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As part of the School SleepOut™ Special Edition, KIDlanthropy, aimed at high-school learners, we found the coolest initiatives to know about – and get involved in.

If you love animals:

Have you considered having a career as a vet one day? Would you rather spend some quality time with your pets than with your siblings? If your answer is “yes”, you could be the perfect person to make a massive difference in the lives of animals.

  • Check out: Woodrock Animal Rescue NPO, Johannesburg.

This shelter is all about keeping animals alive and healthy, and finding them their forever homes. If you’re older than 16, you can be a Woodrock Warrior Volunteer. If you’re younger than 16, you can get involved in other ways. You can volunteer with them for your school community service hours or even donate money or items off their wish-list. You’ll find many organisations have their own wish-list. This tells us exactly what things they need, and helps us figure out what to donate.

For more info, visit: www.woodrockanimalrescue.com
Call: 076 155 4439 / 0845852418

If your phone is glued to your hand:

If you love technology and spend a ton of time on your phone, what you need is an initiative that happens from the palm of your hand. Don’t feel like you can’t contribute because you’re stuck at home. There are still ways to make an impact.

  • Check out: OLIO

OLIO is a free food-swapping app which cuts back on waste and helps other families. If you have bought too much food, simply snap a photo, add a brief description and provide pick-up details. A neighbour who needs it will be delighted to take it off your hands! This means your family is cutting back on waste and improving the lives of others.

OLIO is available on Android and IOS.
For more info, visit: www.olioex.com

If you’re looking for something unbelievably unique:

Like we said, there are heaps of ways to make a difference from your couch.

  • Check out: Be My Eyes

One of the smartest apps we’ve heard about is called Be My Eyes. It connects blind and visually impaired people with sighted helpers from around the world via live video connection. For example, if someone who is visually impaired is getting ready for dinner with friends, and isn’t sure which jacket matches their pants, they will video call you, and you can help them out by being their eyes for a little bit – and letting them know which one to choose.

Right now the app is only available on IOS, but you can sign up on the site to be notified when it’s available for Android, too.
Head to www.bemyeyes.com for more info.

If you want to be inspired:

Some of the biggest celebrities out there are just as famous for their volunteer work as they are for their careers. However, some celebrity-run initiatives still manage to fly under our radars. Here are some really innovative and powerful initiatives that were created by celebrities.

  • Check out: Thorn – Ashton Kutcher

The mission that Ashton Kutcher and Thorn are on is a huge one. Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children, combats child sexual exploitation. They’re always looking for donations and some amazing tech and hacking skills.
Visit: www.wearethorn.org

  • Check out: Smart Girls – Amy Poehler

The brilliantly funny Amy Poehler is all about creating a space for girls and women to come together to share and learn. Her site will keep you inspired and up-to-date about the battles and triumphs of being a woman.
Visit: www.amyssmartgirls.com

If you love to read:

Reading is a skill that changes your entire life and affords you so many opportunities. Sadly, there are so many children who have never been taught how to read. That’s where you come in.

  • Check out: help2read
    Cape Town, Johannesburg and the United Kingdom

This awesome volunteer initiative is always on the hunt for Reading Helpers. They believe that when you teach someone to read, you not only change their life but also your own. What an amazing gift to give someone!

For more info and to sign up as a volunteer, head to their website: www.http://help2read.org

If you want to save the world:

It’s not easy hearing about the damage humans have done to the earth, but the good news is that there are so many ways to help.

  • Check out: Greenpop

Greenpop is all about making a ‘treevolution’ happen across Southern Africa. By planting trees, you’ll also be making a social and economic difference. Greenpop has plenty of volunteering options on offer. You can run a Greenpop fundraiser, attend a tree-planting event and get your hands dirty, or you can join a team of people – just like you – who are a part of the treevolution.
Head to www.greenpop.org for more info.

If you love numbers:

If you’re passionate about maths, you can understand how hard it must be for kids who struggle with it.

  • Check out: OLICO

OLICO is a non-profit that has been going since 1999, and they help children in areas like Diepsloot with maths and literacy through their online education systems. All of their resources are free because they understand that everyone has the right to be educated.
Have a look at their amazing programmes at www.olico.org.

This story originally appeared in KIDlanthropy, an online publication showcased by The CEO SleepOut, which covers the ideas of empathy, social innovation and entrepreneurship for high school learners. Having seen the youth’s enthusiasm around philanthropic causes such as The School SleepOut – which sees learners and teachers spend a night outdoors on their school grounds, collecting items for communities in need – The CEO SleepOut wanted to expand the message of empathy, philanthropy and social innovation and entrepreneurship to teens. It’s all about creating compassion in our future leaders.

Read it here:

By Ali Gregg