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Middle Schoolers Share Advice for Changing the World

We had the opportunity to ask 5th grade students at PS 165 in Queens, NY about their thoughts regarding how to create positive change in the world. This group had been learning about changemakers, such as Jane Goodall and Malala Yousafzai, and organized several service projects at their school. We are so inspired by these passionate young activists and wanted to share their insight!

“Remember that what you do will make a change. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or what your social status is, etc. If you are passionate about an issue, informed about it, and you know that you want to help make a difference, then do it. Taking action can take many forms. Any skill, talent, or knowledge you have can be used to help you take action. For example, if you are an artist, turn your thoughts and ideas into an artistic piece. If you are someone who knows many different languages, you can translate information and help spread awareness in all different types of communities. If you know how to code, make a game that can help people be more aware of issues.”

Anni Li

“Do not be afraid to stand out for something you believe in and speak up.”

Daria Varana

“I think that the most important thing in taking action is to educate and inform oneself about the topics first. If someone doesn’t know much about what they’re trying to do, often it might be difficult to start taking action. After that, I believe that the most important thing you need to have is courage. It’s not always easy trying to speak up for issues that even some adults refuse to address sometimes, and it takes courage to make one’s voice heard, especially as a young person. However, I think that with courage and persistence, everyone’s actions together will take us one step closer to a better world.”

Jane Lim

“It’s extremely important that you love what you’re representing. Without the passion and effort, the end product looks like something thrown together in less than 8 minutes, which [it] probably was. Then the next step is to try to incorporate your talents into creating the project. Like how I did my art. I used my talent to create posters; that way you can represent what you are concerned for with more passion and make an even better campaign. Lastly, the next step is overcoming fears. I never had a fear of stepping up for what’s right. Someone bothering me or a situation bothering me? I get up and do something about it… Overcoming your fears comes in handy when you’re nervous of showing whatever you created for a cause. Like protesting on the streets, or posting on the media, and even [simply showing it to] friends. Worrying about the backlash isn’t going to help, just do it.”

Mabel Situ

“I would tell them that they should put up homemade signs, spread the word of a rally for whatever cause you’re rallying for, & make a debate & support your argument with good evidence of what’s happening, proving that it’s important, & proving that it’s really happening. I would use social media to spread [the] word & awareness to the situation. If you don’t have enough money to buy something to help you, then make it yourself, or simply use words & images. I, in my own opinion, would want proof visually & would suggest proof to the eyes.”

Kylie Hwang


“Always try your best to start small. It’s never good to start from the top because it will be very hard. So always start from the beginning and make your way up.”

Jaden Lim

“Advice I would give to young people who want to take action: be passionate, follow your dreams, and never give up. Don’t give up because of what people say. Do what you want to do. Be who you want to be. Don’t let anybody stand in your way. Don’t let anybody change your mind. Be passionate. Have high self-esteem and reach for the stars.”

Rayane Saoud

“You should use what you have and never give up, no matter what situation you are in or what state of life you’re living in.”

Sam Paquiz

“One piece of advice I would give is don’t put it off; if you do that, you are pretty much guaranteed to never get it done.”

Sujana Rajesh Kumar

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