Friday 5: Teen Activist and Entrepreneurs Making a Difference

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Since the Martin Luther King holiday, we’ve been thinking about the importance of service in our country — not just on the MLK Day of Service, but every day. We’ve been thrilled to think about how many teens we’ve met recently who are already using their own unique talents to make a difference in their communities — and in the world. Here are five amazing girls we’ve recently profiled on Like a Boss. We’re sure you will find them as inspiring as we do!

ONE: Crusading for Internet Safety: When she was just 15, Cati founded her organization Cati Cares as a way to reach out to other teens about internet safety and how teens can join together to stop cyberbullying. Through her organization, Cati offers advice, a safe haven, and tips to stay safe and stop the vicious trend of cyberbullying. Cati believes that “When we stand together, we can change the world.” Read more of her story here.

TWO: Using Music to Change Lives: During Leora Friedman’s sophomore year, she and her sister  volunteered at the Hackerman-Patz House, a residential house in Baltimore for children undergoing limb-lengthening surgeries and therapies. “That summer, we performed for the patients and wrote and recorded original songs for them – each patient received a specific song written in their honor to inspire them to face their challenges with strength,” she said. “We called the program Music is Medicine.” See how her amazing organization works.

THREE: Organizing More Than Clothing Drives: When Krissi Fajgenbaumin  (pictured here) was only a sophomore in high school, she started her own charity, Teens 2 Teens, which provides fashionable gently used clothes to needy high school students — for free. Since 2009, her non-profit has helped collect more than 30,000 items, from dresses to shoes and bags.  The clothes are now distributed at high schools in two impoverished North Carolina counties, where teens can shop in a boutique-like setting at a Krissi’s Kloset. Find out how she did it here.

FOUR: Connecting With Stressed Students: When you’re feeling stressed or depressed, it can be good to talk your troubles out. But sometimes admitting problems to friends and family can be sort of embarrassing. That’s why we think Student SPILL is such a good idea. This website – founded in 2009 by then-college junior Heidi Allstop – lets stressed students anonymously write in with their roommates, boyfriends, or school problems and more. And they’re guaranteed to get responses from four to six trained peer volunteers within 24 hours. Student Spill is currently operating at more than 18 campuses, and Allstop says she is beginning to focus on community colleges. Watch a video about the program here.

FIVE: Making a Global Impact: Impuwe Richard’s Rwanda was founded in 2006 when Jessica Markowitz, and a group of fellow seventh-grade students from Seattle Girls’ School raised money to support low-income girls in rural Rwanda, affording them the chance to complete their education. “I’d seen poverty before, but it was amazing to see these girls and realize how much we were helping them by doing little bake sales. So I came back wanting to do more,” she tells Like a Boss. Read more of her interview here.

Let’s keep this list growing! What young activists inspire you? Or, tell us what service work you are doing to make your community — or the world! — a better place for everyone.

 

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