Youth Volunteering and Voting in US

Civics education isn’t boosting youth voting or volunteerism

March 24, 2021 John Tures

Many states require community service during high school

The District of Columbia and 24 states require high school students to perform community service before getting a diploma. But students in these states have lower average voting rates, volunteerism and scores on Advanced Placement tests about civics and government, than students in the other 26 states.

A map showing the states that require community service for high school graduation

Map: The Conversation, CC-BY-ND Source: John Tures, LaGrange College Get the data

Nearly half of all states, plus the District of Columbia, require some sort of community service requirement or provide high school credit for students who volunteer, according to the Center for American Progress.

But I was dismayed to find that states without such a requirement had higher rates of volunteerism among younger people – an average of 24.4% – than among those states with a community service mandate – 21.3%.

And states requiring high school students to do community service have lower youth voting rates – 29.3% – than states where schools did not require volunteering – 31.4%.

March global climate strike

March 19, 2021

Common Dreams

‘Not in 2030 or 2050…Now!’: Climate Strikers Worldwide Demand Urgent Action

Returning to the streets a year into the coronavirus pandemic, youth campaigners are calling for “no more empty promises.”


Jessica Corbett, staff writer

After a year of online actions and occasional in-person protests limited by the coronavirus pandemic, the youth climate strikers of the Fridays for Future movement returned to streets around the world on Friday to demand urgent, ambitious action that meets the scale of the planetary emergency.

“We strike because climate justice isn’t a myth, but a reality we intend to build.”
—Luisa Neubauer, Fridays for Future

Frustrated that governments across the globe continue to craft emissions reduction plans that experts warn are inadequate to avert climate catastrophe, youth campaigners planned actions in more than 60 countries with a clear, unified demand: #NoMoreEmptyPromises.

“When your house is on fire, you don’t wait for 10, 20 years before you call the fire department; you act as soon and as much as you possibly can,” said movement founder Greta Thunberg when the global strike was announced in January. 

In a tweet Friday, Thunberg explained that she and some fellow activists were striking in shifts to keep numbers low. The 18-year-old Swede shared a photo of Fridays for Future members—masked and socially distanced—holding signs.

Sweden has banned gatherings of more than eight people due to the public health crisis, Reuters noted. Unlike the pandemic, world leaders aren’t treating climate change like a crisis, Thunberg told the news agency.

“The first step must be to start treating it like a crisis and to just take in the full picture, to see this in a holistic point of view,” she said. “Science says that we can still avoid the worst consequences. So it’s possible, but it’s not possible if we continue like today.”

While researchers and advocates continue to warn of the looming consequences of dangerously inadequate efforts to reduce planet-heating pollution, participants in the worldwide strike emphasized that the climate emergency isn’t just something to worry about for the future.

“The climate crisis already affects thousands of people in the world,” Fridays for Future member Hannah Pirot told The Berlin Spectator, which reported on activists painting temporary slogans on the Oberbaum Bridge, a famous landmark in the German capital.

“We need systematic changes because the climate crisis is the result of structural exploitation and ecological destruction,” Pirot said. “Fighting the climate crisis also means championing for an anti-racist, feminist, and solidary society, and to think about a a fair way of cohabitation.”

The Young Nazi-Fighting Women of the Jewish Resistance

The Nazi-Fighting Women of the Jewish Resistance

They went undercover, smuggled revolvers in teddy bears and were bearers of the truth. Why hadn’t I heard their stories? Judy Batalion is the author of the forthcoming “The Light of Days: The Untold Story of Women Resistance Fighters in Hitler’s Ghettos,” 

I learned that “courier girls” connected the locked ghettos where Jews were imprisoned. Being caught on the Aryan side meant certain death; despite that, these young women dyed their hair blond, took off their Jewish-identifying armbands, put on fake smiles and secretly slipped in and out of ghettos, bringing Jews information and hope, bulletins and false identification papers, and linking youth resistance groups across the country. They smuggled pistols, bullets and grenades, hiding them in marmalade jars, sacks of potatoes and designer handbags.

They also took enormous risks. Bela Hazan got a job working as a translator and receptionist for the Gestapo; she stole their documents and delivered them to Jewish forgers. Vladka Meed smuggled dynamite into the Warsaw ghetto by passing bits of gunpowder through a hole in the wall of a basement that lined the ghetto border. She later supported Jews in hiding, secretly bringing them money, medical help and trusted photographers to take their pictures for fake IDs.

