In an ongoing series in this column, we highlight one of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets that have a powerful positive impact on young people’s growth. These 40 assets comprise qualities, experiences and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. Asset #27 is Equality & Social Justice.

Perhaps now more than ever, today’s youth are invested in social justice and in promoting equality between genders, ethnicities and religions. This is great news for the future well-being of our youth. Research shows that young people who place a high value on promoting equality are more caring and more willing to help people who are less fortunate than them. These young people are more likely to grow up healthier themselves and become better leaders.

Even though they do not understand the suffering of other people firsthand, they care about their needs and they want to make a difference. They want to make the world a better place for all. Importantly, every one can make a difference and every effort counts. Whether it’s giving time, money or talent toward a cause, it all has an impact.

Small efforts like donating to a local food bank or volunteering at a local shelter have immediate results. Researching injustices that concern you and developing plans to personally address these problems or gathering a group to work together on social issues can having lasting impact. No matter the effort, the individual is better off for their contribution.

Tizzie Mantione