There’s a whole lot of talking going on these days. Talk about women’s rights, talk about illegal immigrants, talk about gun violence. Talk, talk, talk. Oh, and some marching.

If people really want to change the world, or even one issue in the world, they need to talk less. Instead of writing guest editorials, being interviewed, spouting off on Facebook, and marching all over the country, concerned citizens need to take real action. Get involved with the issues you hold close to your heart by volunteering for, or donating money to, the organizations that are really helping. Take the responsibility away from the government, where it doesn’t belong anyway, and put it with the people. Raise awareness through participation.

If women’s rights are your passion, take time to volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center or teach an awareness class for teens at the local community center. Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, giving girls and women education before they get pregnant could change the whole discussion.

If you have concern about gang violence, serve as a mentor for youth or help with after-school programs. Help keep inner city kids in school by volunteering in the school district, providing resources for teachers and students, and contributing to the build-up of community resources. Develop a community program to keep teens occupied after school and on weekends while parents are at work.

Another key area in need of real action is in the schools. Parents want the best education for their children, but there is a shortage in qualified teachers, especially in low-income areas. Teachers are grossly underpaid and many lose the desire to teach after facing growing classrooms, low parent support, and decreased student respect. However, these schools and the students in them need the most help. Volunteer as a teacher’s aide, support the parent-teacher organizations, spearhead school beautification projects, and donate funds for new technology, books, and supplies. Lift up the next generation to be educated, thoughtful, and responsible and we will see our future grow stronger.

None of these initiatives need to be taken on alone. Make volunteering a social event. Gather neighbors, co-workers, church members, family, or friends and work together to make a difference. Approach the human resources department at work to see about starting a charity fund(s) and see if the company will match what is raised. In lieu of the token gift card at Christmas, perhaps a suggestion to the bosses to let the employees choose between a few charities instead would be appreciated. Teach your kids while their young to be considerate and help others. Things like food drives, winter clothing collections, and serving at a food distribution site can all be done in groups and will all go much further than unproductive talk.

If you aren’t able to commit time or money, at least stop spreading negativity, and write or say something positive about a local organization helping your community so that others will volunteer or donate.

There are so many charitable organizations actively working to help the same populations all these people keep talking about. They need help. Not through talk, but through action. Most charitable organizations are desperate for volunteers, even if you can only give a few hours a week. It just takes a little research to find the right charities and to ensure that they are qualified and ethical (this part is very important). Once you find the charities that fit your goals, volunteer, donate, and watch the world change.

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