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Junior State of America

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How can today's youth get involved and help initiate change in the world?

I am sixteen years old. It is 7AM here in Seattle, and I have not slept all night because I have been watching all of these TED videos. This is one of the most invigorating and inspiring websites I have ever had the fortune of stumbling upon.

As a young citizen, I am constantly trying to determine what role I want to play in my community, my country, and ultimately the world. The trouble is that I don't really know myself. I don't really know what I'm passionate about. I go back and forth between an inspired, i-can-do-anything mentality and a state of complete and utter despair because I have no idea what to do with myself.

TED videos remind me of my desire to initiate change. They encourage me to find what it is that I'm passionate about and to commit myself to the cause, yet it seems like they give us youth very few resources to experiment, discover, and participate in a way that has any significant effects.

What I'm seeking isn't vague, unhelpful (though well-intentioned) encouragement saying, "Don't give up! You can do it!"-type things. What are some specific ways I can get involved? (Ex: Names of some nonprofit organizations I can volunteer/intern at?)

*Edit: I know that, ultimately, I have to find out for myself what I'm passionate about. Perhaps I should be asking for you to share some of your experiences in which you discovered your passion(s).

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    Jan 15 2012: Hi Grace,

    I am a 21 yr old boy, studying engineering. Even I want to do something of that sort, because personally I believe that we youth have the potential. For days I wondered about the right way. I am presently studying, so generally anyone elder around asks me to focus upon studies. I know that they are not wrong because that should be my first priority.
    That's why for many days i kept waiting for the right time to come. I kept thinking that once I start earning and be off my studies then I would look towards such things. I expected then, to find some organisation to like some NGO. In effect I was just putting everything in terms of money. Like the only solution to this problem was the availability of money.
    One fine day i realised that then I may have money but I will have more responsibilities too. Now, even if i don't have money I have an important resource that's time. So I just started looking around myself for things that need to be improved. Or the the things that are lacking presently. I am studying engineering, and we have different entrance exams to opt for courses of post graduation. This is the world of technology. i realised that there is one exam that doesn't have any sort resource for the students. In college we used to complain that we don't have proper guidance for this exam. The college doesn't support us. But what am I doing for it? nothing. So I thought of creating database of questions that can be used by my juniors to prepare for this exam. Its actually a tedious job since it requires feeding of lots of data. I then put up this idea in front of few friends who liked this idea but were reluctant. I convinced them for it. Now we have a small group that has started the work and are slowly moving in the right direction.
    We intend to give this software to our college for free. This requires no monetary investment. Just our time which we were previously wasting. so i suggest look around you n u will find ur inspiration.

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