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12 Millennials Who Actually Give A Shit (And Why You Should Too)

Apathetic? Naw.


Courtesy of Svante Myrick

I give a shit because I spent the first six months of my life in a homeless shelter, was cared for by many helping hands, and many services, went to Cornell and became mayor at 24. So I've seen firsthand the misery of poverty, and I've seen firsthand the power of a wise and effective government to end poverty. I care because caring works. I give a shit because giving a shit works — it makes things better.

—Svante Myrick, Mayor of Ithaca, New York



Courtesy of Lindsay M.

I teach at a public charter high school in the South Bronx — a neighborhood where less than 10% of high school graduates earn college degrees, compared to 75% of students from affluent neighborhoods. Our staff, students, and families work relentlessly to ensure that our kids develop the academic and character skills necessary to succeed. We're sending 98% of our 2016 graduating class to college this fall. As I enter my ninth year as an educator, I continue to advocate for educational equity because your zip code should not dictate the quality of your education.

—Lindsay M., Teacher


Courtesy of Kara Weisenstein

I give a lot of shits. So much so that I spend way too much of my time

with my friends preaching the importance of voting in local elections — not

just the big ones. I think a lot of people get politically energized once

every four years and then sort of forget to be conscious and vigilant in

between big election years. But what most folks don’t realize is that those

small elections, the ones where you elect city and state representatives

and local officials, have a much bigger impact on day-to-day life than a

presidential election. My dad is an editor at a small newspaper in southern

Illinois, and he reports on local government corruption all the time. Stuff

like that doesn’t get reported in the national news, and it’s a huge deal

when you live there. But we do have the power to fix it. That's why I do my

research and vote for leaders who will act in our best interest. You just

have to make the effort to do your homework, register, and vote.

—Kara Weisenstein, Freelance Journalist


Courtesy of Jennifer Elizabeth Crone

My story is simple. I see us all as brothers and sisters. I don't see any tangible reason why some should suffer and not be aided by their fellow man. Brunch Club started as a way to help people with very basic needs. You're hungry; here is food and water to nourish your body. I never intended to start a nonprofit, but when I saw that something needed to be done to help these veterans, men, women, and children that wasn't being done in a way I felt was sufficient, it seemed like my duty to step up. So, with the help of the community and other wonderful people in the homelessness-fighting space in San Diego, that's what I began to do. We've expanded our services a ton, and we've been able to serve several thousand people to date. Each outreach event brings hugs, tears, so much beauty, joy, love, and above all unity and compassion. I'm proud of my community. And I sure as hell give a shit.

—Jennifer Elizabeth Crone, Founder of Brunch Club


Courtesy of Amanda Slavin

While earning my master’s degree and teaching first-graders and middle schoolers, I felt stifled, frustrated, and confined to the classroom. I started CatalystCreativ four years ago with my partner, Tony Hsieh, with the intention of combining the forces of education and experiential marketing (digital and physical experiences). Our experiences inspire "millennial-minded" humans to give a shit and do something about it. Looking at the world as the classroom — brands, cities, and influencers as the teachers and the rest of us as students.

—Amanda Slavin, Founder of CatalystCreativ


Courtesy of Perri Schneider

I spend four hours a week volunteering for the Crisis Text Line. This free crisis counseling service averages roughly 900 texters each day. It is something simple I can do to help those truly struggling and needing to talk to someone.

—Perri Schneider, Volunteer Crisis Counselor


Courtesy of Kareem Ahmed

I'd been feeling like I was living in this teeny, tiny little bubble, experiencing a version of New York City that is typical for many young adults in the city. I was hanging out with the same people doing the same things. I wanted to learn more about myself and experience life through someone else, so I signed up for Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City. It's been a really incredible experience. I've learned so much from hanging out with someone who is only 13 years old while teaching them what I know and being a positive role model.

—Kareem Ahmed, Big Brother


Courtesy of Kyle P.

In the past, it was easy for me to be cynical about politics and take the view that voting changes nothing, and therefore is a waste of time. However, I’ve come to accept that voting is one of the most powerful signaling methods we have to catch the attention of our lawmakers. What has motivated me to become more involved in politics is the fact that long-term issues and liberties are being determined today. If you’re fine with someone else nominating a person to wear black robes and pronounce judgments on what you can and can’t do, you should be comfortable staying home on Election Day. However, if you’re like me, you realize there is no reset button, and perhaps you’d like to influence who it is making those decisions.

—Kyle P., Teacher


Courtesy of Carlos Foglia

Before Trump officially became one half of the choice for president, I created a podcast with the intent of learning as much as I could about the current political system and choices in America. We’ve hosted writers, performers, doctors, comedians, and Tony winners and have even booked US Congressmen for our upcoming shows. My co-host was a delegate for Bernie, and we brought firsthand, behind-the-scenes insights to our listeners. We're called Schmolitics, and we strive to have political discourse that educates those with questions. As a person of color working in the entertainment world in Los Angeles, I know firsthand what it’s like to have to work twice as hard for half the credit. I have canvassed and donated for the Democratic party and am arranging an event at my humble abode for supporters, all while producing content that engages and entertains thousands of listeners.

—Carlos Foglia, Political Activist and Commentator


Courtesy of Amanda B. Irizarry

As an advocate for youth empowerment in the nonprofit sector, I have dedicated the last five years of my professional and personal life to work with and mentor youth who are underserved, overlooked, and marginalized. My passion for young people and love for my work in Philadelphia at a major public health nonprofit is unmatched, as I am able to live out one of my dreams: teaching youth about the power of their story and the value of their voice as they serve as both stewards and advocates to their communities and city at large.

One of my most empowering moments as a youth mentor and public health advocate was the graduation day of my first youth tobacco advocacy summer cohort. It was that day that my students reminded me of the power and light that is to be found when you share your stories of hurt, powerlessness, addiction, etc. and use them as agents of change and tools for community building and action.

—Amanda B. Irizarry, Youth Mentor and Public Health Advocate


Courtesy of Steve Jackson

I started and continue to pioneer two Philadelphia-based youth empowerment programs. The first is an advocacy institute where we train youth and young adults to use policy, community, and media advocacy to make sustainable public health change. The second program is a volunteer-based basketball and leadership training program that I run out of the Kensington section of Philadelphia. My folks and I do our very best to use basketball to teach and learn life lessons of discipline, leadership, and community (teamwork) to our aspiring basketball players.

I give a shit because my parents gave a shit. They showed me what it looked like to really care, and it's my job to take that legacy a step forward. Regardless of the offensive rhetoric of our political times, I will never stop giving a shit and that's how I do it.

—Steve Jackson, Youth Advocate

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