(ARA) - Every teenager looks forward to the lazy days of summer. But don't underestimate the power of today's youth - a growing number want to do something to make a difference. A simple idea paired with desire and drive is all teens need in order to help others.
If you're a parent, it's smart to encourage your teen to get involved in the community. It makes you both feel good and can be a wonderful learning opportunity. The first step is to find an idea that inspires you both and can make the most of your teen's downtime during the summer.
For example, each summer Staples and DoSomething.org team up for a national school supply drive, seeking help from teens across the country. Since 2008, the campaign has raised more than $2 million for local kids in need. Both teens and parents can participate by collecting and donating school supplies such as pens, pencils and notebooks and dropping them off at collection sites in Staples stores nationwide or making a donation at the register to help students start the year off right.
This year, Staples for Students is joining forces with teen actress and singer Bella Thorne to get the word out for this great cause. "There are so many kids in America who return to school without basic school supplies, and I'm thrilled to team up with Staples and DoSomething.org to encourage teens to lend a hand," says Thorne about the campaign.
Once your child is committed to the cause, it's time to put your plan in motion. Remember, even small gestures can make a big difference for those in need. Whether you are collecting school supplies for Staples for Students, canned goods for the local food shelf or clothing for homeless folks in your community, here are some fun ideas to get your efforts started.
1. Host a movie night this summer and invite friends and family. Admission is a spiral notebook or canned good, depending on the type of drive you've chosen.
2. If you are attending summer camp, ask the counselor if you can set up a bin and hand out fliers to fellow campers about your drive. Have people place donations in the bin.
3. Be a beach bum with a cause and gather your friends for a beach-themed party. Have each guest bring an item to donate as admission. Provide food, music, fun decor and summer games for guests to enjoy.
4. Chat it up on social media. It's no secret teens love Facebook and other online outlets. Talk about your cause and goals often, and watch as others step up to help with donations and posts to help spread your message.
Helping others is a great, proactive way for teens to spend the lazy days of summer and feel good about what they've achieved within their community. When everyone lends a hand and works together, great things can be accomplished.