In the current political and social climate, afterschool professionals can help kids understand current events in developmentally appropriate ways. Use the following five tips to help your students create meaningful change:

  1. Be informed. Encourage students to research, study and critique thought-provoking and relevant issues, such as history, politics and religion. Help them to think critically and provide their points of view.
  2. Engage. Make the case for active citizenship. Challenge students to take responsibility and initiative in order to bring about change in their community and nationwide. 
  3. Be present. Help students find age-appropriate ways to help others, like writing a letter to their local political official or raising money for a community in need.
  4. Show empathy. Reinforce understanding, compassion and kindness by identifying the differences and commonalities between races, religions and other cultures. As a result, students will be more inclined to act on issues that may not directly impact them. 
  5. Be inspired. Share powerful stories of kids taking action in order to change the world, like 7-year-old Isiah Britt who raised $10,000 to buy hand sanitizer so students in Flint, MI, can safely clean their hands. Also, check out What Do You Stand For? For Kids to further empower students to effect change.

Kids are more informed than ever before.  Use these tips to encourage your students to be more than bystanders and to take action during critical times of need.