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United Way Blog

3 Ways Young People Are Changing the World

More than 80 Student United Ways in six countries are finding ways to create better educated, more financially stable, healthier communities.

These students are changing the world. Here's how:

  1. They are addressing bullying in schools: After recognizing that bullying and behavior were critical issues impacting their school systems, the Student United Way of Wilmington University (New Castle, DE) worked with their Deputy Attorney General to put together a series of interactive skits called "Education through Peace" promoting anti-bullying and good behavior. Months later, the pledge they created still hangs throughout the school’s classrooms and is still being used to create a better environment in the school. 
  2. They are meeting basic needs: The Student United Way of Palm Beach State College (Palm Beach, FL) holds an annual campus-wide food drive, but they don't leave it there. They created an on-campus food pantry and collect food and toiletries on a continuous basis for their large population of students experiencing homelessness. 
  3. They are creating sustainable impact: The Student United Way in Panama City, Panama is creating systemic, sustainable change through building a chicken coop for a school, training families to raise and sell chickens, and creating a strategy that empowers families to simultaneously maintain a constant source of protein in their diets and generate income. 

Student United Ways are making waves individually, and together their impact is even greater. When 87 change-makers from 27 high schools and universities gathered for the Student United Way Leadership Retreat Sept. 11-13, something special happened. 

Yes, they gathered for idea-sharing and workshops on digital organizing, redefining community, and diversity. They heard each other’s stories, such as those of the Student United Ways at Wilmington University, Palm Beach State College, and Panama City, each of whom won Student United Way awards for their work in their communities.

But more importantly, they shared their deepest dreams, took inspiration from other Student United Ways and took their learnings home. 

Our future is in pretty good hands. 

During the retreat, students dreamed big. They wrote down their dreams, then browsed the dream walls to add notes of encouragement or advice to help others make their dreams come true.

Looking to get involved? Email student@unitedway.org. Take a look at highlights from the 2015 Student United Way Leadership Retreat below or on Storify.com.

You can click to stream the following retreat sessions: Opening Session, Get to Know Your New Board, Tell Your United Way Story, Online Presence, Redefining Community, Diversity Matters, Building Relationships to Build Your Career, Take Your Student United Way From 0 to 100 Real Quick, "Make-A-Difference" Reinvented, and The Causes We Care About: Panel Discussion.

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From your backyard to the world-at-large, Student United Way is improving lives and strengthening communities.

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