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Young People, You Can Make a Difference

Hey, Generations Y and Z. If you’re 38 or under, I know you’re battling some tough labels—like lazy, entitled, and selfish. I interact with your generations every day and I’m here to tell you, those labels aren’t true. Some people call you high maintenance because of your constant need for reasons; I call you the Why Generation because wanting to know why means you care. When you know why, you can bring your intelligence and creativity fully to bear on the project. That’s why you ask—and why this question defines you.

I’ve been working with schools and businesses for more than 20 years, giving them the strategies and tools to reach you. I’ve learned a few things along the way, like what you’re capable of when you see a goal that means something to you. And just how resourceful you can be when faced with a challenge to solve. And most of all, your amazing capacity and passion for making a difference.

Making a difference—it’s what we all want, right? And we all define it differently, based on our own unique perspective and values. Maybe ending childhood hunger is the dream that drives you. Environmental activism might be what you’re passionate about. It could be that you want to help create a major shift in cultural attitudes and norms. Perhaps the difference you want to make is in the realm of technological advances. Maybe there are other barriers you want to break, minds you want to change, and ideas you want to share. You are acutely aware of the changes that need to happen, and it’s going to take the full strength of your generations to make them. Game on.

Being the Change

You know the saying: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Yeah, it’s a cliché but it still rings true. Whatever the difference is that you want to see, it’s probably not going to happen on its own. You have to drive that change. And you will.

The truth is, you are two of the most generous generations we’ve ever seen, and that includes both your time and your money. Volunteerism is at an all-time high for Gen Z. Gen Y digs deep to give money to the causes they believe in (and that despite your record college debt). This is because of two fundamental truths about you: you love meaningful experiences, and you value more than just the paycheck. You want to be part of something bigger than yourself, and you have a vision for what it should be.

Forget the naysayers who have nothing but negativity for the young people of today. You know differently. You are the Why Generation and you are different from the generations that have come before. And that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it gives you a fresh perspective on solving the problems our world faces.

Your time has come. Get ready—and be the change.

About the Author
Mark C. Perna Mark C. Perna is a best-selling author and the founder of TFS in Cleveland, Ohio, a full-service strategic consulting firm whose mission is to share and support every client’s passion for making a difference.

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