“Responsibility is not a bad thing. Children love challenges, but when expectations are low, trust me, we will sink to them.
Tell us kids about problems in the world. Not to be frustrated, but to be able to do something about it. Knowledge is not for a stamp collection, it is for doing things.
If you shield us children, you are withholding from us to make a difference.”
– Adora Svitak, age 13
The journey begins.
Our first story could have taken place in any town on Earth.
This neat clip ...
is a true gem.
HOW DO YOU FEEL?
Beautiful, aye?! Welcome to the beautiful world of youth leadership!
This soft spoken film shows many essential aspects of how youth leadership sparks, evolves and is experienced by youth and adults. And you see that 10 year olds are very conscious and clear about it.
“there’s nothing different between me and the kids on those screens, and I could be doing what they were doing.”
Millions of children on Earth are like them.
What’s needed is that they get to see and feel what their generation is doing. That’s your role.
Now discover what stories you have to show them!
At first, his teachers thought he was stealing chalk …
until Babar explained that after finishing classes in the morning, he would teach his friends too poor to afford school fees what he had learned in the morning.
His father picked him up from school so he would have the whole afternoon to teach.
What began as play turned into a full-fledged school in his parents’ backyard, backed by his parents – rice farmers – who provided a daily meal of rice for the children, too.
On request by curious cats, we add 2 lovely video clips. Each offers different insights. Enjoy 🙂
STUDENTS IN 6+ COUNTRIES LEARN OF HIM IN THEIR TEXT BOOKS AT SCHOOL
Many read of him, but wouldn’t it be awesome to meet him via video? Can’t we add precious learning dimensions for his students by teaming up with our schools? And shouldn’t we ask how we can help Babar take his dream to the next level? That is what we do. Babar is one of our Project Partners and you can take part. Take note and keep exploring.
“We have so many energy resources, but we are wasting them.”
Americans throw away so much used oil and grease that it actually blocks our towns’ draining pipes. We can use these oils as bio-fuels … and save on using petrol.
Age 10, 5th grade. Meet her at 15 years old.
They started as student club
at middle school, and as they moved on to high school, they took the club with them.
Acting as student club at school, where they meet each day, they can *with ease* run much of the program :
- daily casual meetings
- info stands, reaching 100s of students
- grow the team
- design flyers etc.
- adult support on demand
- official status as club at a school “institution”
- student clubs are recognized like charitable organizations by adult allies, city, media and donors
and on afternoons and week-ends, they meet for actions “out there” with restaurants, policy-makers etc.
It would not be this easy and efficient for kids age 10 to 16 to gather and work only outside school, considering distance, time, safety, weather, no “office space”, different schedules of families, sports, music, dance etc.
This is a strong example of the
Power of Changemaker Student Clubs
that you will see much more of.
DOLLARS / EUROS of profit donated to families in need
She might be on the U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Team today, if …
CARDS SENT to hospitals in all 50 U.S. states
“1 in 4 Americans go hungry, every week.”
“Every year, in the U.S., 96 billion tons of food go straight from farm to landfill. That’s 40% of what farmers picked.”
Food banks now have 10 x more fresh foods than before.
Many seniors are moved to tears. They had not been able to afford fresh apples for years.
Gabrielle has co-sponsored California State “Zero Waste, Environmental, and Hunger Legislation” : foods shall no longer get dumped but shall be properly composted for various uses. Okay, but – Gabrielle eye-rolls – that’s far from enough. First of all food shall be directed to people that eat it!
1 in 4 Americans experiencing hunger also means 1 in 4 children.
That’s Gabrielle’s peers at school.
School meals in California include fruit for dessert. However, many students don’t eat their apples, and those go straight to the dumpster, for “hygiene” reasons.
Rubbish, thought Gabrielle, and arranged that surplus fruits be neatly collected in a take-home-free box, which is now used by students and teachers.
Can you imagine Gabrielle’s Action Guide?
VOLUNTEERS AT AGE 16
POUNDS / YEAR
Donate Don’t Dump has now spread to 5 U.S. states.
The average age of a person experiencing homelessness in the US is
Because children cannot live on the streets, this issue often goes unnoticed.
