If 2020 has proven anything, it’s that there is no shortage of needs not just in our communities, but all over the globe. But unfortunately, as much as young people want to help, not everyone has the financial resources to do so. At the same time, almost everyone has physical limitations, given the intermittent stay-at-home orders and government-mandated quarantines. Thankfully, we have digital technology at our disposal, and there are so many things we can do to help from the comforts of our home. Here is a list of initiatives young people can start to help meet the needs of those who have been underserved in society, and the world at large.
Start online campaigns.
If there is a specific cause, movement, or advocacy in your heart that you can’t be silent about, you don’t need to be on the streets to tell people about it. While there is certainly room for physical protest or lobbying in person, you can still give a voice to your cause without leaving your house by leveraging social media and digital technology. If you have a knack for graphic design, you can create infographics explaining your cause and advocacy, and why it’s important that people talk about it. Or if you’re a writer, you can start blogs and publish articles around the movement you support.
One prominent example of a widespread movement that found its start online is To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA), which is a non-profit organization that helps people who struggle with addiction, mental illness, self-injury, and thoughts of suicide. In 2006, the founder simply wrote a MySpace blog detailing how he helped a female friend who overdosed. The story eventually gained traction, turning TWLOHA into an organization that has donated more than 2 million dollars into recovery and treatment for patients. Their story shows that there’s nothing wrong with starting small and slow—in fact, laying down proper foundations may be the best way for your movement to grow the right way.
Build a community of people who share the same heart and values.
Advocacy is not a one-man show; as passionate as you may be, you need to have a community of like-minded people who share your values, vision, and goals. There is so much more you can achieve when you have a team of people behind you who understand and stand by the vision and the objectives of your movement. Thanks to the advancement of digital technology and social media, building an online community has evolved from outdated forums. Nowadays, you can connect with people by building your own community app, website, or both. Having a community is vital to starting an online movement because you need people whose skills you may not necessarily have, and who can encourage you when you find yourself wanting to quit.
Use skills and talents to raise funds.
Whatever unique skills and talents you may have, you can leverage them to raise funds for those in need. For example, if you have musical talent, you can partner with your other musical friends to hold an online concert in support of families in your neighborhood that lost their sources of income due to the pandemic. If you’re an artist, you can open commissions, the proceeds of which can go to front line medical workers who are working day and night to care for COVID-19 patients, and who risk their health and lives every day to flatten the curve. There are a lot of things you can do online not just to spread the word, but to raise funds for sectors and people who need it.
Volunteer your time.
There are a lot of apps that are helping disabled people navigate their daily lives better. One of them is a free app called Be My Eyes, which connects blind and low-vision users with sighted volunteers all over the world. Through video calls, the volunteers help the blind and low-vision users with their daily tasks, such as crossing the street, getting their groceries, checking expiry dates, and others, even if they’re from the opposite sides of the world. Whenever a blind or low-vision person needs help with something, all they need to do is call, and the volunteers would be happy to help. You can volunteer for this initiative if you have time to spare and want to be of help to others.
In This Together
Now more than ever, humanity must come together to help those who need it. Yes, we need to hold world leaders and government officials accountable, but we can also play our part as individuals, even if we’re young. There is so much we can do for others as long as we do it together and believe the best in our humanity.