What You Can Do
Do you ever feel like you want to make a difference but don’t know where to start? Well, we’re here to help! Watch our "5 Steps to Becoming an Activist" video and download our free YEA Camp Mini Activism Starter Guide to go with it.
In the meantime, here's our 5 step approach:
1. Choose an issue you're passionate about changing. At YEA Camp, we call this your IOI, or Issue of Importance.
2. Learn more about your cause. What exactly is happening? Get specific. Why should people care about this? Why doesn't everyone agree with you already? What can be done?
3. Find organizations working on that cause. Check out our list of favorites below. Review their website and follow them on social media. They are experts on your cause.
4. Take the actions they recommend, or that make sense to you. Look at their websites and social media for actions they want people to take. Whether it's ordering and passing out flyers, signing their petitions, making phone calls, boycotting a product, sharing a video, or another action they suggest, look to them to find out what is needed.
5. Keep going! Changing the world can take a while. All of our collective actions add up over time. Don't give up! You are awesome for caring so much!
Check out the great organizations below to become an expert on your issue and to get involved with their work on your IOI.
There are so many outstanding organizations doing important work to make a difference in our world. Below is a list of those we recommend for our campers, or anyone who wants to get involved with a particular cause, to get involved with.
Youth Empowerment Organizations
- Challenge Day Offers life-changing school assemblies to create peace and community.
- DoSomething.org Youth activism resources, ideas for action, and resources for school clubs
- Generation Waking Up: a global campaign to ignite a generation of young people to bring forth a thriving, just, sustainable world.
- Global Concerns Classroom: a global education program that raises awareness of international humanitarian issues through powerful curriculum and empowers youth to take meaningful action to address them.
- Green Play: Eco-friendly summer camp for 5 to 10 year olds.
- Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots: Powerful youth-driven network of members and member organizations taking action to improve the world.
- Love Is Louder: A movement to support anyone feeling mistreated, misunderstood or alone.
- Mobilize.org empowers and invests in young adults to create and implement solutions to social problems.
- Pollination Project: Provides $1,000 startup grants to individual change-makers (like you!) for projects that make the world a better place.
- To Write Love On Her Arms: presents hope for people struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury and thoughts of suicide while also investing directly into treatment and recovery.
- Youth for Environmental Sanity - YES!: helping visionary young leaders build a better world.
- YouthSpeaks Cultivating youth voices through spoken word poetry slams and workshops.
Animal Rights/Vegetarian Resources and Organizations
- Beagle Freedom Project: Rescues and advocates for beagles used in animal experimentation. Download theCrueltyCutter app to your phone.
- Best Friends Animal Sanctuary: Provides sanctuary for dogs who would otherwise not be adopted, and advocates for spay/neuter and adoption programs nationally.
- Compassion Over Killing: COK focuses on cruelty to animals in agriculture and promotes vegetarian eating.
- Farm Animal Rights Movement: Tours the country exposing the cruelty of livestock production.
- Farm Sanctuary is the largest sanctuary for farmed animals, with shelters in Upstate NY and northern California.
- Humane League: Advocacy organization for farmed animals with offices in many cities across the country.
- The Humane Society of the US’s Humane Teen website and action toolkit are amazing websites with tons of resources about how to help animals.
- Mercy For Animals: Preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies
- PETA2: PETA’s youth site enables you to make a difference for animals while also getting prizes, finding your favorite bands, and having fun.
- Vegan Outreach: Information and free leaflets about factory farming and veg eating.
Environmental Resources and Organizations
- Alliance for Climate Education: Provides free multimedia assemblies about climate change to high schools.
- Brower Youth Awards: the premier awards honoring bold young environmental leaders.
- Citizens Climate Lobby: An organization made up of many local chapters building political will for a real solution to climate change.
- Climate Reality Project: Al Gore’s organization trains leaders to advocate for action on climate change.
- EarthTeam’s Green News: Read and contribute to this great youth-run, Bay Area-based environmental e-mag.
- Greenpeace: One of the world’s largest environmental advocacy organizations
- Green For All: Works to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty
- Kids vs. Global Warming: Empowering Youth to Lead the Green Generation. Founded by Alec Loorz, who started iMatter (see below).
- iMatter Movement Youth movement to solve the climate crisis.
- Green My Parents Youth movement to seed the green economy & save the planet.
- Rainforest Action Network: Campaigns for the forests, their inhabitants and the natural systems that sustain life by transforming the global marketplace through education, grassroots organizing and non-violent direct action.
- Story of Stuff is a great video and resource addressing the environmental and social impact of our consumption.
- Sunrise Movement is a youth-led movement to stop climate change through political organizing.
- 350.org building a global climate movement to advocate for political action on climate change
LGBTQIA+ Resources and Organizations
- Advocates for Youth: Helps young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.
- Gay Straight Alliance Network: Resources for starting a gay-straight alliance at your school.
- GLAAD: Creates campaigns to influence media to build support for LGBT equality.
