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Use Your Difference to Make a Difference

Can you imagine a world where the youth have a voice and actually do something about solving the world’s problems and bridge gaps as educators, diplomats and travel enthusiasts? That’s a world I imagine everyday and that’s what gave birth to my mission statement which is "use your difference to make a difference." I don’t subscribe to the status quo that says one should go about things in a conventional manner or that there's only one path to success.

You see I grew up in four different continents and five different countries and it became evident to me that the world is so much bigger than we realize and that there is so much learning that people need to do. I also found that a lot of people are afraid of change or what they don't know and thus subscribe to the archaic mindset that states that one way of thinking is the ONLY and BEST way to live.

To disrupt this mindset I launched www.uydmag.com, a multi media platform that features all sorts of content every day showing people all over the world using their difference to make a difference or a unique perspective about what culture is like indifferent parts of the world. It’s all about thinking differently, it’s all about understanding what makes us different and applying that for good. 

It’s all about using our DIFFERENCE to make a DIFFERENCE.

Mark Up Your World

Emily Lundberg. If that name seems familiar it is because she used to be an intern here at Volunteen Nation. Now she is creating her own website, Contemporary Success. 

Emily has grown up working hard for everything she has. This includes three internships under belt, top notch grades, and the upcoming website. Through all of it, she couldn’t seem to find a resource that’s focus was to help young adults. When asking how to build/make a resume, what the difference is between business casual and business professional dress is, or which career path she wanted to look into, all of the resources were for people older and who already had experience. No one talked about how to start leaving a foot print on career world. Thus, Contemporary Success was born.

“Contemporary Success is a career development website that is meant as both a voice and a resource for young professionals of all fields and interests,” Emily said. “It is for high school students and young adults who are just figuring out what career path is right for them and how to accomplish their goals.” 

Emily believes that being able to help young adults is specifically important as they are our country’s future. She also believes that it is important for people to volunteer and intern as these give young adults the experience they need to start creating their resumes. 

“There are so many options out there that everyone is able to find something that works for them,” Emily said. “My advice for those who think that there are no opportunities to do what their interested in is to just approach businesses and organizations and ask. You'd be surprised what doors may open up.” 

Some open doors to look into, include the doors at Contemporary Success. The website is there as a platform for young adults to not only use as a resource, but to also voice their needs and opinions. There are two main ways to do this. The first is to go through Contemporary Success’s writing internship. They are working on a program to let young writers get published so that they can express the problems and solutions they have had in their experience. There is also the fact that any young adult who has a great internship idea for Contemporary Success or the website can email Emily to help create a personalized internship. All of this adds to the already prevalent young adult voice. 

As for the future of Contemporary Success it is always evolving. 

“My hope is that we'll publish enough content to truly become a one-stop career development and professional site for young adults,” Emily said. “I’d also like Contemporary Success to serve as a platform for young entrepreneurs, to develop more interactive programs and internships that will add deeper value to our audience which I'd like to grow considerably, and to highlight more the achievements made by young adults.” 

Contemporary Success will start checking off some of these goals by creating an online web series highlighting entrepreneurship endeavors started by young adults. 

If you would like to know more about Emily or Contemporary Success visit the website. You can also email Emily at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions about potential internships. Check it out and start making your impact on the world today. 

The Servie Challenge

The popularity of the selfie is phenominal.  Selfies are the most well recognized trend among social media users, but they paint an incomplete picture of their subjects.

The Servie Challenge launched by VolunTEEN Nation Ambassador Kate Parchman is designed to allow social media users to show a more complete picture of themselves.  Servies are images of individuals/groups engaging in acts of service to others and posted on social media sites with the #serviechallenge.

Servies do the following:

1. Serives show a more complete picture of an individual, going beyond physical appearance to highlight interests, talents, character and dedication.

2. Servies share ideas for service opportunities. Many willing individuals wish to serve but do not know what groups or organizations are in need of assistance.  Also, first time volunteers may wish to share the experience with a friend, and servies can help volunteers to connect and coordinate efforts, leading to an increase in volunteer support for the organization and a more fulfilling experience for the volunteers.

3. Servies raise awareness, highlighting issues, needs and solutions to problems in our local communities and around the world.

4. Servies inspire others and impact communities:  Servies show needs being met, lives being improved and communities changing for the better.

5. The Servie Challenge is a great way to show, share and increase your impact on the world.   What you need to do for the Servie Challenge is post servies  to your profiles and then challenge other social media users to do the same.  Servies can change the world, but you have to take the first step. 

Post your servies with #serviechallenge.

Teens Taking Action

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead. This thought really struck home for two sophomores who had a passion for volunteering in their community. In the spring of 2013, Morgan and Rachael started a service club called Teens Taking Action at their high school in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The club is focused on counteracting poverty in the Twin Cities through volunteer work at local organizations. 

They wanted to give students an opportunity to volunteer more regularly in order to spread volunteerism in their community. Members of the service club choose to volunteer at organizations and causes they are passionate about. The service club as four main issues they take action against: hunger, homelessness, lack of necessities and aiding in healthy community relations, in order to counteract poverty. 

The club meets every month during the school year and strives to complete at least two volunteering projects each month. What began as a small group of 15 friends has grown to more than 50 members. The club even completes volunteer projects during the summer. Some examples of organizations they have volunteered with include Second Harvest Heartland, HandsOn Twin Cities, The Sandwich Project, ICA Food Shelf, Salvation Army, and Caring for Cambodia, Cheerful Givers, The Humane Society, Operation Gratitude and Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly. 

However, the club’s biggest accomplishment was receiving a grant from the organization Katie’s Krops to start their very own vegetable garden, where all the vegetables harvested would be donated to their local ICA food shelf. Over 170 applicants applied for Katie’s Krops 2014 Grant Cycle and Teens Taking Action was one of the 31 grantees to receive funding. Teens Taking Action also received donations of seeds and plants from a local greenhouse and their city also donated a 20 X 20 plot for them to grow on. They began planting in mid May and the garden has been flourishing since. Each week this summer the garden switches hands from various members. Two to three members will take care of the garden for a week. Responsibilities for managing the garden include weeding, watering, and if there is produce, delivering it to ICA Food Shelf. 

Morgan and Rachael, the founders of Teens Taking Action, are so thankful for the wonderful support from their members, as well as the support from their club advisor, community, and Katie’s Krops. 

Interested in learning more about Teens Taking Action’s service projects follow them on Twitter @TTA_MHS.

Teens Teach Tech

Without an ocean, land-locked in the Midwest, teen volunteers in St. Louis help seniors dive in and learn how to surf the internet, use smartphones, digital cameras, grasp social media, and access Skype. The idea to offer free basic tech training to senior citizens was ignited when my own grandparents struggled with their mobile phones and learning how navigate the Internet. I realized that youth could fulfill a critical and valuable role helping senior citizens adapt to technology. Teen volunteers could provide both individualized and group workshops on the basics of using mobile phones, digital cameras, social media and Skype.

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