[What?!? YOU SAY YOU DONT HAVE TIME?]
OK, lets see if we can keep this under 120 minutes. (Get other people to help, spread it around, see if it doesnt drop to under 60 and have more impact!]
Remember: to be effective you should inform yourself. Knowledge really is power, and the more you educate yourself about a problem and what the needs really are, the more impact you can have. Weve been exploring the issue of homelessness in the Mexico Trek. Go back and look it over in the calendar if youve missed some of it. [Thats 0 minutes, because you either already did it, or youre gonna have fun doing it now
SO: After you learn some general info about the issue, FOCUS. Figure out what part of the problem you really want to address. In the case of homeless youth, think about whether you want to:
[OK, that took, what, a couple minutes, max?]
- Reduce youth homelessness in the first place by ADDRESSING THE CAUSES,
- Help improve the lives of the youth who are already on the streets by IMPROVING THE CONDITIONS ON THE STREET,
- Reduce youth homelessness by HELPING TO GET HOMELESS YOUTH OFF THE STREETS
Once youve done this, youre ready to go a little deeper. INVESTIGATE what is already being done. FIND OUT what is working and where more help is needed.
If you want to address the causes, well, what are people doing about it that you can build on or help with?
If you want to improve the conditions on the street, well, what can you do or donate that will have an impact?
If you want to help get kids off the streets, well, whats being tried right now and what do homeless youth really need to help them?
That might just mean organizing yourself. With what you found out, can you have an impact by yourself?
That might mean organizing your friends or classmates.
- Can you help educate people about why kids become homeless? Can you write an essay for the local newspaper? Can you present in front of the class for extra credit?
- Can you collect blankets to give to a shelter? Can you help the library get books for teenagers donated?
- Can you volunteer with a shelter? Can you answer phones to help runaway kids? Can you be a good student and continue educating yourself and learning skills to have even more impact as you grow older?
It might mean organizing around the world.
- What if your friends or classmates did presentations for other classes? What if you did it for some adults who have a club?
- Can you imagine how many blankets or books a whole group of people could gather? What about food?
You dont have to think too hard. Let your investigation tell you what you should do. Where you find needs or good things that are going on, thats where you can make a difference!
- Can you get kids all over the world to write letters about homelessness? Can you get in touch with them on the Internet and tell them what you are doing and how they can help?
NOW DO IT! Youre educated, youre organized, now EXECUTE!
Well help you think about how to do this in the next few updates. For now, just get the ball rolling, and be proud of yourself that you are part of an amazing group of people around the world that cares and is fighting to make this world a better place!
[OK, did that really take more than 120 minutes, even if you really thought about it?!?]