I have always believed that volunteerism is the lifeblood of any decent and caring society. The work that volunteers do and the miracles they perform not only positively affect those around them, but literally millions of other people around the globe as well.
I call them “miracles” simply because the results of volunteerism are nothing less than miraculous. The changes that volunteers bring about are astounding, and the time and effort they give to causes around the world are truly the difference between despair on one hand and hope for a better future on another.
They say that kids are the leaders of tomorrow. I actually disagree with this statement, because it assumes that youth have to grow up first to make a difference. They don’t. They can start right now. This is why I recently started an exciting new program throughout Canada that I know will spur tens of thousands of young people into action.
Last year, I established an endowment fund at my school from the advance of my best-selling book, Making Change: Tips from an Underage Overachiever. Each spring, the student who completes the greatest number of hours of community volunteer service receives a special award provided by the endowment fund and is recognized by his or her teachers and principal at graduation. It created a lot of buzz at school and had a huge impact on the community. Young people who never even thought of volunteering before suddenly became inspired and realized how much fun it really can be.
Based on this success, I’m in the process of starting similar student volunteerism programs in middle schools across the country. It will act not only as a catalyst to propel young people towards volunteerism, but will reinforce positive behaviours early in life and illustrate the importance of community involvement. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Albert Einstein once wrote that “The significant problems we face in the world today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” And to make a difference, we have to think outside the box and do something that has never been done before. That’s where student volunteerism comes in.
Young people today enjoy a level of freedom and individual empowerment that kids throughout the centuries could have only dreamt of. It wasn’t too long ago that adults regularly believed that young people should only be seen in public, and not heard. Thankfully, we’ve moved beyond these outdated forms of thinking, and young people around the world are taking action like never before.
As young Canadians, we have the power, and we have the opportunity. The choice between the world we have and the world we want is in our hands. When young volunteers come together, give their time and work for a common cause, nothing – absolutely nothing – can stand in their way. We have a new world to win for ourselves and generations to follow. Let’s get started.
“Together We Can Make A Difference”