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Making a Difference: How Teens Feel About Real World Issues

Teens Making the World a Better Place

Making the World a Better Place

This is the StageofLife.com summary report on the causes and organizations making a positive difference in our world, as nominated by our student writers and bloggers in our monthly student writing contest.  Below is a collection of the essays from high school and college students as they answered the StageofLife.com monthly writing contest writing prompt...

"What organization, company, non-profit or 'cause' will help make the world a better place?"

Over 3,950 students from all 50 US states and dozens of countries visited the writing contest page during the month of essay contest (Jan. 2011), and scores of high school and college students submitted nominations via their 500 word essay.  From the essay submissions, four core themes emerged:

  • Medical related issues:  These teen writers felt strongly about finding cures and spreading awareness about debilitating conditions like cancer, concussions, and Celiac Disease. 
  • Self-image issues:  These student writers focused on promoting self-worth and healthy living, including healthy relationships and healthy eating habits.
  • Poverty:  These writers wanted to give back to those who do not have their basic needs met.
  • Animal rights:  And finally, these writers cared deeply about the humane treatment and protection of animals.

These were not the only types of causes nominated for the contest.  In all, we were incredibly impressed with the passion shared by these young writers.  One student volunteers at a VA hospital.  Another emphasizes that "family" that should come first as a focus in which to make the world a better place.

Immediately below, you'll find featured links to the winning essay, our semi-finalists and some of the other teen essays about causes, organizations and companies that are making a positive difference in our world.

Please take a few moments to read an essay or two.  If you have the time, make a comment on the essays you enjoyed the most.  We know the student writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email notifying them if you comment on their contest entry).

Student Writing Contest Winner


Winner:   My Cause: To Write Love On Her Arms promotes more than ink poisoning by writexmusic

 

High School Finalists:

College Finalists:


Aside from the finalists, we had a wide variety of passionate teen essays about causes and organizations.  While we didn't re-post links to all of the essays here on our summary page, please take time to read some of the other causes nominated (in no particular order):

What do teens care about?

  1. My Cause: Providing Education to Youths of the Inner City (Hope Academy; charity provides quality education for poor inner city students)
  2. My Cause: Invisible Children (end the use of child soldiers in Uganda)
  3. My Cause: Tissue and Organ Donation (500,000 lives were saved last year by organ donation)
  4. My Cause: Helping the Homeless (she has an idea to help homeless—build houses instead of shelters)
  5. My Cause: Concussion Research (increase awareness about concussions)
  6. My Cause: Text Free Driving Organization (prevent people from texting and driving)
  7. My Cause: Thoughtfulness (you can’t rate selflessness; the best “organization” is a thoughtful person)
  8. My Cause: A New Year (change yourself—become more positive)
  9. My Cause: Wildflower Warriors (works to save animals from extinction)
  10. My Cause: The American Cancer Society (works to cure cancer)
  11. My Cause: World Vision (all people deserve to have their basic needs met)
  12. My Cause: Doctors Without Borders (doctors go to dangerous areas to provide medical care for those in need)
  13. My Cause: Key Club Makes the World a Better Place (charities and fund raisers for the needy)
  14. My Cause: Animal Rights (World Society for the Protection of Animals; put an end to animal cruelty)
  15. My Cause: Celiac Disease Awareness: Glutino Making a Gluten-Free Diet Easier (Glutino; increase awareness about Celiac Disease)
  16. My Cause: National Cattleman’s Beef Association (NCBA) A Voice for the Industry, For a Better 2011 (works to create fairness in the beef industry)
  17. My Cause: Operation Beautiful (uses post it notes to encourage self-love instead of self-hate)
  18. My Cause: Serving in Missions (Serving in Missions; mission work in Asia, Africa, and South America)
  19. My Cause: Family (family is the best cause)
  20. My Cause: Kiva.org- Lending Money, Giving Hope (lend money to help poor entrepreneurs maintain a business)
  21. My Cause: Making a Developed World (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; works to end poverty in third world countries)
  22. My Cause: To Lessen Corruption in the Pristine World (she wants to eradicate corruption from society)
  23. My Cause: Teen Drunk Driving (reflections of her participation in an anti-drunk driving program)
  24. My Cause: To Write Love On Her Arms promotes more than Ink Poisoning (works to prevent self-harm and depression)
  25. My Cause: NEDA leaves us teens with hope (National Eating Disorder Association; works to prevent eating disorders)
  26. My Cause: Senior Soldiers (he volunteers at a VA hospital)
  27. My Cause: The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation (Christian-based animal rights group
  28. My Cause: Making Sure No Kid Goes Hungry (Share Our Strength: No Kid Hungry; no child should go hungry)
  29. My Cause: Quality Education for Everyone (Teach For America; all people deserve an equal education)
  30. My Cause: Amnesty International Helps Gain Lawful Rights (Amnesty International; all people deserve basic human rights)
  31. My Cause: St. Jude Children Research Hospital (works towards a cure for cancer)
  32. My Cause: Preventing Violence Disguised as Love (Domestic Violence; no person should be in a violent relationship)


