“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
One way to live your best life is to advocate for changes you want. As the above quote shows, your voice can join together with others and make those changes happen. You might not know how to start or how to connect with others, or maybe you already take a stand; the library can help you make your voice heard.
Activism through volunteerism
Volunteering for organizations that support your favored issue is a great way to begin advocating. Such organizations often need help. Maybe it’s stuffing envelopes, delivering flyers, answering the phone or giving surveys. This may not be glamorous work, but it’s work that can make the difference in whether a message is heard. Volunteering has myriad other benefits as well. It looks good on resumes or school applications and it can help you form bonds with communities and like-minded individuals. You can volunteer at the library too, you know. 🙂
Organizations involved in activism
You can seek out organizations with either a broad or narrow focus. Major charities and activism organizations may have youth branches or allow and encourage participation in their regular activities. Other organizations may have a specific focus on serving and including teens. Here are a few and there are definitely more out there!
DoSomething.org – This organization supports teen activism with a variety of campaigns ranging from teaching seniors how to use smartphones to gun violence mitigation efforts.
NAACP – The NAACP works for equality and civil rights on a national and local level with local chapters and youth membership opportunities.
Planting Peace – A global non-profit focused on raising funds for humanitarian projects with an active presence here in Topeka.
Sierra Student Coalition – High school and college-aged branch of the Sierra Club, an organization working for environmental, climate and social justice.
Resources to support activism
By no means complete, here’s a list of some of the materials we have to help you learn about issues, personal stories of activists, and how policies are made and influenced.
Library Tools – Computers and computer classes, hosted events, public meeting rooms, Team Rooms, Make-it Lab, 3d printing, Suggest for Purchase, and many other services may be helpful in your efforts to make a difference.
Speak Out – This list of youth and student organizations is maintained by an organization that helps connect you to a network of speakers and artists.
Charity Navigator – One of several sites that monitor, collect information and rate charitable organizations. This site is useful for finding information about non-profit organizations.