How to: Help The World When You’re Young and Broke
Updated: Dec 5, 2020
It's no doubt that civil unrest has been prevalent in the United States. Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or somewhere in the middle— maybe not even interested in politics— I think we can all agree our world has become chaotic. We’ve been in quarantine for months. There are protests happening all over the globe. And, we have a huge presidential election coming up. Sometimes, it can be hard to provide support towards movements and causes we care about. Not knowing where to start, feeling like petitions aren't enough, and not having money to donate are all problems we may share. During this time of hardship, we need unity, which starts by giving and caring for others who aren’t like us. Unity starts with you.
Donate to a cause. The unfortunate truth is that organizations need money to be heard. Donations are a big help. However, not all of us have money to donate or even own a debit or credit card. That’s where Kiva comes in. Kiva is an online organization that helps people all over the world, and all different causes, but keeps the amount of money you need to spend low. You can help an unlimited amount of people for only a hundred dollars. What makes Kiva different from other organizations is that instead of donating money, you can loan money. This way, you can help families start businesses, help women in other countries get an education, and more. Essentially, you are helping people get back on their feet and once they do, they pay you back the money you loaned them(no interest rates - this is not a way to profit off helping people). This way, you can then use that same money to help another person get back on their feet. You learn about each person's situation and how much money they need to reach their goal. You can then pitch in towards their cause. Any amount helps. You can start with as low as 25 bucks! Kiva is a great option for anyone who doesn’t have the money to consistently be donating or for anyone who wants to know exactly who they are helping.
Sign petitions. If you don’t have money to donate, you can sign petitions. Sometimes, it feels like signing petitions isn’t enough, but they do help. They wouldn’t exist if they didn’t help. When those signatures start piling up on a certain cause, the cause just can’t be ignored. So once you feel like you have signed every petition that exists, what's the next step? Create one. Keep in mind that your first petition doesn’t have to be big; you can start small. Maybe there’s an important cause in your community or school that you feel needs attention. It may not change the world, but it will do good for the people around you.
Make your voice be heard. A great way to get our voices heard is to call our senators and representatives. Research about a cause that you care about, call whoever is in charge, and tell them that we want their help. Of course, if you don’t feel like calling is a good option for you, writing an email or a letter is just as effective. If your cause is specific to your community, reaching out to your mayor might be a better option. Make sure to put the time in to research about what you are talking about. Don’t take any shortcuts. Using these two links, you can find both your senators and your representatives relative to where you live. California’s senators are Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.
Support small businesses. During this time of hardship, many small businesses are suffering from the lack of customers. Whether it’s an online or a local family-owned business, try to provide them with support. Before going to buy cookies from a chain grocery store, consider getting some from a small bakery. Try to find smaller online businesses to buy from, not just Amazon. Buying from small businesses is great and you can help them by putting in a good word for them. Write a positive Yelp review or recommend them to friends and family. For some small business owners, their only source of income is from their customers. Remember, if you do decide to go out and buy from these businesses, social distance! Don’t be the reason it takes even longer for them to return to normal.
Do good for the environment. The environment might not be at the top of your list of things you're interested in helping, especially when there are people barely getting enough food to eat. But ultimately, if we want to help others, we need to make sure that our planet is still safe enough to live on. Our planet is not only for us, but for future generations(We don’t want to recreate “The 100!”)We can all help the environment; whether it's the small and easy responsibility of taking shorter showers, or a huge project of turning a gasoline car to an electric one(for the future engineers out there). According to worldwildlife.org, some really serious issues that will occur in the near future, if we don’t limit global warming, include sea level rise, coral bleaching, an ice-free arctic, severe heat waves, flooding, and half of plant and animal habitats being lost. Overall, each of these things will affect everyone on Earth, in the United States, and in our lifetime. We have to take the environment seriously or else there will be no one left to help. Other ways to help the environment are looking into community solar projects in your area, healthier alternatives besides driving gas-powered vehicles, planting trees, cutting your household food waste, recycling, and encouraging others to do the same. You can also just invent some complex machine that fixes all our environmental issues. That would work too.Whatever you decide to do, commit to it. It’s up to us to make sure this world stays habitable.
Be kind to your neighbor. This is not just a phase. Literally, be kind to your neighbor. Bring them some flowers or even bake them some cookies. During this time of hate and division in different communities, give others a reason to smile. This may sound corny, but you might be helping more than you know. A simple gesture of kindness, can set off a chain of acts of kindness. Not only should you be kind to your neighbors but be kind to your friends, family, and even strangers.
Overall, it's important that we help and support each other, especially during times of crisis. If we can lift each other up, instead of tearing each other apart, we can live in a world where hatred isn’t welcomed. Little things can help greatly. Whether or not you want to live and fight for a better world, that’s up to you.