Finding passion in life is so crucial to our development as human beings.  Human passion, it can be argued, is what fuels life-progress.  It’s also uniquely tied to our emotional intelligence.

When one’s passion is used to serve a cause — or right a wrong — it literally provides an emotional release, restoring a sense of meaning and balance.  It’s for this reason that I am highlighting some of the amazing ways youth have been using their passions to assist with the tragic elementary school shootings that took place in Newtown, CT just one week ago.

CRAFTIVISM: sending symbols of peace and hope

  • Operation Sandy Hook: Peace to You was inspired by the Japanese tradition of sending paper cranes in time of tragedy, representing peace and good wishes.  16 year old Calista Frederick-Jaskiewicz hopes to get 1,000 origami cranes in the schools.
  • 500 Sky & Sun Ribbons were made by 12-year old Camren Mangun, a boy with autism wants kids at his own school to take comfort in the colors of sky & sun.  He has made over 500 blue and orange ribbons for fellow students to wear.
  • Ribbons of Remembrance is an initiative started by 17-year old Larisa Schadt who is using her art-form to raise money for the Newtown Memorial Fund, created to memorialize the victims and support survivors.  Larisa has also created donation collection boxes in partnership with local businesses to raise additional funds.
  • Snowflakes for Sandy-Hook is a student art-project that aims to create a magical winter-wonderland of paper snow-flakes for returning students, not just at one school, but in all elementary schools in Newtown. These paper crafts are being made as far away as Kuwait!

GIVING: selfless crusades

  • Capes For Kids are “super hero” capes being collected by 13 year old Allison Anderson tor the children in Newton.  More than 1,000 capes have been collected so far!
  • GiftsFor20 was created by 11 year old Noah Hudon-Peralta who hopes to inspire more kids to donate new toys in honor of the Sandy Hook 20.

WRITING: finding your voice

  • Days after the shooting, college student Simone Bernstein encouraged others to take action through writing. Simone also listed several ways that any young person can contribute to the recovery of the Newtown community in an article for Huffington Post Teen. Her suggestions included ways to express sympathy and fund-raise for survivors; she also urged young people to find ways to prevent violence from happening again, by organizing a town hall or contacting a legislator about gun control policy.
  • 14 year old Hannah is giving away 600-copies of her book, Yoga For Kids, as a tool to help kids find a new calming outlet.

SOCIAL MEDIA: making our virtual worlds virtuous

  • Using Twitter, high school senior Mac Morris started a simple week long fundraiser which is fueling daily collections at the high school using the #CMSforNewtown hashtag. Many students are joining in, tweeting updates and contributing to the collection.  As of 12/20/12, close to $3,000- dollars have been raised.

The feeling of helplessness can overwhelm anyone to a point of inaction.  ‘What can I do?’ is a rhetorical question, perhaps.  Yet within each and every one of us exists something we’re good at — something about which we’re passionate.  Pursue your passion.  Make a difference.