How to get involved in Youth Social Action

Youth Social Action (YSA) refers to activities led by young people to make a positive impact in their communities, which can target individuals, groups, or the environment. Before getting stuck in to your YSA activities, you’ll need to think carefully about what social cause you want to address, and the ways you can do this.


You might want to find ways to reduce plastic consumption to protect our oceans, start a peer-mentoring scheme in your school to improve student mental health, combat fast fashion by setting up a clothing swap-shop, or design a more inclusive public space for wheelchair users. The possibilities are endless!



Step 1. Inspire

The first step is to get inspired. If you don’t know where to start you might want to do an internet search for some case studies of successful YSA projects delivered by others. You may want to read the news, talk to members of your community, or simply reflect on any injustice that you can identify in your own life.


Perhaps you see something on the news about the cost-of-living crisis that shocks you. It makes you think about the people you have seen experiencing homelessness in your city and you’re wondering what you can do to help



Step 2. Explore

The second step is to explore your options. You’ll need to carefully research the issue that inspired you to take action. You may also want to reach out to key stakeholders (people affected by your cause) in your community. Stakeholders will be able to offer valuable insights into the reality of their situations, and how their challenges can best be addressed. You may also want to reach out to a teacher or parent to help refine your idea.


Now, you decide to search for more news articles about the cost-of-living crisis in the UK. You see an article about a huge spike in food bank usage since the COVID pandemic, and locate the food banks operating in your city. You decide to visit your local food bank to chat with staff and users to find out more about how the service operates, and ways in which you can get involved. Together, you come up with the idea to hold a food drive in your school, where students are asked to donate an item for the food bank.



Step 3. Plan

The third step is to plan your project. You may already have the support of your school, and class time allocated to engage in YSA, or you may need to present your project proposal to school leaders to see if they can support your plan. Alternatively, you can get involved independently. The level of support and people involved will need to be reflected in your plan. If you manage to get a team together, you can allocate roles and breakdown tasks you need to complete for the project to be successful.


You present your idea of a food drive at school to staff leaders and start to plan the logistics. With a group of other students, you allocate the different roles you will take on. You consider how you can get as many donations as possible, by raising awareness of food insecurity and marketing your food drive, while you also consider how you will get all of the donations across town to the food bank.



Step 4. Act

The time has come to deliver your plan. You will need to stay flexible and be ready to problem-solve and adapt your plan if something goes wrong.


Having planned your roles in the last step, two of you give a presentation on food poverty in assemblies to raise awareness in the school, while one of you designs and puts up posters to advertise the food drive, and one of you starts a social media campaign to promote the cause.You all help to organise collections on the day.



Step 5. Reflect

The final step is to reflect on what you have done. Did you achieve your aims? What went well and what didn’t go so well? Can you sustain the project? Or did you take steps to ensure that further projects aren’t needed?


Reflecting on the food drive with your team, you agree it was a huge success! The food bank staff were grateful to receive hundreds of essential food items for theirservice users. Though you can’t help but feel a little disappointed that the project is over. You decide you will continue to spread awareness with your social media campaign to #EndHunger, andvolunteer your time once a week to serve cooked meals at your local refuge for people experiencing homelessness.



Youth Social Action can really take you anywhere. Your project is down to you. If you’re up for the challenge to change your world, get inspired today!


For a variety of useful YSA resources, check out Ormiston Trust’s #WeWill Youth Social Action Resource Hub.




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