June 14, 2013 - submitted by Sam, United States of America

I'm sixteen, and like most people at sixteen, I have a lot on my mind (and at other times I have nothing on my mind, which is a different problem altogether) I've been feeling rather small in this big big world and I see there's a lot of evil in it. I want to change the world in a big big way, yet I find myself not knowing where to start. I really want to see the world get along with itself, and I need you, almighty Oracle, to tell me how I, a sixteen year old kid, can change the world for good.

The Oracle replies:

While there is indeed a lot of evil in the world, there are a lot of good things too - you being one.

To change the way in a big way doesn't necessarily mean you have to start big. I'm sure you have many concerns so how about starting with one issue and tackling whether you want to raise awareness, funds or add names to a petition to make a change.
There are websites worth checking out such as Change and Avaaz.
Look locally to see what you can do to make a difference as if there's something that can be transferred globally, it makes sense to start at "home".
It may be you wanting to affiliate yourself with a bigger organisation. Charities etc. are always crying out for volunteers.
Live Below the Line is an annual event that challenges people to live off £1/$1 a day for 5 days. It's a great way to highlight hunger and poverty.
Social networks are a good way to spread the word but require time & effort but to change the world does too and I am sure you've got what it takes.

Other areas that need help & attention are food waste, recycling, equality, human rights, animal welfare, caring for the community and rehabilitation. The list goes on.
You could organise events - concerts, stalls, games, fun runs, raffles etc.

Perhaps you could choose further education in a field that appeals to you e.g; environmental studies.
I would also recommend speaking to your local governor / council - they may be open to helping you.
Hopefully that will give you some ideas but in the meantime, keep thinking the way you do and treating the world & its inhabitants with respect.
"Be the change that you wish to see in the world" as Gandhi said (& I repeat here often!)
Over to you.

Well, Sam, it's actually spirit lifting to see someone so kind; it's very heart warming as well. But I actually think that no human has the power (especially at such an age) to unite the world and get rid of all evil. Not even the most powerful of humans is able to do so. Don't worry though, you can fix tiny things. Start out with how you act towards people. Some people are touched by random acts of kindness, and are actually motivated to doing something nice themselves. In your case, try to make groups of people (even if the number may be very little) and go out in your city. Help people, give the homeless haircuts (for free), help a blind man cross the street, help a woman carry her stuff, etc. Most people are easily touched, and even if the people who have actually been motivated by you may be a minority, those things that you do will make you feel better about yourself and the world. So go out there and do something nice! Solaf.

One word... Charity. The world today has no charity. No kindness. Everyone is selfish, mean and uncharitable, so if you want to change the world be kind to everyone and anyone you meet! It will be a hard task but if you really want this you will be able to do it!
Hope I helped!
Mollie U.S.A.

I agree with you, the world is a crazy place. Too big for one person to change. It's okay to feel small. Don't let your hopes down though. First start the change in you, correct your mistakes. But no one is perfect, so don't be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. You should try volunteering. If you really want to see the world get along with itself you can't just stand by and watch, right? Get up and do something about it! Take it one challenge at a time, one foot in front of the other.
Ease the sadness the people who are neglected, alone and living in a world that's filled with sorrow and pain. Once you have helped those people, the feeling is great. Being everything to the people you helped would make you feel contented knowing that YOU got rid of the evil in their world. So go help the needy, the homeless, and the people around you who are hurting.
You should also try to be a role model. Someone that people can look up to. Someone who people can see as an inspiration. That way, they can do good. The next thing you know, there would be more good than evil. There is a reason why evil is there. It's there so we can do the wrong things, and learn from them. It's there so we can learn how to fix our faults and do better next time. Good luck Sam! Rianna.

At sixteen you can change the world more than you think! Firstly, work out what kind of change you would like to see, then educate yourself as much as you can on that particular subject, then once you feel like you are aimed with as much information that you can absorb, look at causes that may help make the change you want. Small changes can often be just as power as big ones, for example, world peace, big huge massive change, but maybe you can just start by volunteering your time with a community group who are helping to change people’s opinions towards minority groups, or those with mental illness, or something else you may feel needs changing. Then, you can start to make small steps towards creating change for the greater good in the world. Who knows, you may go on to college, study in your area of interest, then work for a larger organisation to create global change later in life. But for now, look at things you can directly change for the good in the community around you. As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Best of luck! Mel, Australia.

As much as you think to make an impact you need to change the world massively, start small and everything will fall into place like dominos, like a lot of things you need to work your way up and change things you want to little by little.
Ronan, England.

