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Teen-2-Teen: January 2019

by Amelie Johnson

Amelie Johnson, teen writer for North Dakota Living magazine
Amelie Johnson

Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” No matter how young you are, you can make a difference in someone’s life by what you give, whether it’s time, money or gifts. Community involvement is important as we are able to help others with the blessings we have.

A few years ago, after noticing that many students suffered from lack of adequate clothing, a boy my age started a clothing drive to distribute clothing to the public schools in Bismarck. This boy, now a teenager, is making a huge difference in the lives of students, living proof that young people can impact the lives of those around them.

Another way to help is by donating money to the public schools. Many public schools feed students who cannot afford food, but the school system incurs expenses because of the students’ debts. Holding a bake sale or other fundraiser and donating the money to reduce the debt to the school system is an enormous help and will impact the lives of those students for the better.

Annually, my youth group serves children who are cared for by Charles Hall Youth Services in Bismarck, which is an organization that cares for children who do not have a safe home in which to live. We create cozy tie blankets for the children, and even though we do not know the names of these children, we know that having a warm, soft blanket is a comfort to them.

These are only a few of the many ways you can be involved in your community. You can collect food for food pantries, serve at a soup kitchen, volunteer at a nursing home, or serve at your local church. Additionally, you can help others in simple but meaningful ways by babysitting free of charge for a family in need, baking treats for neighbors, assisting neighbors with yard work or giving a friendly smile.

Teenagers who desire to make a difference can accomplish amazing things; I have seen it happen. Being involved in your community could impact someone’s life in great ways, even if it’s something as simple as raking leaves.

Amelie Johnson, 15, is a home-educated freshman involved in Classical Conversations and youth group. She enjoys reading, writing, singing and spending time with friends and family. Amelie is the daughter of Ethan and Heidi Johnson, who are members of Capital Electric Cooperative.