Kids all over the world want to make a change in the world or be an inspiration to others. For example, Brittany Amano at the age of 12 founded a nonprofit organization called the Future Isn’t Hungry. However, a child shouldn’t have to be a founder of an organization to make a difference.
Many kids like Brittany have the passion to help others. 93% of kids in America say they want to volunteer, but not many do so. Be the organization that takes advantage of this!
The Jefferson Awards Foundation adopted a 4-step process that engages kids that hope to be in service by targeting an appeal to the interests they have, as well as making participation easy, fun, and accessible. This process has been tested through the youth programs the organization offers.
These steps include:
1. Ask kids what they care about.
It is incredible to hear about the things young people notice and how much these issues matter to them. Simply asking kids what kinds of problems they’ve been thinking about and their ideas to solve them can lead to an overwhelmingly constructive response that can be channeled into public service.
2.Establish a goal.
Although kids tend to care about lots of issues and have ideas about how to address them, they usually need help taking the action. For you, this means sitting down with them to talk about their ideas. What do people in their community need, and what is the young person with the idea able to give? By establishing a goal, kids are able to figure out the steps needed to reach it.
3.Create an action plan.
Ask yourself what steps does the child need to take to reach their goal? Sitting down with a young person and walking them through the process of creating a plan will show them success. The steps can be as easy as listing 1,2, and 3!
4.Last but NOT LEAST, Share it!!
Once you there is a plan in place, be sure to share it with the other kids in the community. Many of them will be excited to help your child, and a few of them may even want to start working on their own ideas. Encouragement is key with kids to share their plans of action! Once they get the positive feedback they want, they are bound to keep excelling.
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Marni Wax is a student in the Journalism school at the University of Iowa. She spends her free time running, listening to music, and enjoying a large cup of coffee while scrolling through social media pages.