Big Things, Small Things, Hard Things, Easy Things …, by Ann Swindell

Posted: February 22, 2010 in Teen Life
Tags: , ,

What you can do today to serve the world

  1. Give some clothes away. With the new clothes you got for Christmas, you probably have a lot of stuff you won’t be wearing anymore. And chances are, you’ve got clothes you haven’t worn for a very long time. So, take a half hour to go through your closet and dresser, grab those old clothes, and take them to Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or other places that collect second-hand clothing.
  2. Volunteer at a local pet shelter/ humane society, arboretum, nursing home, zoo, or hospital.
  3. Help organize a “Compassion Sunday.” Compassion International links children in need with sponsors who support them prayerfully and financially. One way people find out about this organization’s good work is through its “Compassion Sunday” program. Read all about this program at compassion.com/share/compassionsunday/default.htm. Then talk to your youth leader about hosting a Compassion Sunday to encourage child sponsorship.
  4. Volunteer at a local food bank. Food banks supply food for homeless shelters, soup kitchens, food pantries, and after-school programs for needy children. And they’re often in need of volunteers to help out in a variety of ways. One organization that has more than 200 pantries across the nation is America’s Second Harvest. To find out more or to see if this organization has a food bank close to you, go to secondharvest.org.
  5. Run for it. From crisis pregnancy centers to breast cancer research to the humane society, many nonprofit organizations raise money through races or walks. Keep your eyes open for these types of opportunities, and then encourage your friends to join you in running (or walking) to raise money for a good cause.
  6. Go hungry for the world’s starving. Help your youth group pull off a 30 Hour Famine. Find out all about this fund-raising program at famine.org.
  7. Become a youth liaison for a community service organization or club. Find out if service organizations are looking for teens who can encourage other teens to serve the community. Contact the local Rotary, Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, or The Salvation Army, or talk to the head of your church’s community outreach ministry. Along with representing fellow teens, you can also help organize events that may interest teens and get them involved.
  8. Test your vocabulary and help feed the hungry. For every right answer you give to increasingly difficult word questions at freerice.com, the UN World Food Program donates 20 grains of rice to the hungry. You can also spread the word by grabbing banners to link to the site.
  9. Join a good cause. Is there a social issue you’re passionate about? Something you believe is worth fighting for? Then do something. You can write letters to Congress to try and influence laws—and lots of organizations help you do this through their websites. If you’re interested in ending AIDS and world poverty, for example, go to worldvision.org (click on the “get involved” link) or one.org (click on the “take action” link). You can also write letters through www.house.gov (click on “write your representative”) and www.senate.gov (click on “senators” to find your senators’ contact information).
  10. Do big things. Support other teens who are out to change the world like Kendall Ciesemier (kidscaring4kids.com) and Zach Hunter (myspace.com/lc2lc), or follow their example to make a difference in your own way.
  11. Do small things. Wash the dishes without being told. Help your little brother with his homework. Shovel snow or rake leaves for an elderly neighbor. Babysit your youth pastor’s kids for free. After all, reaching out to the world should begin right where you live.
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