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Setting Goals to Help Others - For Teens

Updated on January 9, 2013
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Making the World a Better Place

If you have always wanted to make the world a better place to live in but you don’t know how to get started, don’t worry; you are not alone. Many teens wish they could help feed the hungry children they see in commercials but without money they don’t think that they can help. Some teens witness others being bullied at school or they hear about the turmoil other teens go through because of cyber bullies. They feel sorry for the people who are being tormented but they fear becoming a victim if they try to stop it. They wish that there was something they could do. Some teens learn about global warming and the effect landfills have on our ecosystem but the problem seems too big for them to be able to offer any relief from it. Most teens never hear about the people in their own communities who need a helping hand. The local food pantry might need people to haul groceries out to cars or an elderly person might need someone to take out their trash or shovel their snow. A single parent may need a babysitter for an hour. Many teens shy away from getting involved because they don’t know how to bring up their desire to help to others. Have no fear; you can start out making small changes until you feel more comfortable. Setting small goals will lead to larger goals and soon you will realize the huge impact your actions can have on changing the world for the better.

Make a meal for a neighbor
Make a meal for a neighbor | Source

Examples of Small Goals You Can Set for Yourself

  • Start and maintain a recycling system for your trash.
  • Shut off lights and water when they’re not in use.
  • Gather your household’s old clothing and toys or gadgets to donate.
  • Babysit a couple hours per week for the child or children of a low-income mother.
  • Call your area churches or food pantries to find out how you can help
  • Offer to help your elderly neighbors with yard upkeep, walking pets, or going to the corner store.
  • Write a letter to our troops once a week or month.
  • Write a congressman about any laws or concerns you have about the country.
  • Make crafts or baked goods for a fund raiser.
  • If you're especially good in one subject in school, offer to help a classmate who has a difficult time understanding it.

Taking Courses to Complement Goals

Setting goals and working toward achieving them can make the difference between drifting through life never realizing your dreams or envisioning your dreams and taking steps to see them come true. Categorize your short term and long term goals on paper.

Think about what courses or clubs you could participate in at school that may help you understand more about current affairs such as poverty, the ecosystem, or injustice. Go through the school catalog or speak to the instructors or the school counselor to learn more about them. If you have to choose between one and another, choose the one that you feel more passionate about learning and changing. Consider how your choice might contribute to your short and long term goals. For example, if the thing you feel most passionate about is helping others and your two top class interests are Green Design and Technology or Creative Writing; write down how each has the potential of contributing to your goal of helping others, as well as, the other goals you have set for yourself. The Green Design and Technology course will obviously help you understand the ecosystem better thereby arming you with ideas on how you can contribute to making changes to better its current state. The Creative Writing course could train you to write well thereby preparing you to write stories that bring awareness of life's struggles or aid in your letter writing skills if you should ever want to write others for help or changes.

DoSomething.org - An organization helping teens to get involved

One great organization that offers ways for teens to get involved with helping others all around the world is DoSomething.org. Over one million teens have become members and more than two million participated in campaigns last year. If you haven’t heard about this organization in school, you can find out more about it, become a member, and learn other ways you can help by going to their site at: http://www.dosomething.org/. The site has an Action Finder with drop down menus to make knowing how you want to get involved easy. It also helps you find ways you can help on your own, with your friends, with your classmates, with your family, or with members of a club or sports team. When setting goals for sponsored campaigns it is important to pay attention to the time frame that they are running and set up your events to get your donations before they are due to be turned in. For example, one campaign supported by DoSomething.org is the Teen for Jeans campaign which in 2013 runs from January 17th – February 13th. It would be a good idea to talk to school officials right away if you still have time to get involved in 2013. If you don’t have time to organize a donation drive, you could look into upcoming campaigns. Keep in mind that while some campaigns require group efforts, many have things that one person can do at home to contribute to its cause.

A list of a few of the campaigns DoSomething.org supports:

  • Teens for Jeans - Teens organize a jean donation drive at school, church, or a community center. Jeans that are new or used but in good condition are collected and then dropped off at any Aeropostale store and sent to many of over a million homeless teens.
  • Fight Puppy Mills – A goal someone could do at home to protect animals is to write local and state legislators asking for better laws or they could spread the word about the cruelty these animals are bred in.
  • Start a Mentoring Program at School to help end bullying – The site gives ideas to get the program started in school and an outline of how to succeed in making newcomers to the school feel welcome.

Taking Action

The organization has many other causes it supports and instructions on how to get started and lists of different ways to fund raise. Stop thinking about getting involved and just do it.

Volunteer to help feed the hungry at a food kitchen
Volunteer to help feed the hungry at a food kitchen | Source

· Go to the site and look through causes that tug at your heart

· Call friends or set up a group meeting to make a plan

· Write down all the reasons you all believe it is important for you to get involved

· If you need permission to act for this cause, bring your list of reasons and your group, if appropriate, and ask.

· Advertise your cause on social networks, in school hallways, and neighborhood stores.

· Listen to suggestions from others and use whatever seems like a good idea.

