LearnServe International (Malaika)

“You are never too young to make a difference.”

By Malaika Coleman

Background Information
LearnServe International is a program aimed at equipping students with the knowledge they need to invoke change within their community. Those students are then expected to share that knowledge with others and create positive change globally. This program focuses on students from around the Washington DC area and instills in them the tools needed to become a good leader. The motto of LearnServe International is “The world is small. Think Big.” This quote is a great representation of this program because it reminds one that the world is very connected and that it only takes one person to speak out and make change.

IMG_1774Our Experience
We met at School Without Walls and had a workshop on social entrepreneurship with Mr. Scott, a representative of LearnServe International. The first question he asked us was “What pisses you off?” Though the question might seem rather vulgar, it was a very good transition into our activity and was able to get us thinking about aspects of society that we feel should be addressed and changed. This activity also allowed us to compare and contrast issues in America and issues in Japan. Some problems we came up with were injustice in the judicial system, more geared toward America; ignorance and an unwillingness to learn; and economic disparity found in both Japan and America. This focus on economic disparity in both Japan and America was supported by examples from S.U and T.M. They shared an example of misuse of taxpayers money by a politician who used a large amount of money for his own personal gain.

The second half of the activity was to make up an organization to fight one of the problems we listed. We came up with an organization called ¥€$. The organization is a “watchdog” organization that monitors officials and tracks the use of large amounts of money to ensure that it is being used for what it is supposed to be used for.

The Big Idea
The goal of LearnServe is to make the vision of a new generation of young leaders standing up for the issues that matter a reality. We got the big idea “You are never too young to make a difference” from our conversation and activities. We were told about a high school student that saw that restaurants were discarding crayons that were not used at the end of the day. Instead of complaining, he arranged an agreement with the restuarant, in which the waiters saved the crayons at the end of the day and he came to collect the crayons at different times. He then donated those crayons to daycares, schools, etc. Now, high school students are doing this with local restaurants around them. This proved that making change is easy and helped us reach our big idea that “You are never too young to make a difference.”