I flew in a plane recently and was sitting directly above the wing. It never ceases to amaze me that the wings don’t fall off with the weight of all the passengers and their luggage and the force of the wind as the plane hurtles along at 800kmh. When I looked more closely at the wing I noticed the thousands of rivets holding it all together. One rivet can't do the job, but 40,000 can - that’s how many rivets are in each wing of a 737.
It’s the same with people, one person doesn’t have much strength, influence or power but many of us together do. That’s why life is better when you're part of a community - not just online friends, but face to face ones. Not just your peers but people who are both younger and older than you. You can find community in sporting clubs, fitness classes, creative groups, churches and many other places.
So you want to change the world but don't know where to start. How bout joining the United Nations Youth Australia. According to their website, "UN Youth Australia is run entirely by a team of over 1,000 extremely dedicated volunteers, all aged 16-25. We are one of the only organisations brave enough to empower young people with skills in education, in design, in leadership, in organisation, in diplomacy and in negotiation to execute their vision."
If you'd like to find out more, check out their website https://unyouth.org.auunyouth.org.au.
Shop Ethical is an online Australian guide to ethically produced products. It covers food, fashion, cosmetics and electrical. It also has information on issues such as labour exploitation, nanotechnology and animal testing. You can find the guide here.
You might want to change the world but feel powerless to do anything as a teenager. Monica Bourgeau wrote a good article that you can find on the Huffington Post website about 7 Ways to Change the World. The first one was to start small. She told the story of Nobel Prize Winner, Mohammad Yunus, who started a micro finance business lending money to those in poverty to start their own businesses. He started with $27 of his own money. Now the Grameen Bank which he started has issued billions of dollars to over 7 million borrowers.
CanTeen supports young people with cancer. National Bandana Day is their annual fundraiser. Every year 23,000 young people have to deal with the challenge of cancer. You can support them by purchasing a bandana, buying a merchandise pack and selling them to your friend and family, by hosting a fundraiser or by donating online. Find out more here.
Why not sacrifice some of that time you spend on Netflix or social media and volunteer for a local organisation or event. Go to www.govolunteer.com.au and click on Student Volunteering, select your state and find a charity or event that suits you.
The Cotton On Foundation sells products such as water, mints and tote bags at their Cotton On, Cotton On Body, Cotton On Kids, Rubi, Factorie, Typo and Supre stores. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of these items goes to charities in Australia, Africa and Asia. So next time you buy a t-shirt or pair of jeans, consider buying one of the Foundation products too. You can find out more here.
This week is National Volunteer Week. You're never too young to volunteer. Did you know that volunteers are happier, healthier and sleep better than those who don't volunteer? Your school may have some volunteering programs that it's already involved in. If they don't speak to one of the teachers at your school and see if they can organise something. Or you can check out volunteeringaustralia.org and click on your state to search for volunteer agencies.