaurants, hotels, and clothing lines should be embraced and grow to become our future. I currently incorporate more sustainability into my life. I started to compost, grow vegetables and fruits in my backyard, and buy sustainable or second-hand clothing. The more I grow, I hope to strive closer to zero-waste. The best awareness to spread though, is that anything can help! Because we should take care of the environment like it takes care of us!

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What is a profound realization that you had?

May 30, 2020 by Hope Wright

All my life, I’ve lived in a bubble. No, this isn’t the 1976 film The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, and unfortunately I’m not John Travolta. What I mean is, I’m surrounded by constant security and comfort. I’m blessed with an environment that contains everything I’ll ever need; running water, electricity, food, and a stellar education. And far too often, I take these privileges for granted. Far too often, and despite the multitude of resources that allow me unhindered access to knowledge and information, the countless chances to gain awareness of what goes on outside my metaphorical bubble, I don’t take the opportunities that present themselves. More likely than not, I have consciously allowed a chance to change someone’s life for the better slip through my fingers simply for the sake of convenience. I have permitted myself to sacrifice another’s well being because it was too hard. Too untimely. Too demanding. But what I’ve come to realize is helping others isn’t supposed to be easy. It requires both personal and external sacrifices, hard work, determination, and realizing that even the changes we perceive as minute can have a drastic effect on the lives of people used to the bare minimum. Some people dream and long for the type of life far too many take for granted. As impoverished population numbers drop due to hunger, or disease, those who could have done something now but didn’t will be left wondering if the loss of a vital community and its cultures was an adequate price to pay for the bliss of ignorance. In the end, human resolve is a powerful tool. But it’s how we utilize that tool that makes all the difference. We can all use its opportunities and benefits to make ourselves happier and the world in its entirety a better, safer place. Or we can choose to live under a cloud of selfish intentions and guilty consciences, and we can look back on our lives later on and wonder, if only.

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What does volunteering mean to you?

May 28, 2020 by Caroline Lidz

Before gaining some “field experience” with volunteering, I had a very narrow understanding of what volunteering really is. I associated the idea of volunteering with crowds wearing the same ugly neon t-shirt while completing the same mundane task. Little did I know that volunteering could encompass designing the t-shirts, organizing the events, and designing the visual identity for a cause. Volunteering, as I have learned, demands organization, creativity, and invention. I grew up as an art kid with my face behind a camera, and my hands shackled to Adobe photoshop. By creating branding for the New Jersey Student Climate Advocates, I learned how to use my skills to amplify the voices of nonprofits. While the work demanded a level of professionalism, I was able to catalyze my growth as a creative professional while giving back to a cause that I am tremendously passionate about. Put simply; volunteering is equal parts giving back and self-exploration- two attributes that continue to drive my passion for activism. 


Why do you feel it is important to help others less fortunate?


 Privilege is meaningless if you 1) don’t recognize it, and 2) don’t do anything with it. I am tremendously fortunate to have been assessed by mentors, resources, and opportunities that have allowed me to realize my passions and amplify my voice. I am also painfully aware of how lucky I am and how unusually this luck is distributed in the country. Helping others makes me feel as if I am minimizing this inequality and can only hope that others in my community also recognize and act upon their privilege. 


What do you plan to do to make the world a better place?


I plan to amplify the voices of the causes that I am passionate about and others that are less fortunate, I plan on using my talents in graphic design and photography to catalyze the growth of change movements. Through various volunteer experiences, I learned the importance of a well-designed t-shirt, a flawless logo, or an engaging infographic on bolstering community pride and support for a cause. So, to make the world a better place, I fully intended to use my passion for visual communication to give faces to causes that strive to make a difference.


Who is a volunteer that inspires you, and why?

This may sound corny, but my school librarian’s effort to foster community pride inspires me to think of activism on a smaller scale. I have a pattern of looking at massive problems like gun violence, youth homelessness, or climate degradation as a source of activism. As a consequence, I often neglect to focus on issues going on within my community. Comparatively, my librarians focus on the student body and the community by running food drives, crafting cards for sick teachers, and planning mental health activities. Activism, as I learned through my librarians, does not have to be a grand and dramatic movement. Instead, the most effective forms of volunteering and intimate but equally as meaningful.

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How are you helping to make the world a better place?

May 27, 2020 by Alize Gonzalez

I volunteered in a village school in Turkey. They did not know English very well because there were not enough resources for books and good teachers. I taught them the foods that we eat for breakfast and taught them how to make sentences like ‘ I like to eat…for breakfast.’ The subjects I taught were mostly simple English. This experience was very important for me because I saw the other side of the world. There are people who can reach most of the stuff they want. Maybe it is not in an easy way but, still if they try more they can reach them. However, for the kids in this school it is not very possible to reach what they want even though they try hard. It made me realize more that the world does not only contain where we live it contains both positives and negatives. In order to make them equal we should try to help both parts. Because when we can have what we want the other part cannot have it and not sharing would be selfish. To help the less fortunate will bring all of us together and help them live a happier life. Even doing something little can make wonders in someone’s life. I hope more people can engage in this wonderful act and touch someone’s life. After my experience in the school I plan to make campaigns for kids both nationally and internationally. In my campaigns I plan to make everyone engage in it. In the campaign I will ask my community and school to bring the clothes that they wore when they were little or the one’s that do not fit anymore. We will try to collect dry-food such as legumes, pasta, rice etc. I plan to carry out my campaign with the help of an organization. I am in contact with several of them. For my second campaign I plan to reach kids who are staying in prison with their mothers in Turkey. I want to teach them basic English and make a book reading session for them. Because, they did not do anything wrong and they deserve to be treated the same as other children. I want to give them a warm hug and open a different door even if it is for an hour. One of the reasons and inspiration to volunteer and start a campaign came from Hilary Swank, both an amazing actress and a volunteer. After hearing she volunteered in an orphanage in India and helped them for their education made me realize there are so many kids who need to be reached and are waiting for help. I hope one day everyone realizes the importance of helping and how it can make the world a better place.

