Monday on 9NEWS, Kyle Dyer introduced us to two Denver teens who are spending the last few months of their high school careers trying to make a difference in world.
They are building a drone to donate to a national park in eastern Rwanda to help with anti-poaching efforts there.
And although their story is certainly inspiring we know they aren't the only young people with creative ideas and a desire to make a difference in the world.
Many people just don't have the resources or opportunity to turn those passions into action.
From competitions and funding for inventions to volunteer and service opportunities, here are just a few places you or your kids can start looking:
Camp Invention: Week-long summer day camp for elementary students. Local teachers lead programs that encourage kids to build, design and create everything from solar-powered bugs to zip line courses. They also offer after-school programs and a more in-depth invention project for older kids.
Rubber Band Contest: Akron Global Polymer Academy sponsors this yearly competition, which awards kids who create artwork or inventions that incorporate at least one rubber band. Students in 5th to 8th grade can enter each fall by mail.
Student Ideas for a Better America: The National Museum of Education also hosts a children’s invention competition. The ongoing contest award prizes each month for ideas for new products, ways to improve existing products, or even new ways to demonstrate educations concepts.
GE Fallonventions: Aspiring young inventors with cool and creative inventions have the chance to appear on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to show off their awesome ideas. Kids age 13 and up just have to submit a video of their creations on YouTube or Facebook using #MyFallonvention
Volunteers of America, Youth Volunteer Program: Kids age 11-17 who want to make a difference in their community can sign up to be matched with a variety of volunteer opportunities including working in schools, helping feed the homeless, and assisting seniors.
VentureWell: This company’s grant program gives college students with an idea for a product they want to bring to the market, the coaching and funding they need to get there. Teams of students can apply for grants during the research, development, or even marketing phases of invention.
Youth United Habitat for Humanity: Although you normally have to be at least 16 to volunteer with AlHabitat, the organization also have a youth branch for those 5-25. The younger kids who want to help make a difference can get involved raising money, assisting the work crew, and helping with office work, while those who meet the age requirement help physically build the homes.
Denver Zoo: Teens with a passion for making a difference for animals can apply to be a part of the Denver Zoo’s Zoo Crew. Volunteers spend their summers helping out with camps, educational programs, animal husbandry, or even the nutrition kitchen.
Mission Trips: Most area churches offer mission trips for youth to travel the world while volunteering in some of the neediest towns and villages. Contact your local church to see what they have planned and how to sign up.
Alternative Spring Break: Sponsored by Projects Abroad, this program offers college students who want to use their spring break to make a difference week-long service trips. High school students and professionals can also find travel service opportunities through Projects Abroad.
The Road Less Traveled: Another company providing travel service opportunities but this time for high school and middle school students. The programs take place in the summer and range from environmental and animal conservation to education to rebuilding efforts. One program even takes place at the Wolf Conservation Center here in Colorado!
InventionX: An education program designed to help teach students not only how to invent something, but also how to make that invention successful. The company provides lesson plans for schools as well as challenges and the InventionX Cup competition for students.
Science Olympiad: Making science into a sport, the Science Olympiad is a club and competition hosted through most area schools. Participants in grades K-12 can sign up to compete in teams or individually in a huge range of events, like electric car design, bridge building, and air trajectory.
Global Livingston Institute: Each year, the institute brings students on immersion trips to East Africa to learn about international development, economics, conservation, foreign aid, government, genocide and more. They also offer internships and leadership retreats.