How Can I Make a Difference?Students (and you) - Take Action to Make the World a Better Place...

As a follow-up to this writing contest, StageofLife.com encourages teenagers, college students and people from all stages of life, to...
  • Step 1: Research organizations that align with your personal belief system
  • Step 2: Contact those organizations to see how you can help or get involved
  • Step 3: Take action by volunteering, fund raising or creating awareness for the organization.
  • Step 4:  Spread the word about what you're doing with family, friends, your school and community.  You can do this by making updates on Facebook or by creating a profile and writing about here on StageofLife.com.  With each post you make on your StageofLife.com blog, your efforts and stories can reach thousands of readers, hopefully inspiring another to get involved in your cause.  It starts with one person. 
Start be exploring some of the organizations mentioned in the essays above, and research your own too.  And please let us know if you do get involved to help an organization after reading our Making the World a Better Place page.  Contact Us.

Making the World a Better Place on StageofLife.comOrganizations Nominated by our Bloggers and Readers

The below organizations were featured in the contest essays (see above essay links).  StageofLife.com feels strongly that you could help make the world a better place by visiting or contacting some of these well deserving organizations, non-profits and causes. 

NOTE:  If you know of an organization that deserves some recognition, please submit an essay to StageofLife.com about that organization using the "Share a Story" links throughout the site.  In your essay, please make sure to tell us how the organization is making a positive impact in our world and why it matters to you personally.  After the essay is uploaded, contact us through our online form and include the link to your essay as it appears on StageofLife.com  We'll add your essay link and your nominated organization to our list below.  For those looking to explore volunteerism at the international level, please check out www.worldvolunteerweb.org

1.      Hope Academy: http://www.hopeschool.org/

2.      Invisible Children: http://www.invisiblechildren.com/

3.      Text Free Driving Organization: http://www.textfreedriving.org/

4.      Wildlife Warriors: http://www.wildlifewarriors.org.au/

5.      The American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/

6.      World Vision: http://www.worldvision.org/

7.      Doctors Without Borders: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/

8.      Key Club: http://www.keyclub.org/home.aspx

9.      World Society for the Protection of Animals: http://www.wspa-international.org/

10.  Glutino: http://www.glutino.com/

11.  National Cattleman’s Beef Association: http://www.beef.org/

12.  Operation Beautiful: http://operationbeautiful.com/

13.  Serving in Missions: http://www.sim.org/

14.  Kiva: http://www.kiva.org/

15.  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/Pages/home.aspx

16.  To Write Love On Her Arms: http://www.twloha.com/index.php

17.  National Eating Disorder Association: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

18.  Veterans’ Affairs: http://www.va.gov/

19.  The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation: http://www.all-creatures.org/ff/

20.  Share Our Strength: http://strength.org/

21.  Teach For America: http://www.teachforamerica.org/

22.  Amnesty International: http://www.amnesty.org/

23.  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: http://www.stjude.org/

24. UN Volunteers:  http://www.unv.org/

25. World Volunteer Web:  http://www.worldvolunteerweb.org

26. Beachway Therapy Center: http://www.rehabilitation-center.org/addiction-resources/eating-disorders.html

27. Verizon Wireless/Stay Focused: Don't Text and Drive: http://aboutus.verizonwireless.com/commitment/safety_security/dont_text_and_drive/


Last Words:  We could not list all of the essays submitted for this contest, but we thank every student that participated in the conversation about making the world a better place.  To enter the current Stage of Life monthly writing contest for high school students and college students:

 

Stage of Life - Student Writing Contest Press Release

YORK, Pa., March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In honor of National Volunteer Week starting on April 10, StageofLife.com, a free blogging platform, asked teens, "What organization, company, non-profit or 'cause' will help make the world a better place?"