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What does volunteering mean to you?

May 23, 2020 by Lilah Lindermann

Every Thanksgiving since I was four years old, my family and I get up early in the chilly morning and put on our snug winter coats. Later that day, we go to my Grandma’s warm and cheery home and eat turkey and mashed potatoes and apple pie. But in the morning, we drive to a church where Volunteers for Long Island making preparations for the day. For the next few hours, we sort clothing donations and apportion food into individual foil trays for people who are homeless, while younger kids make cards using markers and brightly colored paper. I remember how proud I was when I was deemed old enough to help the adults with the food. Along with the clothing and food, we distribute hope. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to help with other projects and collection drives. Whether playing my flute for the seniors at an assisted living facility, organizing a women’s self-defense workshop, or collecting food for victims of Hurricane Sandy, I have noticed that volunteer efforts always bring hope with them. When I got older, I began to volunteer at a local children’s science museum. I’ve led multiple workshops there, teaching young kids about hydraulics, coding, and robotics. The most rewarding part of this experience is knowing that I give them an opportunity to be a scientist, follow the engineering process, and explore a new area of learning. To me, that is what volunteering is all about. Everyone deserves an opportunity to learn, to know that someone cares…to have hope.

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What does volunteering mean to you?

May 24, 2020 by Gia Villegas

Volunteering is one of the most beautiful things in this world. It fosters human connections, something that this world needs more of. As people, it is our duty to be there for one another by helping and encouraging others to grow stronger. I’ve been able to paint the nails of residents at nursing homes, teach a theater workshop to children whose school does not have a theater program and I’ve written letters to a local nursing home to let them know that they are not alone and that we will get through this pandemic together. Through opportunities like these I’ve been able to realize that volunteering acts like a boomerang of happiness and love. Smiles have appeared on the faces of the people I have been lucky to serve, but most importantly these amazing people taught me new approaches to life and made me feel a strong love that is hard to describe through words. I’m so grateful for being able to develop human connections that I would have never been able to have without volunteering. I view volunteering as the missing piece of a better world. A world where people aid other people, where happiness is constantly lingering in the air and where help will not be hard to find. The empowering figure, Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

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What does volunteering mean to you?

May 23, 2020 by Jaylen Adams

I’ve volunteered in numerous ways. For instance, I am an advisor on the Youth Council of Charlotte. I represent Olympic High School, acting as a voice to Charlotte’s governing body, as well as the school board. Furthermore, I am an ambassador in training for the Young Black Leaders Association. As a member, I have donated toys to underprivileged students, created care packages for Title One schools, and acted as a model to advertise black beauty. At my own school, I’m a member of many different clubs — Model UN, Student Council, Key Club, Junior Leadership Society, Black Student Union, and so on. I’ve organized Bowling for Babies events for my aunt’s sorority, raising money for disabled newborns. I’ve went to a mission trip in Jamaica to bring supplies to underfunded retirement homes. Volunteering is so important to me. Everywhere I look, I see something I want to change. It can be the education system, the mass incarceration epidemic in America, poverty. There is an intricate web of corruption in our country, and there’s only so much I can do as a high school student. I might not be changing the country right now, but I can be changing one person’s life one toy or smile at a time.

My family was hit hard by the 2009 Great Recession. Both of my parents had lost their jobs. We went from the high middle class to living off unemployment checks just like that. If we hadn’t had those unemployment checks, those food stamps, those family friends who offered us sanctuary, I don’t know what would’ve happened. I know I probably wouldn’t be the straight-A student I am now. I find some people forget where they came from. Everyone will be less fortunate another at one point in their life. A rich man can become poor with one bad investment, and a poor man can become rich with one good investment. As humans, we need to be able to help people through those rough times. You never know when you’ll be the rich man and when you’ll be the poor man.

“As humans, we need to be able to help people through those rough times.”

I have so many plans to make the world a better place. When I’m older, I want to start an animal shelter, a soup shop, and so on. Right now, I would like to start a nonprofit focusing on the mental health of students. When I was a freshman, I was handpicked by my student council advisor to represent Olympic at the Ripple Effect event. This focused on the skyrocketing suicide rates in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and really brought my attention to the plummeting mental health of students. Every conversation I had showed stressed, unhappy teenagers who didn’t how to better themselves. My nonprofit would begin with mentoring. There are so many things I would have done differently in my freshman year if someone had warned me. The long term goal would be renting a space to serve as a sanctuary to teenagers, similar to YMCA.