How Young People are Creating BIG Change from Home

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Right now, people around the world are struggling with the COVID-19 crisis in so many ways and it may seem hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. But for us at Roots & Shoots, we are inspired every day by the young people continuing to enact change in their community, no matter the obstacles. They give us hope for the future and most of all provide a model for how each of us can make a difference every single day, even from home!

There’s nothing more important than coming together as a community in times of crisis, and luckily, our Roots & Shoots members are doing just that. Thanks to them, we know that there are still so many ways to make change and look after our neighbors and communities near and far while practicing #socialdistancing. With many public schools closed through this school year, we thought we’d share a few great examples of youth-led projects that are quarantine friendly and still make a big impact.

Get ready to get inspired and take action!

The Homework Brigade

For many students, switching to homeschooling and virtual learning can be a serious challenge (many individuals don’t even have access to computers) and change of pace. The Homework Brigade, a Roots & Shoots project started in Morganville, New Jersey, is helping students struggling to keep up with school from home. The objective is to pair students with a high school volunteer to virtually tutor them in specific subject areas. This project was created in response to the COVID-19 to assist both students and parents navigating online schooling. It is easy for high school students to replicate from home and is helping students across the community and beyond!

Environmental Justice Virtual Field Trips

Transitioning to learning from home means less time in the classroom, but it doesn’t have to mean less time learning through experiences and taking action! Environmental Justice Virtual Field Trips, based out of Vancouver, WA, aims to increase access to cross-cultural learning opportunities for high school and college students with the help of technology. This project invites students and classrooms from around the world to participate in 30-60 minutes virtual field trips hosted on video conferences. These field trips also feature guest speakers from nonprofits, grassroots organizations, and sustainable companies, aiming to bring under-resourced communities into the global environmental justice conversation. This project ultimately gives you the access to leaders and thinkers across environmentalism which can help you be the best changemaker around!

Learning Unleashed

Based in New Jersey, Learning Unleashed grows Roots & Shoots Compassionate Traits like empathy and inspiring your peers through ‘hands-on’ skills developed while supporting shelter animals. Young people just like you can create blankets and adoption bandanas for shelter animals in need across the country. This project is accessible, affordable, easy to do from home, and sends much needed comfort to pets waiting in shelters.

A Community of Hope

Roots & Shoots National Youth Leader Abby Abrahamson created this project, which is a social media account @acommunityofhope, to spread compassion and hope! The account will share good news stories emerging from the pandemic that highlight acts of humanity. It will also share activities that promote relaxation and anxiety relief, as well as quotes and passages about hope. The account will highligh the potential positive sides of being at home (more time in nature [if accessible], with family, etc.). And perhaps most important of all, it will provide a safe space for community members to interact and share how they are feeling during the pandemic.

Adaptability and resilience are two core Compassionate Traits of Roots & Shoots. We’re so proud to witness how young people are adapting and demonstrating resilience by leading efforts to help others despite serious challenges. Want to get started on your own project to help in your community?


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The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring people to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Everything is connected—everyone can make a difference.

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About Author

Victoria Vinall is the Roots & Shoots communications coordinator. Victoria grew up in Fairfax, Virginia, and previously worked as a media manager for NextGen America (a youth vote organization) in Pennsylvania and as a press secretary for Tom Steyer and his philanthropies in San Francisco. Victoria is a graduate of Dickinson College and loves volunteering on campaigns and fostering shelter animals. She is based in the DC area.