“This point in child development is so critical for a person’s entire life. For kids experiencing homelessness, lacking resources to extracurriculars really impacts their development.”
they cannot grow up with the skills to fully shape their own lives with ease, their problems will turn into ours once they become adults.
Read ALISHA's story
As an early teenager, Alisha decided to volunteer at a shelter near Lincoln High, just as her older brother had.
She was stunned to find girls and boys her age.
Homelessness was something she thought of as an adult issue.
These children and youth had innocent visions of becoming doctors, artists, teachers, and presidents … but Alisha realized that given their situation and cognitive development … they did not have the resources necessary to pursue their dreams.
After spending years volunteering and speaking with families experiencing homelessness, she realized the serious lack of affordable and convenient educational programs available for youth experiencing homelessness.
She saw services offering adults job training and help with housing. What she didn’t see was programming that had children’s needs in mind.
When Alisha spoke to a transitional housing organization in Portland, she learned that they had lost funding for children’s activities and could not manage volunteers.
This is not an isolated case.
Despite their right to extracurricular activities, youth experiencing homelessness across the country often lack access to them.
Given the social, cognitive, and academic benefits of extracurricular activities, programs and volunteers are needed in shelters to empower youth experiencing homelessness to reach their full potential.
Teens and children at the shelter had the same concerns and hopes she did, but their experiences were so different, because of the resources she had access to.
So, Alisha set out to find a way to get skilled people in the community to volunteer their time so that children living in a shelter could have access to the extracurricular activities they otherwise miss out on.
The idea began as a school club, but, eventually, she realized the concept was bigger than a club. The effort needed volunteers and infrastructure. She searched for an established organization that the club could partner with, but no one seemed to have the capacity.
So, she would create that organization herself.
“I thought that getting 501(c)(3) status itself was going to be the most daunting part, but that ended up being one of the most easy things. It was daunting to realize we would have to create bylaws, apply for grants, create a board.
Her classmates helped, and Kids First Project became a robust nonprofit that gives homeless children access to tutoring, mentoring, the arts, skills classes and games.
Aware that there is more need than in her own district, Alisha’s crew developed a replicable model that inspired youth can copy and apply to set up Kids First chapters in their town, too.
In 2016, when Alisha was a junior at Lincoln High, The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards named her one of the nation’s 10 top teen volunteers. She has since been honored with several awards, including L’Oreal Women Of Worth.
There certainly exist some in your state that have the Heart to do this. It’s not that teens were lazy or had no time. On the contrary. Some play many hours of sports or stare at shiny screens for days and days.
The average number of books in Native Canadian fly-in community households is
Higher are the numbers of teenage suicide.
Read EMMA's story
Emma has served 1000’s of volunteering hours and she loves to read.
When she learned that First Nation kids in remote fly-in communities (without roads!! connecting them to … elsewhere) of Northern Ontario were two to three years behind in reading and writing, had no access to any books at all (an average of 1 per household), but experienced high suicide rates (30 of 120 students at one school) … she remembered the famous quote ‘My ticket out of a life in poverty was reading’.
She started Books With No Bounds to collect and buy 2,000 new and ‘like new’ books. First, using her own pocket money and selling candy kabobs, then local pizza restaurants and malls offered to serve as drop off and storage points.
When the first shipment of 40 banana box sized boxes piling up high, completed with a shining smile made the local papers’ frontpage, and next week to morning TV, Books With no Bounds took off.
Teachers invited Emma to speak at schools, and as she invited her peers to each donate 1 good book from some years back that they no longer read, but that can brighten another child’s life, students contributed with great enthusiasm. One morning would easily generate 1,000 books, worth $10,000, fit to equip an entire children’s library. Bam!
Emma met officials, arranged airline transportation, fundraised and packed around the clock, always with notes of love.
First, teachers had responded in shock, saying we never ordered this, we cannot pay for this, and when 14 year old Emma said it’s a gift, they broke into tears.
Thank you letters from students were streaming in, with photos of tiny school rooms swamped with books, children proudly holding up their favorites, and Emma answered every single one of them! The children don’t know I get hundreds of letters every week. I don’t want them to be disappointed.
She received gifts in return from native grandmothers, traditional mocassins and gloves became standard for every presentation.