Hela Schupper, a beauty who’d studied commerce, dressed up as an affluent Polish woman attending an afternoon of theater, wearing clothes she’d borrowed from a non-Jewish friend’s mother. In 1942 she met a “Mr. X” from the Polish underground on a Warsaw street corner, followed him onto a train and into a safe house, stuffed her fashionable jute handbag, and brought five guns and clips of cartridges to Krakow’s “Fighting Pioneers,” who then bombed a Christmas week gathering at an upscale cafe frequented by Nazi officers, killing at least seven Germans and wounding more.

Renia ran missions between Bedzin and Warsaw. She moved grenades, false passports and cash strapped to her body and hidden in her undergarments and shoes. She transported Jews from ghettos to hiding spots. She wore a red flower in her hair to identify her to underground contacts, met up with a black-market arms dealer in a cemetery, and slept in a cellar, wandering the city by day to gather information. She smiled coyly during searches on the train, and befriended one border guard to whom she “confessed” about smuggling food to distract him from the real contraband that was fastened to her torso with belts. “You had to be strong in your comportment, firm,” she wrote in her memoir. “You had to have an iron will.”

Renia, through cunning and luck, managed to fend off prying Nazis and Poles who attempted to turn her in for a reward — until one border guard noticed her fabricated passport stamp. Imprisoned in Gestapo lockups that prided themselves on their medieval torture strategies, Renia was brutally beaten alongside Polish political prisoners. She masterminded an escape, helped by other courier girls who plied the guards with cigarettes and whiskey. Renia was able to slip away, change her clothes and run. Using an underground railroad set up by Jews, she crossed the Tatra Mountains by foot, then reached Hungary hidden in the locomotive of a freight train. The engineer expelled an extra puff of smoke to hide her departure from the engine.

Young People are Hungry

‘I Have No Money for Food’: Among the Young, Hunger Is Rising

Liz Alderman

March 18, 2021

In France and across Europe, more students are facing food insecurity as the pandemic enters its second year and job cuts in their families take a widening toll.

As the pandemic begins its second year, humanitarian organizations in Europe are warning of an alarming rise in food insecurity among young people, after a steady stream of campus closings, job cuts and layoffs in their families. A growing share are facing hunger and mounting financial and psychological strain, deepening disparities for the most vulnerable populations.

In the United States, nearly one in eight households doesn’t have enough to eat. People in already food-starved countries face a greater crisis, with food insecurity in the developing world expected to nearly double to 265 million people, according to the United Nations World Food Program.

In France, Europe’s second-largest economy, half of young adults now have limited or uncertain access to food. Nearly a quarter are routinely skipping at least one meal a day, according to le Cercle des Économistes, a French economic think tank that advises the government.

Co’p1/Solidarités Étudiantes, the food bank Ms. Chéreau visited, opened near the Bastille in October when six students from Paris Sorbonne University banded together after seeing more of their peers go hungry.

Children of Egalitarian Parents Have Higher Self-Esteem and are more in favor of women’s rights

Shared family work and power is good for children. I interviewed 164 dual-earner couples in the US and Canada for 50/50 Marriage: 89 couples thought of themselves as equal but 71 were actually equal in their self-report of time spent in family work and childcare. These couples were more likely to score androgynous or masculine on the Bem Sex Role Inventory. As you would expect, men in the traditional couples were more likely to score masculine and the women score feminine (the fourth possible score is undifferentiated—low on both).

Margaret Ferrin did phone interviews with 83 of my interviewees’ children for her master’s thesis, comparing 42 children of 30 egalitarian couples attitude and practice (EE) and 41 children of 26 traditional couples in both attitudes and practice (TT).[i] The EE children reported that their parents did in fact share parenting, giving more “both” responses than the TT children and were more likely to support women’s rights. The kids, ages 8 to 18, took the Bem Sex-Role inventory and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Ferrin found that the children of EE parents had higher self-esteem with no significant differences between girls and boys. The EE children were more likely to score masculine and androgynous than the TT kids, but not to statistical significance. Children who scored undifferentiated had lower self-esteem scores while boys who scored masculine or androgynous had higher self-esteem in both EE and TT families.

