Updated: Sep 2, 2022
"I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept." - Angela Davis
We’re living in a rapidly changing world and many of the changes happening in the world today have a great impact on us now - but, they’ll likely have an even greater impact on the future of this generation's youth. If people grow up passively observing the major changes around them, it is possible that they’ll come to feel powerless to influence the landscape of their future. This is why it is so beneficial to help young people find the inspiration and tools that they need to get involved in activism as youth. Planting the seeds of change in the minds of children and providing them with the support and resources to grow those seeds is one of the best ways to ensure that they’ll have a fighting chance at creating the future they deserve.
Activism is simply identifying an issue and doing something to improve the issue for a better outcome. This means that anyone can be an activist and age should not be a deterrent for standing up for a cause that resonates with you. Below I am providing you with 5 simple kid friendly activities that are perfect for children of any age.
* A Note to Adults - Before getting children involved in activism you should take time to start a dialogue with them to identify areas of interest or topics that they care about. Some topics could include rallying for healthier eating options in schools or communities, animal cruelty prevention, cooking education, and more. Once an area has been identified, the child can then choose the form of activism they would like to participate in.
1) Volunteer Opportunities
Some questions that you can pose to children include: “Do you find yourself often wanting to lend a helping hand? Do you get joy from providing a service and making someone's day?”
Volunteering is a great way to get involved and extend empathy to others. We all need help in some way shape or form, so volunteering is a simple way to lend assistance for a cause that you believe in. Here is a list of vegan related volunteer opportunity ideas:
Lunch On Me is a Los Angeles based non profit dedicated to ending starvation while providing opportunities to enrich the mind, body and spirit of LA's homeless community by providing nutritious and organic meals to skid row six days a week and providing initiatives which include yoga classes, community parties and healing gatherings for women. https://www.lunchonme.org
Feeding Families is a non profit on a mission to provide food and basic resource assistance to reduce food and resource insecurity. This is done by rescuing and redistributing to the food insecure and economically disadvantaged and focusing on whole well-being programs and services to increase equity and access. https://www.feedinggafamilies.org/
Vegan Meals That Heal is a 501c3 non profit in Atlanta that provides prepared vegan meals and basic essentials to those in need. https://www.instagram.com/veganmealsthatheal/
Chilis On Wheels is an organization that makes veganism accessible to communities in need through services such as meal shares, food demos, clothing drives, and mentorship. http://www.chilisonwheels.org/
Vegetable Farms or Animal Sanctuaries
Liberation Farms is an organization that provides new American farmers access to, and culturally-appropriate resources for, the means of sustainable food production for themselves, their families, and their communities. https://somalibantumaine.org/work-with-us/
Fiskys is a Wildlife and Primate Sanctuary in Woodstock, Maryland, US. http://www.friskys.org/
The Humane Society of the United States: A nonprofit organization on a mission to end the cruelest practices toward all animals, provide care for animals in crisis, and build a stronger animal protection movement. https://www.humanesociety.org/our-mission
Food Shopping/ Delivery
Consider elderly or disabled individuals who may need help. Children can assist with grocery shopping and delivery for family members or neighbors that may need extra assistance.
Teach Cooking or Health Classes
Think about senior homes, after school programs, community centers, or churches where the child can lead health education or cooking classes.
2) Wear Vegan Apparel or Make Signs
T-shirts with messages or signs are an easy way to communicate or amplify a particular message to others. When someone sees a catchy message or artwork on a shirt it will either evoke a discussion or encourage solidarity with other like minded individuals. Creating t-shirts, hats, signs, and buttons is also a great way to engage children's creativity. Visit your local craft stores and pick up supplies like puff paint, poster board, glitter, markers and other craft supplies that will get youth excited about creating and sharing impactful messages.
3) Host a Small Showing of a Movie or Documentary
Children can gather their family members, friends, or classmates and host a showing of a vegan documentary. This helps educate and inform others about a topic that they are interested in. After the showing they can set time aside to discuss the film. (Adults - please review the films prior to having the child view to confirm that the material is appropriate for your household.) Here are some film ideas:
10 and under
10 and over
Teagan the Vegan
The Invisible Vegan
They’re Trying to Kill Us
4: Fundraise or Donate - Money is a resource that is often needed to bring ideas to life. Many organization often have donation pages which is an easy way to help. You could even host a car wash, lemonade sale or a vegan bake sale and designate the profit to your organization of choice.
Afro-Vegan Society - https://www.afrovegansociety.org/get-involved
5: Encourage the child to do what they are already good at - Does your child like to bake? – They could start a YouTube page teaching others how to make vegan sweet treats. Maybe they like to make others laugh - They could write a vegan comic book or start a vegan podcast where they share vegan related jokes. Artist? They can draw pictures of the earth, animals, or food or they could write a poetry book about their journey to veganism.
The possibilities of becoming an activist are endless. Children can be as creative as possible when trying to decide the form of activism that excites them. If you're looking for inspiration here are four activists who started their plant based activism when they were children.
Omari Mcqueen - Omari started his activism journey at 8 years old when he began filming himself on YouTube making his own vegan food and sharing his creations with the world. He then went further to start his own company Dipalicious, a company which makes Vegan dips available with the aim to provide healthy snack foods to everyone no matter their dietary needs.
Haile Thomas - Haile started her activism at 12 years old after working with her family to reverse her dad's health condition without medication—through improving eating habits. From this experience she saw the power of food and how it can heal or harm us and she decided to delve more into educating herself about factory farming, food labeling, food
accessibility, and the childhood obesity epidemic. Following this influx of information she knew she had to share what she was learning with her peers and decided to start her nonprofit organization, The Happy Org, a youth-founded and led 501(c)(3) organization that promotes youth empowerment through holistic education and initiatives such as plant-based nutrition/culinary summer camps, school visits & tours.
Genesis Butler - Genesis began her activism at 6 years old by way of hosting speeches and discussions about environmental and animal rights. When she was 10 she was one of the youngest people to give a ted talk that explored the correlation between the environment and animal consumption and provided insight on how a simple choice can mean the difference between destroying or saving our planet. She is also the founder of Youth Climate Save, a youth-led organization with the purpose of addressing the link between animal agriculture and climate change.
Alina Cambell - Alina founded FoodPrint Edu while she was in college as a way to educate college students on how their diet has a part in determining their ecological footprint. Her goal was to educate about the current state of the agricultural sector, how it can contribute to climate change, and what we can do to help. Alina has always had a passion for the environment, human health, and how the two connect.
There are so many ways to encourage young people to get started on their activism journey.
These are just a few suggestions that I hope has inspired you and your child to get started on developing your own form of activism and sharing it with the world. If you’re looking for more resources to support children on their activism journey check out the following links: