In an increasingly difficult and turbulent world, it's important that the youth remain optimistic and know that there is still hope regardless of tough situations. When they learn about the importance of hope in their lives it builds their character and it teaches them to become more service-oriented in their relationship to others around them. It's also beneficial for the youth to learn to be hopeful because it shows them the necessity of perseverance and not giving up on their goals when obstacles arise.
Have your students go throughout their neighborhoods and interview neighbors who have experienced challenging situations and overcame them through self-determination, others' support and optimism. For example, one student may interview a neighbor who took in eight nieces and nephews when his or her sibling became incarcerated. The student can discuss how this neighbor manages to provide for the children while on a fixed income, and how the children are coping with the parent's incarceration. Then have the students turn the interview into an informative essay which can be published in the school's newsletter.
Promotion of Struggling Small Businesses
If you want to help small businesses in your city that are struggling, you can help them attract new customers by getting members of your youth group together to promote these businesses. For example, if you know of a formal clothing shop that has existed for 30 years and has recently lost a significant amount of revenue due to a decline in sales, speak with the owner of the shop about offering a discount on prom dresses and tuxedos for local high schools as an incentive to get new customers. Then have the youth group create fliers at their schools to promote the discount. If possible, you, the youth group and shop owner can visit local radio stations and discuss the discounts.
Assistance with Job Training for the Recently Unemployed
If you're a campus career counselor, recruit some students to help you with a job training seminar for the recently unemployed in your city. Have the students meet with the job seekers and ask about their work history and career goals. The students can help prepare cover letters and resumes for the job seekers and show them the basics of searching for jobs online.
Thea Theresa English is a freelance writer who lives in New Orleans. She has written articles on career development, maintaining healthy relationships, politics and cultural issues. She is currently a graduate student at Tulane University where she will receive her Master of Liberal Arts degree.