Getting off the Sidelines

Human rights activist and author, Dr. Richard Lapchick recently spoke to the Teen Think Tank Project about the history of racism in sports, his experience fighting for equality, and the future of social justice in America. In this engaging and enlightening conversation, Dr. Lapchick said something that stuck with the members of the Teen Think Tank Project team:

Everyone can’t be on the frontlines, but everyone can get off the sidelines.

Dr. Richard Lapchick


Social Awareness Checklist

To help individuals make an impact, we’ve taken Dr. Lapchick’s advice to heart and put together this Social Awareness Checklist. This simple 4-step strategy can help high schoolers find their passion, elevate their voices, support the causes they care about, and be part of a meaningful change in society! Share this list with a teen who is exploring ways to be socially conscious.

1. Learn

Research and read up on the issues you are most passionate about. Between articles, books, podcasts, and virtual courses, there are plethora of resources on social justice causes that students can quickly, easily and efficiently consume. Here are a few of our favorites:

Racial Inequality
Gender Inequality
Voter’s Rights

Of course, at the Teen Think Tank project, we are not only voracious consumers of socially conscious content, we are creators! Check out the great podcasts and videos that our team has produced on social justice issues such as: mental health, voter’s rights, access to care, and gender equality:
Available on Apple, Spotify, and Google Play!
Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

2. Volunteer

Aristotle once said, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” There is no better way to do than to volunteer. Donating one’s time and dedicating energy to a worthy cause is not only a great character-building exercise, it provides a legitimate and quantifiable benefit to an organization that is attempting to make a meaningful change. There are a plethora of websites dedicated to finding volunteer opportunities in your very own community. Volunteer Match, Idealist, and Just Serve are just a few!

3. Donate

Social justice organizations often rely on the generosity of donors to continue their missions. If you or your family have the means, make a donation to the local chapter of an established charity that is doing work in furtherance of a cause you believe in. If you do not have the ability to make a donation, you can organize a fundraiser to bring awareness and money to a cause you care about. (Check your favorite social media platform to find out how they can help facilitate your donation efforts.)

Of course, before you make a monetary donation to any organization, make sure they are legitimate. We like to crosscheck any charity that we get involved with against the Charity Navigator database. Choosing a 4-Star Charity is a surefire way to make sure your money is getting to good use.

4. Buy

Jane Mosbacher Morris, author of “Buy the Change You Want to See,” says that consumers can greatly affect social change by only supporting socially-conscious companies. Find out which products and brands are doing their part to make the world a better place and encourage your friends and family to support those businesses whose mission’s align with causes that are near and dear to you.

USA Today’s 20 most socially responsible retailers


When your favorite high school student has mastered the above steps, have him/her check out the Teen Think Tank Project to learn more about socially conscious programs for exceptional high school students. As part of the Teen Think Tank Project, teenagers will study the communication, leadership and decision-making skills that will empower them to tackle the social justice issues that they care about the most. Check out the Teen Think Tank Project’s Spring Session offerings and help your exceptional student take the first step to becoming an agent of social change!

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