You can change the world, simply by asking an upset stranger what's wrong - because all they probably want is someone, anyone - to listen to them, no matter who it is.
If we all did this, it would be a happier world.
That or spread God's love. LM.

I understand what you're talking about. Sometimes it's easy to feel small in this large world of ours. I've felt the same a few times in my life. As an 18 year old going into college, I have to buck up & prepare for everything that's ahead. My advice to you, set a goal. Whether big or small, set a goal & do your best to accomplish it. Then set a bigger goal. The feeling of accomplishment can be a big motivator & eventually you will start setting those world changing goals (or maybe even start with that if you feel really good about it). Also, be brave. If you have an idea for something, go for it. If it gets shot down or it doesn't happen, try & try again. Once you get your mind on something, nothing can hold you down. I wish you the best of luck, Sam! Austin.

Hey Sam, as I am 14 myself, I kinda understand what you're going through. The world is a big one, and for one single person to make a change is a big deal. My advice would be to stand up for what you believe in. If it's anything like, poverty loss, self harm awareness help or just simple love for cake just make sure that you can do something that makes the world a better place by doing it. Like right now, I am trying to start to help people who are having suicidal thoughts or feelings or who are wanting to self-harm because in my life I have been there and I know how tough it is for teenagers. Hope this helps! Live your dreams, Kate, U.K.

The best way to change the world is to find what you love and figure out how to spread it to others. There's nothing more powerful then wholeheartedly spreading the joy of something you believe in. It can be anything. There's no one problem with the world, but there are countless ways for anyone to make it better. In the end, the best way to change the world is to be the change yourself.
Ricky, NY, USA.

I also have the same problem! There are so many organizations out there that you can volunteer with, just check online and contact people in your community, whether it's your hospital or a non-profit. I know that Me to We has summer camps, they are really beneficial to helping you become a leader and give you skills to help you. If you have a part time job like a lot of people our age, you could save up for next year! Or even one of their volunteer abroad trips.
Fundraising at school can be really fun! I wish all the evil in the world could disappear too, but working against evil gives a chance for good people like us to work together! Get some people together, make a group in your school, and plan some events! Like Anti-Bullying Day in September, more info on Google, but wear pink and have some fun with it. This year our school is doing a "photo booth" where take funny pictures for the yearbook, as well as pledges to stop bullying!
Also, at Halloween, you can trick or treat for canned goods and donate them to a food bank! Me to We has a ton of great ideas like that, and so does Seventeen Magazine (their online site too).
You aren't small, you're amazing. Your mind and potential is bigger than anything you could ever know. I hope this helps and I wish you all the best for the future, you have amazing goals, never give up! Ava.

I felt exactly like this at age sixteen! My top three recommendations would be volunteering somewhere; food banks are always good and anytime you can give them will go towards helping someone who really needs it, fund raising in crazy costumes for a charity of your choice is also fun, and in school, mentoring someone younger then you (even at 16 you have a whole world of experience and help you can offer to someone who's younger then you and having a tough time!)
Hope this has helped, good luck! Florence.

I'm sixteen as well, and my opinion is that on my own, I cannot change the world. If there are more than 7 billion people on Earth, only one's behavior is meaningless. But the point is, that regardless how old we are, together we can make big things. Once I read about a boy our age who started a website in order to raise money to build wells in Africa, and he succeeded. I'm thinking about something similar.
Mica, Spain

Well, I know how it feels like. I was 16 once, and just like you, I really wanted to change the world (in a good way, of course). For a sixteen-year-old buddy all you can do is BEING NICE TO EVERYONE. I know it sounds simple-as-hell, but at least it is the best thing you can do for now. Who knows, maybe ten or fifteen years from now, some people that you've been nice at will have a power to give you a bigger opportunity to change the world. But hey, it doesn't mean that you being nice for a purpose, NO.
Well, for me, being nice to everyone means everything. Being nice doesn't only mean you give people what you need. It also means: you care and listening. Here, I think listening is the key. You have to know what people around you need, so you can help them properly. Make a change doesn't always mean that you have to make a huge invention like nuclear or something. When you find yourself in your way to help other people, it can also mean, "make a change".
I hope you get what I'm trying to tell you, and I hope you can change this world into a better place. Diana.

Changing the world is a topic we all like to treat, it is something that makes us want to be better persons, in the most empathic and humble way. But sometimes we forget, that to create a change, we must be the change. First you must change yourself, remember that we are not perfect, but we are perfectible. Be a better person that you were yesterday, then by being a better person you can share this with others, and they will want to change as well.
Changing for the best is not an easy process that is completed in one day, it takes a lot of effort and time.
We must remember that every decision you make is like throwing a rock in the water it won’t stop and one wave will make an other, that is why we must change in a very careful way.
Remember there is no age for change, it does not matter that you are sixteen or forty, as long as you be passionate and constant in what you are doing there is no failure.
"Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” - Rumi.

