When most 14-year-olds promise to do something good, it's usually to clean their room each day, remember to walk the dog, get straight As, or to stop picking on their little sister. But Iowa teen Maren McNees vowed to do something spectacularly different with her New Year’s resolution -- one selfless act a day for the rest of the year. And so far, she’s done just that. She cleaned out the attic of a 98-year-old woman. She helped out at homeless shelters. She donated items to those less fortunate. And she's still going.
Asking the average teen to get up on Saturday to help organize the family garage or take out the mountain of trash in the kitchen is likely to elicit some form of grumbling feedback. But Maren has not only given up her weekends, she’s gotten some friends involved, too. The do-gooding, it seems, is spreading.
Her promise proves that it doesn’t take a big concerted effort to be a help to someone else. It’s the little things, like gestures of kindness and concern for others, that get pushed to the wayside in our hectic, BlackBerry-checking schedules. But not for Maren. Instead of wasting time updating her Facebook or trolling the mall with friends, she's out there helping strangers. She also is proof that not all teenagers are up to no good and having unsafe sex or stealing vodka from their mother's liquor cabinet.
I don’t know anyone from Iowa, let alone this girl or her family, but I am so proud of her. Yes, she has many months to go, but what a great and encouraging start. If there was ever one resolution to make stick, this is it. And if she’s doing this at 14, imagine what she’s going to do with a completed education under her wings.
She can check off her good deed for today because she sure has inspired me.
Do your kids volunteer? What are your tried-and-tested tips for getting your teens interested in community service?
Image via cessemi/Flickr