Who says young people today are shiftless and self-absorbed and nothing but trouble? That’s what some folks think of teens, but the majority of young people do not fall into that classification. The teens that I know, and have worked with, are bright, helpful, respectful, and eager to make a difference in the world.That is one reason I was so pleased to see an article in Parade Magazine this weekend that celebrates young people who are participating in service activities.
The article starts by featuring Miranda Cosgrove, the star of Nickelodeon’s iCarly, for her work with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis where she visits patients and assists in fund-raising. “They tell you to give back because it helps other people, but you also get a lot out of it.”
Fifteen teens from across the country were picked for Parade’s All-American Service Team, and they were selected because they have done something significant in their communities, or even across the world. Rujul Zaparde from New Jersey was cited because he started a non-profit that helps build wells in India, and Charlotte Bilski from New York was cited for organizing an effort to gather donated medical supplies and send them to Haiti following the devastating earthquake there.
Charles Orgbon III from Georgia, is CEO of Greening Forward, a nonprofit that has helped 6,000 students recycle 10 tons of waste and pick up enough litter to fill 25 homes. Charles is only 15 year old. Imagine what he will do at 25.
Conner Danzler of Maryland founded Health Through Humor, an organization that has distributed 11,000 joke books to hospitals in 19 states. Laughter really is the best medicine, and he is doing a wonderful service.
Right here in my community I know a number of teens, and younger children, who take part in the annual Winnsboro Service Day, cleaning up property and painting homes for senior citizens and the disabled. Teens from my church do the same type of service projects, and many of them collect food for the food pantry.
What about you? Do you know some young people who are deserving of some special recognition for what they are doing to serve their communities?