These past few months, an idea keeps playing back through my head: starting some sort of non-profit. I’m having a hard time remembering what sparked the idea back in my head earlier this year, but hearing day-after-day of all the crap happening around the world is really starting to bother me. At some point last year, in a Convocation service at school, a speaker addressed the student body at my school concerning world change. She made one point very clear to us - never fall in love with saving everybody, rather focus on helping one person at a time and you’ll make a world of difference.

As all of the above ideas keep resonating in my head, there’s a small list of social issues that are nagging me as well:

  • Rape and Sexual Harassment amongst our Youth Hearing several high-profile stories about high school girls getting raped at parties really brought this issue to my attention. The biggest red flags from these stories are how people are finding out these cases even occur - image leaks. To me, this indicates that sexual harassment and assault within our youth in a party setting is a more common issue than we think. How large? That’s a great question I hope to see some numbers on someday.

    My hope is to see some sort of program that teaches young people to respect each others boundaries and the repercussions on both the attacker and victim for such actions. Schools in general could also do a better job of ridding students of the “slut” and “gay” stigmas and foster environments where people learn to respect the privacy of each others decisions.

    A continual thought I’ve had is maybe an online-based safe haven for victims where they could be taken care of emotionally when/if things get out of control and they are a suicide risk.

  • Mental illnesses amongst our Teens This is a harder one for me. I have had the blame for two suicide attempts put in my name for reasons I do not understand. With both of these people, I was fairly close and could diagnose them with a commonplace mental sickness that they should have been receiving help for. Our culture doesn’t really emphasize close family relationships and lifelong marriages. Children also aren’t learning about how to handle friendships healthily in school (I took my first psychology class in relationships my Junior year of University - Best class I’ve ever taken). As a result, many of our youth growing up don’t have consistant and healthy relationships when they need them the most - leading to a depression in almost every case. Combined with natural bipolar tendencies in some people, along with the stress of life changes, these mental illnesses are taking a major toll on the emotional health and employability of our own.

    I’m not sure how to address this issue at the moment. Do we teach our youth that mental illnesses are common, that it’s okay to be sad, that there are people who care and will listen to them if they need it? I don’t mean counseling, I mean professional adults willing to invest in young people and help them through hard times? I’m a Christian (so raised in a church) and this wasn’t something that was available to me. I spent most of my time talking to people my age about my problems (continuing this trend to this day) which oftentimes doesn’t lead to conclusions.

  • Sex Trafficking in America I have little understanding or grasp of scope on this issue in America, other then the few stories I’ve read about how awful and violent pimps are. I’ve found recently that the whole issue with pimping is moving online and that our youth have adults trained in luring them in engaging them in the same place and way their friends would.

    This is a dangerous issue to address given the violence pimps are known to use.

  • Children lacking investment, encouragement, and an environment to facilitate a career-building passion My interest in this subject came from an analysis at the current city I call home - Lynchburg. Lynchburg suffers a poverty issue that is recurring amongst generations. Part of this issue is a poor family and school support structure that is not encouraging kids to pursue passions that could lead to a career. I’ve had various ideas about starting a center where children and youth who have a hands-on/technical inclination could come after school to build out their ideas, learn embedded electronics, learn to code, and learn to fabricate; all in an environment where they are being encouraged to grow in knowledge and character so they can walk out of high school with employers interested and skip the risk of college if necessary.

Through the past year, I’ve learned a little bit about how non-profits operate and I’ve learned that technology solves most of the overhead expenses part of running a program these days. There isn’t a need to take a sizable chunk of donation money and put it into the organization itself if the non-profit is small enough. Part of my interest in running a non-profit involves seeing how much technology can do to allow it to remain a operation that allows running it to only take several hours a week.

These issues are all very first-world focused - I know. I’ve spent quite some time with people who are out to try to figure these things out on a global level and I really hope to be a helping hand to them, but that’s nothing I could grasp leading. These ideas all also require massive amounts of planning, money, and partnership, none of which I currently have available. My heart is for Lynchburg right now and my favorite idea (and the one most practical for me to address) is the one for an after-school program. I can’t give more than a few hours a week, I can’t give too much money, and I can’t offer anything other than web development knowledge and a tiny amount of electronics engineering knowledge, but if you share an interest in one of these issues and are brave enough to dream with me, my email is kyle at this domain.

Thank you for reading.