I remember when I first heard the word non-profit.

I was around six years old and we were given a box to wear around our necks at Halloween to collect change while we trick-or-treated. Most people gave us pennies (when pennies were still around), or didn’t give change at all.

The second time I heard about non-profit was when I was eight. We were doing a pop tab drive, collecting the tabs to make wheelchairs for kids that could afford them and bikes for kids in third world countries.

As a kid it felt good to be part of something that was created social change in some way. Those pop tabs I collected or those pennies I was given would lead to helping someone I never knew and would likely never meet. On my own time I looked into what these programs were and what they did. I kept reading the word non-profit on their websites, alongside the list of their values, mission statements, and vision – but never did I learn about what they were from schools.

Later on in high school when we all think we are smarter than our teachers and we start realising the world isn’t this shiny, perfect place like our parents would have a believe my opinion changed about non-profits. For a short time – mostly from wanting to be liked among my peers – my opinion about non-profits were that all they wanted was money. They weren’t really helping people like they said they were. They are frauds. They are money hungry. They don’t do anything.

I now know – at 25 years of age – that my teenage self was stupid.

The world was not just black and white – that indeed there were these grey sections trying to tip the scale to better the lives of those in poverty, abuse, war. That there were people in the world that realised how much it sucked and were trying to make our future and the future for others better than the last.

I don’t blame my younger, ignorant self for think what she thought. There was computers where I could explore my ideas further, or libraries filled with books that could have corrected my opinion. I had teachers that ran clubs in our school focused towards social justice but there was never a class nor a lesson that covered what those words actually meant. At an age between 13-18 you feel like you can’t make a difference but if you were given a chance to help the world – even if it’s collecting pop tabs – they may have a different opinion of the world.

So, this is what I propose.

At the young age of six get your children involved with a world issue – environment, social… etc. – let them learn first hand about how one person can effect the balance.

At an older age teach them about non-profits or other charitable organisations in the world. For Canada, teach the history of social change and innovation by telling the events that took place in the 80s where Canadians came together and saved South Moresby, BC from deforestation. Show them that there can be light in a world so filled with terrible events, fears, and death.

But most of all, teach your kids that there is always hope. That by taking the paths before them that they have choices that could effect the world. That if they knew more about how to change the world, than maybe one day we will live in a better one.

Anyways, that’s all I have to say. Do you agree or disagree with my rant? Let me know in the comments below, and until next time have fun, stay safe, and change the world for the better. 🙂

If you are interested in learning more about non-profit and charity I suggest the best place to start is watching this video from TEDTalk. It has helped me open my mind and question what we’re doing in this world.