- Human Rights Campaign: Largest national organization advocating for LGBTQ rights with a campus and youth organizing branch.
- NoH8: a photographic silent protest in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8 that outlawed gay marriage in CA. Photos feature subjects with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing their voices being silenced by Prop 8 and similar legislation around the world, with “NOH8″ painted on one cheek in protest.
- Pride Foundation: Supporting LGBTQ youth through the Queer Youth Initiative.
- Trevor Project: Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth. Call the hotline 866-488-7386 if you need, staffed 24/7.
Human Rights and Racial Justice Organizations
- Amnesty International: International human rights organization advocating for political prisoners.
- #BlackLivesMatter: Organizing to address police brutality and racial injustice.
- Campaign Zero is working to end police violence in the US.
- CodePink: Women’s organization advocating for peace and demilitarization.
- Color of Change: working for racial justice, including addressing political issues, police brutality, mass incarceration, and more.
- Dream Corps: Working to address mass incarceration through its Cut 50 program, job training for communities of color through Yes We Code, promote environmental justice through Green For All, and push for truly democratic conversations and organizing through its Love Army program.
- Ella Baker Center: launches people-powered campaigns that take on racial and economic injustice.
- Everytown for Gun Safety: A movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.
- Food Empowerment Project seeks to create a more just and sustainable world by recognizing the power of one’s food choices.
- Global Exchange San Francisco-based org focused on fair-trade, peace, a green economy, and human rights.
- Real Justice works to end mass incarceration and bring accountability for police brutality by helping to elect progressive district attorneys throughout the country.
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) is a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice.
- Urban Peace Movement is training young leaders and creating a shift in urban youth culture away from violence and fear and toward hope and empowerment.
- United We Dream: working to fix America’s broken immigration system, giving undocumented youth and their families the chance to earn their citizenship.
Politics and Government Resources and Organizations
- The Bus Project Working on voter education and Get-out-the-vote efforts. The Bus Project also trains youth activists working on political issues and candidates.
- Indivisible is a strategic political resource guide and movement of community groups launched to oppose Trump's agenda.
- Movement Voter Project seeks to build political power through local organizing and voter registration.
- MoveOn.org Bringing Americans back to the political process.
- Rock the Vote Youth-based voter education and get-out-the-vote efforts.
- HeadCount focuses on voter registration by tapping into the music industry.
- Students First An organization using political will to help solve the education crisis.
- Sister District Helps people in progressive district have an impact on elections in swing districts.
- Swing Left Matches people with the nearest close race to them to help push for progressive electoral victories.
Poverty, Homelessness, and Hunger Resources and Organizations
- Fight for $15: Working to raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hour.
- Food Not Bombs: Community-based groups of people cook and serve food to the hungry in public areas. All food is vegan. Check to see if there's a group in your area!
- Food Shift: Develops long-term sustainable solutions to reduce food waste and build more resilient communities.
- Kiva: Micro-lending organization enabling people to lend small amounts of money to people in poor parts of the world
- National Coalition for the Homeless: working to prevent and end homelessness while ensuring the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness are met and their civil rights protected.
- A Well-Fed World: International hunger relief organization that promotes the benefits of sustainable, animal-free solutions in response to global food security, health, hunger, and environmental concerns.
Women and Girls Resources and Organizations
Embody Love Movement: Offers workshops and clubs to empower girls and women to adopt a positive body image, celebrate their inner beauty, commit to kindness, and contribute to meaningful change in the world.
Girl Effect: A global movement supporting adolescent girls education, health, and safety to end poverty.
Girls for a Change: A national organization that empowers girls to create social change.
Girls, Inc: Inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.
National Eating Disorder Awareness: Providing awareness and support for those with eating disorders.
Planned Parenthood: Health care provider offering low-cost family planning services and STD prevention.
Resources for Teachers
Hi teachers! We hope you'll join our Teacher Ambassador Network, spread the word about YEA Camp, nominate a camper, or even apply to work with us!
Check out these organizations we love!
- Facing History and Ourselves: Through curriculum and professional development resources about the Holocaust and past genocide, students connect history to current social issues.
- Institute for Humane Education: Pioneer in the field of humane education, with a wealth of lesson plans, workshops, and the only Master's Degree in Humane Education in the country.
- Mighty Girl: Collection of recommended books, movies, and toys that present empowering messages for girls.
- Radical Teacher: Peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to the theory and practice of teaching from a socialist, feminist, and anti-racist perspective.
- Rethinking Schools: A magazine and online resource for strengthening public education through social justice teaching and education activism.
- Teaching Against Trumpism: Fantastic updated resource created by Radical Teacher (above).
- Teaching For Change: Connects real-world social justice issues to curriculum teachers can bring into the classroom.
- TeachKind: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' humane education program for teachers.
- We Need Diverse Books: Resources for recommended books written by people of color.
- Zinn Education Project: A wealth of resources and lesson plans based on Howard Zinn's classic book A People's History of the United States.
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