The world has been facing a terrifying amount of tragedies and disasters recently, from the onslaught of hurricanes attacking Texas, Florida, and Mexico, to the fires in California and Portugal, to the massacre in Las Vegas. These events have created a lot of chaos and heartbreak, but they’ve also allowed people to reach out and help others who have been affected.
Whether donating money, rebuilding houses and schools, or joining a search and rescue team, adults everywhere are putting in immense efforts. But as teenagers, it is easy to feel helpless. With school going on, it may not be possible to help with repairs, especially if the chaos is in a different state. And while a lot of students work, there is still very little money that teens can give to GoFundMe fundraisers. But there are options and actions teens can take to benefit those impacted by recent tragedies and in your local community as well. Here are just a few ways students can help out.
For anybody 16 or older, donating blood is a wonderful way to help. If you live in Las Vegas, there is a good chance the blood will be going to the survivors of the mass shooting. If you live anywhere else, it will go to a local hospital to be stored for blood transfusions. If you are under 17, you will need parental consent, and everyone will need to sign a waiver and bring a photo ID. To find a blood drive near you or to schedule an appointment, go to redcrossblood.org/donating-blood for more information. If your school will allow it, you can talk to your principal about scheduling a school-wide drive.
Another way to donate is to set up a clothes or book drive at your school, church, or workplace. Many schools and houses were completely wiped out by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, losing everything. With a little bit of research and coordination, you can pick or shelter to “sponsor.” A list of schools needing supplies can be found here. After choosing a school, talk to a club sponsor or principal about getting on board, and work on setting up boxes set up around your school for people to drop donations in.
A third option is to set up a fundraiser, be it at a restaurant or organizing a 5K. The options are endless and could get all the more creative. If you choose to work with a business, then all that is required is a little communication and planning, and once a date is decided, all that is needed is advertising. If you choose to work on organizing an entire event such as a fun run, then it is going to require a lot more planning. Where will it be held? When? How many people are you expecting? How will you organize a way to raise profits? Once you have all of that planned, and all the money is raised, just pick a charity or effort to send the funds to. You can find many for Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey, Portugal fires, Puerto Rico wildfires, and for the victims of Las Vegas.
Hopefully these ideas will all inspire teenagers to take action and help others, because there are many ways you can help. And if none of these work, try taking an hour out of your week to volunteer at your local food pantry or somewhere else. Try helping a neighbor or babysitting your little siblings. Any random act of kindness will help.