While it might seem like we’re at a point in time where readily available education can be fully utilized by youth around the world, things aren’t always as they seem. Despite what I used to think, even affluent children can be at risk. It just goes to show that tough times are more common than they may appear on the surface. Affluent children have easier access to support and resources they need, where unprivileged children may never find themselves in that position. These children need special kinds of support, and if you’re willing, you can be the one to give it to them.
Become a Tutor
Underprivileged at-risk kids often aren’t getting the educational support they need within the school system. By becoming a tutor, you’ll be able to provide instruction outside of school. It’s not enough to be a run-of-the-mill tutor. A lot of these underprivileged children need a lot more help than their peers to see the same results. Patience is the key, and you’re going to need to be able to spend a lot more time with your students.
Become a Support Worker
I’ve found that one of the best ways to help underprivileged or at risk kids succeed in virtually anything is through involvement in community services. Not everyone is cut out for becoming a youth support or family services worker – these people often find themselves dealing with heartbreaking situations, but it’s their desire to help the most vulnerable members of their community overcome adversity that keeps them working their hardest in times of stress. The best part is when you get to see the difference you’ve made in their lives.
Become Politically Active
Many of these students live in areas heavily affected by low socioeconomic status. This means that their educational institutions are drastically under-funded, and many of the resources they desperately need cannot be made available to them. Getting them what they need often requires some sort of political or governmental process. Becoming involved in grassroots politics will help you advance the agenda that these children need advanced – that education is fundamentally important, and the quality of that education matters.
Volunteer in Education
If you can’t become a teacher and you aren’t qualified to tutor, there’s no reason you can’t volunteer. Even if you come to visit students to explain your trade or how you found your job, they’ll be learning valuable life skills. Schools need volunteers for a variety of reasons. All you need to do is call your local school and ask them if they have a program for mentorship with at-risk youth. There may even be opportunities for youths to volunteer with other youths. It takes a village to raise a child, and you can be the villager that makes a difference.
Listen, Be There, and Advise
If you personally know an
underprivileged or at risk youth in your community, reach out. The
world is carried by the kindness of strangers. Spending a few dollars
on school supplies or half an hour of your time helping with homework
counts. If the student is in a dangerous situation, you can direct
them to the help that they need.
Whether you’re helping formally or informally isn’t what’s important – what’s important is that you’re helping at all. Any hand you lend in any capacity is a hand that’s lifting up the youth who will one day run the world.
What do you think? Have you ever helped a student in need? What did you do? Share your thoughts and ideas with me and the rest of MUN users below :)