Charity on a budget: How teenagers can give back to the community

Illustration by Athena Heckman

Giving back is an important way to have an impact on ones community. Corporations and people all over the world are creating a better place to live through their actions.

Often, when people think of giving back, they think of big things like the Ronald McDonald House or the Roosevelt Coffee House. For some people, however, including students and teens at the highschool, making an impact that large isn’t feasible.

As high schoolers, we only have so much: so much money, so much freedom, so much opportunity. We can’t always do the big things like starting a nonprofit or feeding an entire family.

While we can’t always give back in the most grandiose ways, we can always give back with the way we treat people, being kind and paying it forward with a smile. We, as the Courier staff, believe that is the best and most overlooked way to give back.

While kindness doesn’t seem like the most necessary way to give back, it can still make a difference. A quote from Mother Teresa reads “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

On our school campus there can be great amounts of negativity swirling around and understandably. Everyone is forced to wake up early to their blaring alarms and spend the day in a fluorescent lit building.

All that negativity can be wiped clean by asking the neighboring person in class how their day is going. Or inviting the kid sitting alone at lunch to sit with you and your friends. Simply showing people that someone cares can make their entire day.

Another obstacle standing in our way as highschoolers is the ability to take time out of our busy lives to give back. Most students at our school have sports, clubs and homework to keep them busy every night.

It can sometimes be difficult to find the time to volunteer, but that doesn’t have to stop one from giving back. Showing people kindness takes almost no time and doesn’t have to be planned in advance. Simple ways to pay it forward are to give up your seat for someone or give someone a genuine compliment, according to

Of course, all of these reasons to give back through kindness should not be reasons to not give back in more tangible ways. If one has the time or ability (or kindness just isn’t their thing) volunteer work and donations are great ways to impact the community.

In the end it doesn’t really matter how one gives back. Whether it be starting their own non-profit or holding the elevator for a stranger, every action makes a difference and every action can lead to a better world.


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