Help your Parents and Get them Involved in Helping Others

Teens often overlook how much more quality time they could spend with their parents or guardians if they only took the time to do a few extra things a week to help them out. Whether you have chores or not, taking over an extra chore or two will almost certainly make your parents feel real good about the thoughtful person they are raising. In addition, you may suggest to them that the whole family get involved in helping people less fortunate. Some things you could do as a family are:

  1. Plant a vegetable garden, care for it, and pass veggies out to neighbors or donate to food pantry.
  2. Choose an elderly neighbor to help with housework, home repairs, and errands.
  3. Organize a fundraiser to help somebody in your area with medical expenses.
  4. Go through all the things that you don't use anymore (e.g. household items, toys, clothes) and donate them to a single mom in your area.
  5. Rescue a pet from a shelter and share in the caregiving for it.


The Benefits of Helping Others

Often when we start out helping others, we don’t want anything for ourselves. However, usually you receive gifts that change who you are and make you a better person. It feels real good to be a part of something that makes life better for someone in need or for an abused or neglected animal. Volunteering often helps people discover who they are and who they want to be. In addition, volunteering can also lead to scholarships, money for your school, or awesome prizes. Sometimes these bonuses can make the difference between having funds for your own college education or giving school funds to add something needed in the school. Know that you can make a difference. All you have to do is get started.

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I would like to just shake some sense into people, but even then I don't know if it would do any good. Great message here Honey; now if only people would do these things.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Honey, these are great ideas. And what a great idea to start with teens. Apart from the fact that they will learn and hopefully continue these kind acts as adults, teens sre in general way more passionate! Thank you for sharing! Up plus snd sharing

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      The youth group I preach and teach to started a youth program and set out to make some money for themselves with projects. Guess what it failed. Starting Sunday we will begin again, this time I will take an active role and the projects will be for others. I bet this time we succeed. Doing for others is a win win.

    • HoneyBB profile image
      Author

      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for your supportive comments. I hope it inspires some to take action to make the world a better place.

    • HoneyBB profile image
      Author

      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      I bet you win this time too! It's sounds like a good plan and I bet they enjoy it that much more when they are doing for others instead of themselves. Thanks for commenting!

    • neco555 profile image

      Morgan Sheridan 4 years ago from Illinois, United States

      Although I don't have any kids, I understand the importance of teaching them that they can and should make a difference, especially while they are so impressionable and still developing. I wish I used some of these ideas when I was a teen. Most of what I did was through church and sports. Great hub! :)

    • HoneyBB profile image
      Author

      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for reading and commenting neco. I wish I knew about all these things when I was a teen too. I always wanted to do something I just didn't have a clue on how to go about doing it.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Honey,

      This is packed with solid and wonderful ideas that teens can embrace, to start young in giving back.

      I was always grateful to my parents and teachers who encouraged community involvement. My teen years spent in the Community Service Corps and as a Candystriper taught me to love the elderly and the sick, leading me into Nursing.

      Excellent contribution to H.O.W. Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria

    • HoneyBB profile image
      Author

      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for the votes Maria, I have a feeling your parents and teachers encouragement in getting you involved has changed a lot of lives for the better and warmed a lot of hearts and put a lot of smiles on people's faces. I don't think anyone could even look at your picture and remain grumpy. You look so vibrant! Thanks for all you do in making this a better place.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for sharing this. Let us not forget this helps in college applications and scholarships

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Honey....awesome You are always thinking, girl..andyour creative ideas are superb! That's right ! Get our teens invo9lved! Basically, kids love to help and feel they are making a difference. When kids take on a project, they give it their all! Good one, Honey!...UP+++

    • HoneyBB profile image
      Author

      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Effer, Your words inspire me to do more. Thanks for always being so kind with them! You always brighten my day. Thanks for the up votes too!

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Great and powerful message. Teens are those who seem to have the most problems when growing up and it would be great if parents could stimulate them and get them involved in the community. Passing this on.

    • HoneyBB profile image
      Author

      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thank you ;Gypsy Rose, I know when teens get involved in helping others it really makes them feel good and builds their self-confidence so hopefully this will encourage more teens to act. Thanks for reading and commenting, and sharing. I really appreciate it.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      do something sounds like a great organization that actually...DOES STUFF! i had no idea about the jeans drive and a few other cheap and easy ways to pitch in and help!

      Love your goal-setting attitude Honey - a very smart man once asked me: if 2 ships leave port and only one has mapped a course - which do you suppose is going to reach it's goal?

      voting up and sharing on..

    • HoneyBB profile image
      Author

      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks ImKarn, I really love this organization and I think they do amazing work in getting teens involved to help. I love the wisdom of that smart man who asked such an insightful question. Thanks for reading, commenting, voting up, and sharing. I really appreciate it and hope it helps others realize how easy it is to get started and help out.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Great ideas. Our granddaughter had to serve in a food kitchen and she did not want to do it but her Mom said she wasn't getting out of it. She came home happy and glad she had done it.

      I think sometimes it just takes a little push with teens they would rather close their eyes and forget about people that have very little.

      Voted up on your hub and shared.

    • HoneyBB profile image
      Author

      Honey Halley 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks Moonlake, yes sometimes it does take a little push to get them motivated and usually they feel so good about themselves after they help others. It not only helps the less fortunate but it also helps build the teens self-confidence as well level of empathy.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Honey this is a great hub.. It should be on HOW site.. it probably already there but I will share to make sure.. great ideas.. great hub

      God Bless you

      Merry Christmas

      Debbie

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