Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai are two prominent examples of the astonishing courage and determination that can arise from younger generations. Their dedication to the causes that matter to them (climate change and girls’ education) serve as inspiration for young people who want to work for positive change. Adults can help by providing resources and information about careers that make a difference to underserved communities. Not everyone must take on a medical, legal, or finance career to be a force for positive change in the world. Help ambitious young people find direction by suggesting they explore some of these careers:
Social Services Manager
People who work as social and community service managers hold critical roles within non-profits or government agencies. They coordinate concrete services that help people affected by homelessness or poverty. They manage budgets and oversee operations that deliver real food, medical services, literacy programs, and educational resources to people in need.
Living in poverty or growing up in an underserved community can limit your perspective on what is possible. Vocational counselors help young people identify their unique interests and abilities and how those may match with a wide range of jobs and careers.
When disasters create destruction and disruption, education suffers. Education advisors work with NGOs, non-profits, and government aid agencies to identify the resources needed to provide education in areas affected by natural disasters or armed conflicts.
For example, education advisors can identify ways to offer affordable microscopes that have a real impact because they help prepare students for higher education. They can create teacher education and literacy programs, coordinate aid to provide temporary or permanent school buildings, or manage volunteer programs to deliver education in disaster areas.
Humanitarian Affairs Officer
Like the role of an education officer, a humanitarian affairs officer assesses community needs in disaster areas or places impacted by conflict. They work with local officials to identify the most pressing needs and plan programs to address them.
Drug and alcohol abuse take a severe toll across all types of communities. But impoverished communities are less likely to have the resources for the level of support needed. A rehabilitation counselor helps people seek recovery and sees them through programs that allow them to re-enter society.
Fundraiser or Grants Officer
Non-profit organizations that provide services locally, nationally, or globally are always in need of financial contributions to fund their work. Similarly, they need grants officers to assess requests for funding. Development officers (fundraisers) identify prospective donors and work to convince them to give to the organization. Grants officers assess applications for assistance under an organization’s grants program, help applicants get through the process of filing a request for funding, and enforce requirements for reporting about how any money given is spent, and the results obtained.
There are multiple career paths that can make a difference to underserved communities. Kids excited by their schoolwork in STEAM fields (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics can find a vast array of career paths to pursue to use their knowledge to aid and uplift others, worldwide.