The writing prompt was part of StageofLife.com's monthly student essay contest.  Over 3,950 students from all 50 U.S. states and dozens of countries visited the writing contest page with scores submitting essays to nominate their favorite volunteer organizations.  From the blog submissions, four types of organizations emerged as those held most dear to teens' hearts.

  1. Medical related: Teens feel strongly about finding cures and spreading awareness for debilitating conditions like cancer, concussions, and Celiac Disease.
  2. Self-image:  Many teens focus on promoting self-worth and healthy living, including healthy relationships and healthy eating habits.
  3. Poverty: Teenagers want to give back to those who do not have their basic needs met.
  4. Animal rights:  Students care deeply about the humane treatment and protection of animals.

StageofLife.com CEO, Eric Thiegs, explained, "The variety of volunteer organizations and causes nominated by the students was astounding.  One student gives his time to help senior soldiers at a VA hospital and another emphasized 'family' should always come first as the way to make the world a better place."

The winner of the writing contest, writexmusic, tackled self-image issues in her essay entitled, "To Write Love On Her Arms, promotes more than ink poisoning." She shared, "According to my friends, self-injury is a way to release the pain they feel inside...that's where the non-profit organization To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) comes into play. The idea behind the name was to write the word 'love' on your arm, instead of cutting yourself.  Use a pen, not a knife."

In its call-to-action leading up to April's National Volunteer Week, StageofLife.com encourages teenagers, college students and people from all stages of life to consider the following four steps as a way to get involved and help make the world a better place:

  • Step 1: Research organizations that align with your personal belief system.
  • Step 2: Contact those organizations to see how you can help or get involved.
  • Step 3: Take action by volunteering, fund raising or creating awareness for the organization.
  • Step 4: Spread the word about what you're doing with family, friends, your school and community. You can do this by making updates on Facebook or by writing about it on StageofLife.com.  With each post a blogger or writer makes on StageofLife.com, their efforts and stories will reach thousands of readers, hopefully inspiring another to get involved in a particular cause.  It starts with one person.

A summary report with links to dozens of the teen essays showcasing the goodwill nominations can be found at StageofLife.com's "Making the World a Better Place" page.

Organizations featured by the teens in their StageofLife.com essays included Hope Academy, Invisible Children, Text Free Driving Organization, Wildlife Warriors, The American Cancer Society, World Vision, Doctors Without Borders, Key Club, World Society for the Protection of Animals, Glutino, National Cattleman's Beef Association, Operation Beautiful, Serving in Missions, Kiva, National Eating Disorder Association, Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation, Share Our Strength, Teach For America, Amnesty International, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and more.

StageofLife CEO, Thiegs, hopes that, "this list of essays will serve as a starting point for young people around the nation to start exploring the philanthropic side of their lives."

For the March student writing contest, StageofLife.com asks teenagers, "What form of media impacts your life the most, and why?" and ends at Midnight (PDT) on March 31, 2011.  Winners receive gift card or cash prizes from national sponsors along with SWAG from StageofLife.com.

StageofLife.com will release a summary/white paper outlining its findings from the last teen writing contest dealing with teens' attitudes about marriage later this month.  Previous StageofLife.com teen white papers address topics such as teens and stressteens and moneyteen heroesteens and education, and more.

About Stage of Life™:  StageofLife.com is a free, non-partisan, grassroots online community hosting blogs, information and resources for teens, Millennials/Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations.  Its specialized content allows users to share their life stories and includes free lesson plans and writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students and college students, blogging resources, a platform for writers and bloggers to promote their work and much more, including My Life Rewards, an area dedicated to providing relevant coupons and discounts exclusively geared towards each stage of life.

SOURCE StageofLife.com

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