The grand chief heard of what’s going on, and when he realized the young activist was no twen but 14 years old, he broke into a grand smile and his heart melted like so many others’.
Soon, Emma got invited to visit communities, discovered what it means to live in fly-in communties in Canada’s North, with majestic forests, frozen streams, wolves, hunting, traditional customs and rites … living magical moments and making many new friends.
She also witnessed enormous poverty and bad governance, which strengthened her determination for her mission, and to add educational resources.
2 years later, she had sent 60,000 books to all 49 communities, and yet, she had only started.
Emma would speak at WE Days, star in WE films, her story made it on the back of cereal boxes! and journalists frequented her house that much that she had to put limits on it, so she could focus on her mission, because meticulous notes on each book received and forwarded, neat packing and up to 5 social media posts per day take TIME.
Her path would take her to Sweden to twice MC the World’s Children’s Prize, meet more child activists, prime ministers, queens, to speak at the UN, inspire adults at women conferences – and next day be back in classes speaking to kids, besides contributing to local charitable activities like clean-ups and jumping into winter lakes for donation drives.
If ever you needed a living example of what it means to embody the sacred virtues of a noble Knight creating JUSTICE for all in our time, look at her and let her be a MIRROR that makes you feel your own HEART and live it.
Because you need to realize: One young hero*ine is not enough, and likes and shares mean nothing for the cause. What means something to WARRIORS is when others follow the example and do like her, since this way not only children are helped but also HER DREAM will be achieved, and she can breathe and with peace in her heart pursue other trails that her soul foresees. This is how you truly pay respect to these young people. And make their day. and step into your own gretaness greatness. How will that feel?
“Every child has the right to an enormous supply of books.”
And everyone can help: by donating books, postage, and doing book drives for aboriginal youth in their country!
And by adapting the Action Guide for other groups and settings. You know what to do. Let us know of your results. we are here to help. #bemoreawesome
GOOD BOOKS sent to 49 fly-in communities, and to Africa and Asia
Building healing bridges across historic divides.
- Harry Potter, Dinosaurs, Our Earth, Bone… what is the financial value per book? $10€
- How much value has Books With No Bounds generated? $5 million €
You need not worry “OMG, 500,000, how could I ever do that?” That’s how Emma makes the story stick in your mind. Here is *your* mission :
- What if 1 student at schools near you donates 1 GOOD BOOK for peers in need? A school has an average of 500 students. How many students is that in your town or district?
- How many books make 1 children’s library?
- How much time and effort is that for YOU?
You don’t need to do 500,000. Once students in every city know, they will do it. Just spread the message.
Do you sense your power?
No need to wait for laws, permission or millionaires.
You do it.
If you yet feel insecure, that will change very soon. This is your Crash Course to #bemoreawesome and it is not an advertizing slogan. It is FOR REAL.
No need to think about that mountaintop. You’re yet on the trail, page 1. Just keep going.
7th grade. Biology class.
Pick a project.
Read ANA's story
“We were wet. We were muddy. We were tired. And we couldn’t be happier,”Ana remembers the field trip that completed the wetlands restoration project that her group had dreamed up half a year earlier in Life Science class.
Through a buzy winter and spring, they had emailed organizations, invited guest speakers, created a website and social media, scored a grant, and covered everything a 7th grade science student in Virginia was supposed to know.
Here they were, after hours of trudging through foot deep mud, shovels and long wooden stakes on their shoulders, wet brown shorts betraying the students who’d been swallowed deeper than by ankles and shins. Scores of matured bulrushes they had grown and cared for would now improve the stream’s water quality.
Celebrating with National Park staff, they didn’t feel at all like quitting. Instead, they would step it up and provide the Watershed Warriors experience for 5th grade students across the county.
Imagine these seasoned 7th graders sitting together designing a lesson plan along Virginia state science standards – for a fun, immersive wetland restoration adventure, with 4 visits a year, research, action, a field trip – with a focus on high-poverty and ethnically diverse schools!
3 years later, they have engaged over 280 children in the program.
Ana knows it has far-reaching impact.
“Each time I pass Roaches Run, I point out what we’ve planted to whoever I’m with.
I know all our students do, too.”.
