3 ways to encourage students to take social action

Engaging in social action helps young people and the communities around them. We see this first hand on our school programmes where students will have a fully organised opportunity to ‘Play Your Part’ in their local community, supporting a local charity or organisation.


This year we are encouraging the students on our programmes to ‘Play Your Part’ in a slightly different way, and we wanted to share our ideas with you! You might be able to encourage your students to do these too.


Why Social Action?


We have recently seen some powerful social action from young people around the world, including Greta Thunberg’s compelling efforts on climate change, Malala Yousafzai’s work on women’s education, and Amika George fighting for free sanitary products. These young people are a fantastic inspiration for all young people around the world.


As well as the direct benefits to society, research shows that participating in meaningful social action has a range of benefits to the individual:

  • Increased life satisfaction

  • Improved awareness of the local and global community

  • Improved job prospects

  • Social connections


#iwill’s National Youth Action Survey (2018) found that 81% of young people participating in meaningful social action believe it will help them get a job in the future. But there continues to be a gap in meaningful social action participation between the most and least affluent young people (51% vs 32%).


Below are 3 simple ideas from our school programmes to get your students involved in some form of social action.


1. Raise awareness of a charitable cause


Ask your students to identify a charitable cause they’re passionate about. This could be a particular charity they’d like to support or a topic that they’re interested in, for example:

  • Minimising plastic use - why is it so important?

  • Climate Change - why is there so much urgency?

  • Cancer Research - how can we raise awareness?


Find a way to raise awareness by communicating information about your chosen topic or charity - you could find some articles, create a poster, or make a leaflet.


2. Give back to the community


Donate time or money to support a local cause:

  • Donate unwanted or unused items to a charity shop

  • Raise money by doing a sponsored activity

  • Write a letter to a care home through the classrooms to care homes activity

  • Donate to a food bank


To maximise your donation, think about how you can get other people involved - could you do a sponsored activity with a friend or family member? If you’re donating to a food bank or a charity shop, could you get the rest of your class involved and collect their donations as well?


3. Help the environment


It is everyone’s responsibility to take care of the environment to protect the planet for future generations. We can all play our part by taking small actions to look after the environment.


  • Make a bird feeder to put in your garden or at your windowsill. Keep a log of how many birds you see eat from it. Can you identify the different species?

  • Sow some wildflower seeds ready for spring.

  • Go for a walk around your local area and pick up every bit of rubbish you see.

  • Check how the recycling works in your area - find out what you can recycle and when it is collected. You could even make a poster to remind everyone in your household what can be recycled.


We’d love to see how you get on with these activities, so please do tag us on social media in your pictures @yesfutures.