Margaret Ferrin, “Sex Role Identity and Self Esteem of Children Reared by Egalitarian Couples,” California State University Chico, 1985.

[i] Margaret Ferrin, “Sex Role Identity and Self Esteem of Children Reared by Egalitarian Couples,” California State University Chico, 1985.

I am Water Ocean Foundation

  • BBC Travel

5 March 2021

Growing up on a horse farm outside Johannesburg, South Africa, Hanli Prinsloo dreamed of being a mermaid – never mind that the closest ocean was a 10-hour drive away. After a friend introduced her to freediving at university, Prinsloo turned her childhood dreams into reality, plunging 60m into the ocean’s depths and holding her breath for six minutes while breaking 11 South African freediving records.

She founded  I Am Water Ocean Conservation foundation

we now run an Ocean Guardians workshop model that has seen more than 6,000 young participants experience the ocean in a transformational and immersive way – many for the very first time.

I believe that the greatest overarching risks to our oceans is the belief that they are too vast to ever truly be at risk and the disconnect between humanity and nature. From this comes the symptoms – overfishing, pollution (plastic and others), species and habitat loss (biodiversity depletion) and, of course, climate change – that could eliminate life in our oceans through ocean acidification and all the other effects from an unstable environment.

Teens on the Pandemic and Racism

‘When Normal Life Stopped’: College Essays Reflect a Turbulent Year

This year’s admissions essays became a platform for high school seniors to reflect on the pandemic, race and loss.

 Anemona Hartocollis

  • March 17, 2021

This year perhaps more than ever before, the college essay has served as a canvas for high school seniors to reflect on a turbulent and, for many, sorrowful year. It has been a psychiatrist’s couch, a road map to a more hopeful future, a chance to pour out intimate feelings about loneliness and injustice.

In response to a request from The New York Times, more than 900 seniors submitted the personal essays they wrote for their college applications. Reading them is like a trip through two of the biggest news events of recent decades: the devastation wrought by the coronavirus, and the rise of a new civil rights movement.

In the wake of the high-profile deaths of Black people like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police officers, students shared how they had wrestled with racism in their own lives. Many dipped their feet into the politics of protest, finding themselves strengthened by their activism, yet sometimes conflicted.

And in the midst of the most far-reaching pandemic in a century, they described the isolation and loss that have pervaded every aspect of their lives since schools suddenly shut down a year ago. They sought to articulate how they have managed while cut off from friends and activities they had cultivated for years.

Teen Mental Health Problems During Pandemic

Benedict Carey

  • Feb. 23, 2021

For Some Teens, It’s Been a Year of Anxiety and Trips to the E.R. Surveys and statistics show that for young people who are anxious by nature, or feeling emotionally fragile already, the pandemic and its isolation have pushed them to the brink. Rates of suicidal thinking and behavior are up by 25 percent or more from similar periods in 2019, according to a just-published analysis of surveys of young patients coming into the emergency room.

For these teenagers, there aren’t many places to turn. They need help, but it’s hard to come up with a psychiatric diagnosis. They are trying to manage a surprise interruption in their lives, a vague loss. And without a diagnosis, reimbursement for therapy is hard to come by. And that is assuming parents know what kind of help is appropriate, and where to find it.

Finally, when a crisis hits, many of these teenagers end up in the local emergency department — the one place desperate families so often go for help.

Many E.R. departments across the country are now seeing a surge in such cases. Through most of 2020, the proportion of pediatric emergency admissions for mental problems, like panic and anxiety, was up by 24 percent for young children and 31 percent for adolescents compared to the previous year, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And the local emergency department is frequently unprepared for the added burden. Workers often are not specially trained to manage behavioral problems, and families don’t have many options for where to go next, leaving many of these pandemic-insecure adolescents in limbo at the E.R.

Reclaim These Streets UK feminist movement

In Rage Over Sarah Everard Killing, ‘Women’s Bargain’ Is Put on Notice


The “Reclaim These Streets” movement in Britain asks why the police demand sacrifices of women rather than forcing men to change to end violence.

isters Uncut, a feminist group that had encouraged women to go to the park even after the official Reclaim These Streets event was canceled, announced a protest on Sunday as well, this time outside Police Headquarters.

“Police are perpetrators of individual and state violence against women — as evidenced last night,” the group wrote on Twitter, adding, “4pm. New Scotland Yard.”

Black College Students Mistrust Admin