When people think of changemakers they think of people who have spent years unsatisfied by the world and looking for change. You think of people in their 40s, 50s, and even 60s finally taking the plunge to be the change they want to see in the world. Well who’s to say that a young changemaker can’t make a difference?
If you see something that needs to be changed then make the change yourself. Don’t wait till you’re older or for someone else to do it. Take these 10 tips for young changemaker and start making a difference in your neighborhood, community, or nation.
As a young changemaker, you need to….
1. Believe you can make a change.
Before you can make a change you need to believe that you can. Don’t let your age, race, or economic status stop you from making changes. You’re the one that is seeing the injustice, so why not be the one to make the change? No one knows the situation better than you as young changemaker. You’re living in the problem, so be the one to find the solution.
2. Find something you’re passionate about
The only thing you need to make changes is passion. This will help you stay focused and motivated on the changes you want to make. When obstacles arise, passion can help you see pass the obstacles and find the solution to overcome them as young changemaker.
If you’re not passionate about what you’re fighting for then why fight at all?
3. Be prepared
Before you build your platform, you need to do some research. You need to know what you’re talking about. Your research will build a foundation from which you can build your platform for change. It’ll also let you be more confident in what you’re saying and help you earn respect from people in your community and people working in the same field.
Your research needs to cover local and national news. In your research, find out if there are any groups or communities that are fighting for the same thing?
If there are groups who are fighting for the same cause then reach out to them. Groups want to hear from young changemakers because they are passionate, optimistic, and relentlessly persistent. From the group, you can start an open discussion about the cause, how it came about, and why it’s still a problem. You can ask the group what has already been done and why it didn’t work. These discussions can enlighten you and help you prepare for the road ahead. Knowing what’s coming and building a well thought out plan is half the battle as one of the young changemakers.
If there aren’t any groups who share the same cause then start your own group. Build a group or community in your neighborhood, school, or church. This small group of people can make a difference. The group’s passion and persistence will inspire others and the group will grow.
4. Connect with people in the field
If you want to be taken seriously then you have to be informed and reach out to professionals in the field. When you build a network of contacts, you’re not only learning more about the cause you want to help but you’re also building relationships with people who can help you make the change.
Don’t be hesitant to reach out to professionals. Most of the time, they are excited to hear that a young person is so passionate about making a difference and helping a worthwhile cause.
5. Talk to your community
In a community, many people share the same sentiments. So make your cause a community effort. If changes need to be made in the community then many people would be passionate about contributing a helping hand especially if it’s a cause worth helping.
If there is a group fighting for a similar cause then you can start a new chapter in your community. This will bring the community together and you’ll have a place to discuss the situation, figure out solutions, and make a plan of action together.
As long as you stay true to your cause and your goals, people will start noticing and some will join the initiative.
6. Know there are obstacles
When you fight for a cause, you need to know there are obstacles. Sometimes its hard to inspire people and get them to understand why your cause is important, but people will be driven by your hard-work and passion for the cause.
Obstacles happen. They can by physical, emotional, or social. A physical obstacle could be rain if you’re planning an outdoor event. No matter what you’re planning, there is always a possibility for an unforeseen event. So be prepared and access the situation calmly.
If you’re passionate about what you’re fighting for then every obstacle is worth overcoming. You’re obstacle could have other people involved and sometimes it’s hard for change to come about because people are comfortable where they’re at. In these situations, it’s your job as a young changemaker to inform them. The information you give can make people uncomfortable. The way this information is delivered is key. If the delivery is messy and driven by anger then you will lose your audience. However, you can easily engage your audience by delivering the information in a professional manner. People will take the time to listen if you are passionate, well informed, and driven to make changes.
Remember that change can scare people. It can make them uncomfortable, so be understanding and calm as you announce your platform for change. A bit of discomfort is fine but don’t overdo it. When people feel attacked, they shut down and resort to ignorance. In order to facilitate change, you need to create a feeling of uneasiness about the current situation.This bit of discomfort will allow people to acknowledge the cause, address the situation, and decide whether or not to join the cause.
7. Stay focused as a young changemaker
You may feel like you’re getting know where, but every day you spend researching, reaching out to people, and making plans to create change is one day closer than you were before.
Make small goals, so you don’t get lost in limbo. These small milestones will give you and your group something to celebrate about as you work towards the change you all want to see.
8. Be open to support
It’s okay to need help because it’s a part of life. Being an adult is knowing when you need to ask for help.
9. Be open to suggestions
People may have differing opinions, listen to their suggestions and make any necessary changes. They may have an idea that can help you further your cause and get closer to the change you want to see.
10. Know your goals
When you want to make changes, you need to be determined. In order to be resilient enough to see that changes are made, you need to have a goal to focus on. You need to create goals that are based on your passion for the cause and the need for change. Goals will keep you focused and stop you from giving up when obstacles start occurring. At the end of the day, goals will be the reason that you get to see the change you wanted to make.
Being a changemaker doesn’t mean you took the world by storm and you’re the next Nobel Peace Prize Recipient. A changemaker is someone who saw an injustice and worked to fix it. The change may be a community, local, or regional issue. But with your persistence and passion to see that changes are made, you become a changemaker, a hero for your hometown.
Success is not changing the world overnight it’s making a difference in someone’s life, a community, or a region. Don’t lose sight of your goal amongst the chaos. Remember that small changes add up to make a big difference.