HOW DO YOU FEEL?
Essential Insight #1
Young people – especially youth at school – make massive impact by harnessing their macro community for fun, swift, popular activities.
Realize your Power
At an ordinary middle / high school of 1,000 students
- each student gives 1 good book (like Harry Potter, Dinosaurs, Our Earth, Bone …)
- 1,000 books = $10,000€ value
- 1,000 books = 1 children’s library
- fired up youth does it take to activate 1 school of 1,000? Emma’s example shows, it takes 1, and also youth inspired by her in far away cities, scored 1,000 and more.
- schools exist in your region, and how many books would this make
+ Vivid media documentation certainly inspires more schools and citizens to contribute.
1 arts class of 30 students can make how many uplifting magical cards for long-term hospitalized kids?
- easily 100
- 6 classes at school = 600 cards
- serving several hospitals and 100 children with several cards
+ Vivid media documentation certainly inspires more schools and creative adults of all ages to contribute more
Edible berry bush and tree planting with school students
- How many can 1 class of 30 students plant in 1 hour?
- How many can they plant in 4 hours?
- How many can a school of 1,000 students plant, if each join in for 1 hour?
- How many seeds of lettuce, kale, beans, peas, how many potatos can they plant in 2 hours?
- How many can a school of 1,000 plant, if each join in for 1 hour?
- If each student plants 20 square yards / meters, that’s how many football fields (100×50 yards / meters) full of food?
- What would it cost to employ 1,000 adults for 1 hour?
Lunch-time with 1,000 students
If 25% don’t eat their fruit for dessert, and hygiene regulations ban serving them next day
- how many apples are donated not dumped?
- how long would it take you to eat those apples?
- how many people could you serve at a food bank?
- that’s what value in dollars or euros?
+ if 1 in 5 students buy a student club made green smoothie or lemonAID
- that’s how much funds raised?
- how many learn of a hero*ine’s cause?
- how many of their peers will they tell of that hero*ine they just donated to?
- that’s how much funds raised, if the club does this 5 days a week?
- and on 20 days a month?
- and on 200 days of a school year?
+ If you once use tray- or placemats – a double page size sheet with a hero*ine story, actions, pertaining UN Day info, backside for colorizing, more infos, QR codes to videos and music
- how many students learn of youth leadership?
- how many will memorize the story?
- how many will take it home and tell their parents?
- what activities can you advertize and spark?
- how can you make this most awesome?
Bake + LemonAID Sales at School
$100€ are raised on 1 day; in two breaks + lunch break, with ease
- how much do teams at 300 schools raise on 1 day?
- how much, if 1 day in 40 weeks of the school year?
HOW MANY OF THE THINGS LISTED ABOVE CAN A SCHOOL DO
- on a 1 day school fest
- in 1 project week
IF EACH SCHOOL STUDENT DOES A SOCIAL MEDIA POST
on each of these activities that s/he participated in during such a project week
- that’s how many social media posts?
- reaching how many people?
What will be the response
- of their parents
- of news media
- and how will teachers feel?
How will you feel as the YL Coach that sparked these simple, swift high impact activities
- by handing out a flyer to a green teacher?
- by guiding a Crash Course at that school?
- by inspiring someone to take this online Crash Course?
If 7 million FridaysForFuture strikers had each done one $100€ bake or whatever sale per month
- how much $/€ would they have generated per month?
- how much in 1 year?
- how much in the past 2 years?
- how many Land could have been restored and rewilded with this?
“Action expresses priorities.” – Gandhi
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, create a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – R. Buckminister Fuller. 1980
You’re still on page 1 of your initiation to HIGH IMPACT YOUTH LEADERSHIP.
What kind of person will you be by the time that you have completed it?
Let’s find out.
Changemaker Student Clubs like these are major drivers of change! YL equips them with tools, relations and ideas for year-round fireworks of action, aligned with life at school and rich benefits for learning culture. Easy.
The group Crash Course is designed to quickly activate school students. It can be done in class setting in 90 min up. You can invite a YL Coach or do an online tutorial and guide it yourself!
If this page has changed your view of youth, the world, and your powers,
you can imagine that your view will change more as you journey into this fascinating world.