Giving back: stories of youth who are making a difference

Giving back to your community is on most people’s to-do list, but takes time and commitment. For the holiday season, the PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs program asked our teen producers to find and tell stories of young people making a difference in their communities.

Connor Morgan volunteers at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, transporting patients to appointments and delivering lab specimens. Connor, a high school senior at Judge Memorial Catholic High School, said the work combines his love of medicine and military history.

“Veterans have done so much for us, and most people, I don’t think, truly believe that or appreciate that, so I wanted to do something to help them,” he said.

Produced by Olivia Jacobs, Paul Olive and Caroline Pribble, students at Judge Memorial Catholic High School in Salt Lake City, Utah.

At Central Hardin High School, students highlighted Trajan Tushkan, a high school sophomore who mentors elementary school children at the Mission Hope for Kids in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

“Those kids look up to me, and I’m always there for them,” Trajan said.

Produced by Gracie Eck, Gracie Hall, Cameron Lane and Risa Tomioka, students at Central Hardin High School in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

Here are more stories inspired by young people who are actively giving back.

Peer tutor inspires special need students

Produced by James Canada, Caleb DiPetro, Ashley Jury, Hannah Pickerell and McKaelin Taylor, students at Central Hardin High School in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

Teen firefighter has ‘heart and soul’ to get job done

Produced by Matthew Hayner, a senior at York Comprehensive High School in York, South Carolina. This video was produced with mentor support from South Carolina ETV.

Michigan student gives back in more than one way

Produced by Annie Collick, a senior at Royal Oak High School in Royal Oak, Michigan.

Empowering students is the solution

Produced by Evan Aquinde, Hadassah Ballarta, John Fabella and Noah Pilotin, students at Maui Waena Intermediate School in Kahului, Hawaii.

Giving time to animals in need

Produced by Kara Azure, Mykaylynne Belgarde, Christian Decoteau, Talon Decoteau, Emily Gunville, Mackenzie Jerome, Kilyn Parisien and Seth Peltier from Turtle Mountain Community High School in Belcourt, North Dakota.

Wisconsin teen serves up Thanksgiving celebration for the community

Produced by Hailey Collins, a junior at Black River Falls High School in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.

Student missionaries gain more than they give

Produced by Trey Burwell and Kendra Lipps, students at Richwood High School in Richwood, West Virginia.

Student Reporting Labs connects classes with public media resources to teach journalism, digital literacy, and civic engagement and is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


NewsHour Extra Lessons:

Community service: Teaching kindness for kindness’ sake