Do something what you like, dream on it. Live on it, no matter what. If you're asking how could be that things change the worlds, you know, many people prove it works.
If you like to singing, drawing, writing or even just traveling, do it, learn from that things, getting big from that and you'll see the biggest result from what you're doing on.
The key is to be more focus and put some of creativity, start simple.
You don't have to worry if it was just go with a little change for the worlds...it was still called changes. Rangga.

I'm a sixteen year old girl too so I know how you feel. Because I feel like that too! The best thing you can do, in my opinion, to change the world is to try to help people (anyone you can), do what you like to do and support all the causes you believe in. That's essential! And make the most of every opportunity you get in life. Change the world in a very big way may be hard but if you try to do what I said I think you can change it in your own way. Live and fight for it, always. Clara.

I've been pondering this issue a lot, ever since I was 14 (although I'm only 17 years old now so that's perhaps not too long in the grand scheme of things).
If you're looking for something to do right now, I'd suggest joining a project like It Starts With Us (itstartswith.us). They add you to a mailing list, and they send an email to you each week with a mission that you can do in just 15 minutes. The missions are simple things like "Write a letter to someone that is special to you" or "ask someone spontaneously if they need help". They might sound like silly little things that you'd find in a fortune cookie, but if everyone made an effort to do them, the world would be a much better place!
Meanwhile, if you're looking to change the world in the long run I would suggest working hard so that you can make changing the world your job. If you think books are important, become a writer. If you think learning is important, become a teacher. If you want to save lives, become a doctor. Just keep working towards your ideal world. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it! Tabitha.

I too, am sixteen years old. What I have learned from very personal experience is that the world will never be permanently changed. What I've also learned is that one person can make a substantial enough change where an impact can be made. There will always be evil, mischievous, vindictive people. As much as we would love to see it happen, not everyone is willing to stand out and do good things for others.
I've always pushed for "BIG IMMEDIATE CHANGES" but quickly realized it does not happen all fast and easy. I focused (and still continue to) on what I can do to show others that there are people out there that are willing to help. People say, "The little things can mean the most," I believe that is entirely true. A few months ago I saw a freshman sitting alone in a great big room in which he occupied the whole table to himself. When I asked the younger boy to come join me and my other friends at our lunch table the expression on his face was an immediate indicator that I did the right thing. Although completely different, we had so much in common. He constantly thanked me for what I have done and now I have a great friend from doing such a small act of kindness. A change is only going to be made if we find it in ourselves to make that change and I believe that we can do it. Jenna.

I think that a 16 years old person can change the world. Once upon a time, a kid named Trevor McKinney had an idea: do a favor to three people and those three people do a favor to another three people etc. With this story, we can notice that is not needed to be 16 years old to chance the world, because Trevor, had 12 years old. So, we can also notice that we can change the world independently what age we have. Ines.

I think the biggest way to change the world is to be yourself. Everyone is given their own special set of talents. It can be art, music, science or whatever. With those talents, you can give a positive influence and message to those around you, your community. You might feel like you don't have any talents but everyone has one. It might not seem like a talent to you but it can be to others. Being a positive person in this world is already changing it. You can influence those in your community with your positive spirit and they might spread it on to others creating a chain. It might not seem much but by helping your community, it does have a significant impact. I hope this helps and good luck. Sam, Indonesia

Change. It means to be different.
The world. It means the existence of humanity itself.
To change the world would mean to change the existence of humanity itself. You can't just "change" humanity just like that. No, it doesn't work that way. Do you know what needs to change in this world? It's the way humanity thinks. An example: is how we treat each other as humans, as equals. Another example: how the way you, me, and everyone else thinks. If you want to change the world, you need to do everything you can to stop blending in, and do all in your soul to stand out. I can't tell you in just 250 words on how to "change" the world- because it's like asking a 16 year old to define themselves in 250 words. They can't, I can't. You know, I have a story to tell you, but you said only 250 words. Someone once told me that at times, the world may seem like a sinister and unfriendly place, but to believe them when there is much more good in it, than there is bad. I think that they're right. Sierra.

Thanks to the overwhelming number of people who replied to this week’s question. There were so many that more replies will appear next Friday.
The Oracle is taking a break but a new Team Oracle question will be posted next week. Please check back then to help Nathan who is struggling to trust again after his divorce.