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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 16 2012: Hi Grace,

    I am seventeen years old, and I am in a very similar situation right now. I'm finishing highschool this year and I have to decide what I want to study at college. When I started to think what I want to do in my life I realized that I want to do something that makes the world better. So I looked for a career that can give me what I wanted. But then, I understood that there is not such career and waht's more, I didn't need something lke that. I think that I just need to learn more about people and I will do so being with people. So I decided to start doing things for other people, like helping younger students with maths, geography and hystory, for example. And I've learned a lot of things with them and I think they have learned too. So that's the piece of advice I can give you: Help other people with something you're good, and you will learn lots of things that will inspire you to do more and more other things that will make the world better.

    I hope this helped a little.

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