By Jordan McNeil
Something I’ve heard quite a bit in my life is others lamenting that they are unable to follow their dreams or make a difference with a problem they care about, because they are either too young or it’s too late, they’ve missed their chance.
Both of those statements are completely bogus. Your age doesn’t matter — what matters is your motivation and your heart. If your heart’s not in it, of course you’re not going to accomplish what you set out to do. You have to want it and believe in it, and that has no age restrictions.
Gabe and Livvy Feinn are only 13- and 9-years-old, respectively. They wanted to provide help to impoverished communities overseas — specifically, they wanted to raise the money necessary to renovate a mission hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo through the organization Samaritan’s Purse. And they didn’t let their young age stop them from this: through selling homemade cupcakes, they raised the $35,000 needed to rebuild the maternity ward at Nyankunde Hospital.
Ashley and Victoria VanBuskirk — sisters I graduated from high school with — founded their own nonprofit organization, Flora Stationery, after Ashley’s study abroad trip to Kosovo. She met a young woman there who was struggling to afford a college education through circumstances out of her control. Flora Stationery takes artwork done by women in Kosovo and turns them into journals. The money raised from these journals goes toward paying college tuition for these women, to empower them with an education and help them gain the skills to find employment.
Ashley Orr and Megan Evans, undergraduate students at Youngstown State University, founded their own initiative for fighting poverty in Youngstown — PAYO: Poverty Awareness in Youngstown. With other YSU students, they have been hosting various events to both educate others in the community and raise money and collect items needed to help combat the poverty in our area. Orr has stated that poverty issues are something very dear to her — they are her passion, and working to fight them is her dream.
It’s never too late, you’re never too young to follow your dreams or make a difference in your community, or even the world. If your dream is to become a published novelist, get on writing that book and join a writer community to help you through it. If your dream is to become a goat farmer, do your research and buy yourself a goat.
If your dream is to make a difference, there are so many ways you can do that now. Give your time to charities and nonprofits that support the cause you’re passionate about; donate at the American Red Cross blood drive happening on campus on Nov. 17 and 18; send money to the International Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders to help with tragedies like Paris, Japan and Beirut.
You are not too young; you have not missed your chance. Pursue your dreams.