A Teenager’s Guide to Getting Involved in Social Justice

March 14, 2019

Recently we’ve seen young people such as 16-year-old Greta Thunburg and 18-year-olds Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg generating movements to solve climate change and put stricter gun laws in place in America. But where do you begin if you want to spark change within your community? There are plenty of ways you can do this, whether it be through your school or outside of school hours.

Outside of School

The Australian government already has several avenues for those who are interested in issues affecting young people. The Queensland Youth Parliament and the Queensland Youth Engagement Panel are just two examples of this.

The QYP is apolitical, open to anyone aged 15-25 and everything you need to know about parliament is taught to you when you get there. A place is offered for each of the 93 electorates in the state, and similar programs run in every state and territory.

The Queensland Youth Engagement Panel is similar in that anyone aged 16-25 can apply, the panel is able to share their ideas on government policies, programs and projects, and inform the government on the best ways to engage with young people.

There are also many charities and organisations that are easy to get involved with as a young person. Amnesty International, Save the Children, Reconciliation Australia, Animals Australia, World Vision and many others have specifically tailored youth branches and projects set up to be led by students in schools.

At School

If you want to participate in activities on a more local scale, there are several clubs and societies that are often already in place in schools. Amnesty or social justice clubs and student representative councils are a great way to volunteer your time fundraising and raising awareness for issues you’re passionate about. If there isn’t already a club like this in place at your school, try talking to your club coordinator on starting your own club with other students that are interested in social justice issues.

As young people are becoming more and more conscious of the problems that are facing and will face us in the future, it can seem overwhelmingly hard to make a difference. But no matter how small your actions feel, you’re joining with millions of other people helping to create a more just world for all of us, and that’s something to be very proud of.

“Young people, when informed and empowered, when they realise what they do truly makes a difference, can indeed change the world.”

– Jane Goodall.

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