Get Inspired

How to give back and create change in your community

Giving back to your community is a great way to show your appreciation for where you live and spark progress that can make things even better. You might want to get more involved—but you're just *so* tired of being told that you are too young to make a difference. (Totally untrue, by the way.) Feeling like you're stuck in that situation? Here are some simple ways you can create change in your community as a teen!


Remember the public library you always pass on the way to your best friend's house or the homeless shelter your school donates to every year? Maybe they need an extra hand! Find an organization serving a cause you are passionate about and reach out by email to see if you can stop by and help after school or on weekends. Volunteering is also an awesome way to explore possible careers—like working at an animal shelter to see if you'd like to be a vet. You can focus on your future while also improving your community (the perfect combo!).


Is there a subject you *really* love at school? Are you a total math whiz or a history buff? If so, tutoring might be right for you! You can start by asking your friends if any of their younger siblings might be interested in some extra homework help. Or maybe your next-door neighbor is totally struggling with a huge English essay. Tutoring can not only help other students learn, but it could also be a great learning experience for you. Teaching the material might even help you improve your own understanding of the subject!


Another important way to help out your community is by donating to causes you believe in. There are many ways to fundraise—you can do something simple like selling lemonade or washing cars to raise money, or something bigger, like a trivia tournament or talent show at your school.


Unfortunately, sometimes outside forces can harm a community, like unfair laws or large companies. In these situations, you might feel powerless and unable to do something about it. Protesting can help you share your voice. You can start a petition online and spread it through social media, or you might arrange an in-person gathering of people who believe in fighting against the same things as you. No matter what you do, just be sure to ask a trusted adult for guidance.

Starting your own initiative

What if you're passionate about a cause that no organization already addresses? Maybe it's time to start an organization of your own! From Talaria Summer Institute (a summer science program for teen girls) to March For Our Lives (a protest for gun violence awareness by Parkland survivors), many unique organizations were founded by teenagers. Whatever it is that you want to change, start out small—at your school, for example. Be sure to ask your teachers and friends for support! Remember: You are never too young to start making a difference in your community. 

Looking for more ways to make a difference? Check out these related posts:
🗣 Here's what you can do about period poverty
🗣 5 tips for becoming a teen entrepreneur
🗣 Everything you need to know about your right to protest
🗣 How to get involved before you're old enough to vote

How do you like to give back to your community? Tell us on Twitter @girlslifemag!

All GIFs via GIPHY
Top image: @giveyouthvolunteer


by Nora Sun | 9/13/2022