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12 tips for teens on how to help the poor and needy

by Sound VIsion Staff writer

What can you, a teenager who doesn't have a lot of money or resources, do to help the poor and needy?

More than you think. Most young adults are blessed with the creativity and intelligence to find ways to help others despite limited resources. Here are some tips that can perhaps start the creative process:

1. Give a portion of your allowance each week to a poor and needy person or a cause in support of them

How much is your allowance or your salary from your part-time job? Not much, you might say. The great thing about giving though is that in about 99 percent of cases, you are not restricted to how much you can give to help the poor and needy.

That means for instance, instead of dishing out a dollar a day for a can of soda from the vending machine at school or work, maybe you can save this money two days of the week. Then give this money to the Zakat and Sadaqa committee of your mosque, a poor person you know in your neighborhood, a local soup kitchen or to a worthy cause abroad.

2. Encourage your parents to pay Zakat

Zakat is something too many Muslims neglect. If you are eligible to give Zakat, you must pay. If you aren't eligible, ask your parents about Zakat and if they pay, how and to whom. If they do not give Zakat, respectfully and politely emphasize to them the importance of this necessary pillar of Islam and encourage them to start paying it. Use wisdom and beautiful preaching.

3. Encourage a family Sadaqa (charity) project

Get the whole family to pitch in at least once a month to a worthy cause by organizing a family Sadaqa project. Call a family meeting (if you've never had one of these, this is a great time to start) and discuss your idea. Then come to an agreement on how everyone can help the poor. Whether it's contributing a set amount a week as a group with Dad giving the money to the Masjid after Friday prayers or setting up a box somewhere in the house where family members can privately donate, you all decide.

4. Talk about it in your youth group

What are the first steps in finding solutions to problems? Dua (supplication) then brainstorming and discussion.

At your next youth group meeting, put the difficulties of the poor and needy in your community on the agenda. Simply discuss and brainstorm. You don't have to come up with a plan all at once. But discussing this will start the process and keep it in people's minds.

If you don't have a youth group, get your friends together. Instead of having the usual hang out time one day, substitute this with a formal meeting. Now you have a youth group that can do this exercise.

5. Visit a poor part of town

How many big cities have "poor quarters"? Almost every single one. Sometimes, we need to see the reality of poverty right in front of us to really believe it's there, especially if we live in a financially well-off part of a city.

Go with your youth group to visit these areas. You don't have to necessarily bring money or food for them (although that wouldn't be a bad idea). Talk to the people, if they are willing to be approached, about living conditions and how they ended up there. Prepare yourself for an eye-opening experience.

6. Do a class presentation on poverty

Stumped about what to do for a school assignment? Why not talk about the plight of the poor in your community. Do your research thoroughly. Get statistics on poverty, real stories from books and perhaps even video- or audiotaped interviews of the poor and homeless. Show the human face of poverty. Follow the presentation up with a class collection for the poor.

7. Don't just collect money

There are plenty of basic necessities that people have to meet. Some people can't afford new shoes. So hold a shoe drive (some teens have already done this - read this link about it). Others cannot afford clothing. Hold a clothing drive. Collect the material, arrange for cars, vans or trucks to transport it to where it's needed, then make sure the material is properly distributed.

8. Write about poverty in your school paper

Have you got a knack for writing? Then write about poverty in your school newspaper. Educate your student body not just with words, but photos too, if possible. If you've visited a poor part of the city (see tips above), then you have plenty of material and personal material to write about.

9. Write about Zakat and Sadaqa in your Masjid newsletter

Does your Masjid have a newsletter? If so, dedicate the next issue to the topic of Zakat and Sadaqa and how they help the poor and the needy. You can interview an Imam to get the basics straight. You can also include various charitable causes readers can give their money to locally to help the poor and needy.

If you don't have a Muslim youth newsletter, maybe this can be your premiere edition.

10. Put the information on a website

If you put the above-mentioned newsletter or at least some of the articles online, you 'll probably have more young people reading it than if you limited the information to print only.

11. Collect money in your group

After your next group meeting, pass around a box to collect donations for the poor and needy. Better yet, make this a weekly practice. Make one person responsible for collecting the money and sending it off after consulting everyone on which cause it should be sent for.

12. Organize a youth seminar on poverty

Get a youth-friendly Imam or speaker to come and talk about how Islam has successfully fought against poverty in the past and can continue to do so in the present. Then, after his lecture, hold a workshop with participants and come up with 21 ideas of how the audience and Muslim teens in general can help fight poverty in America and abroad Islamically.


A JIHAD AGAINST POVERTY & WASTAGE:
See Page on Poverty
Statistics on Poverty & Food Wastage
Aisha, the Mother of Homeless in Chicago

Quran and Hadith on Helping the Poor
Jihad Against Food Wastage: How tos
9 Things Families can do for the Poor
Tips for Imams on How to Help the Poor
12 Tips for Teens on How to Help
Start a Zakat Clinic
Five Tips for your Zakat Committee

See our Money Page




Your Comments

mennah, hyderabad - wrote on 7/14/2011 7:37:49 PM
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Comment: that is excellent


jasmine, bankstown - wrote on 7/14/2011 7:35:29 PM
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Comment: that is excellent


jasmine, greenacre - wrote on 7/14/2011 7:34:33 PM
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Comment: that is excellent


jasmine, greenacre - wrote on 7/14/2011 7:33:55 PM
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Comment: that is excellent


jasmine, greenacre - wrote on 7/14/2011 7:33:11 PM
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Comment: that is excellent


jasmine, greenacre - wrote on 7/14/2011 7:32:40 PM
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Comment: that is excellent


jasmine, greenacre - wrote on 7/14/2011 7:31:35 PM
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Comment: that is excellent


Elisha, Ignacio, London - wrote on 3/15/2011 1:14:22 PM
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Comment: Yes, some people here are right. The rich people are very unfair, but if your like in the middle of rich and poor you can do many things and not just give the poor money. You can still pray for the poor. You can show them respect and try to show them what they deserve! If I were you i would adopt every single poor people and change their lifes! I would do that IF it is possible


Zarah Shiekh, Santa Cruise - wrote on 2/26/2011 11:38:28 PM
Rating: Rating

Comment: Never said what middle schoolers could do. That is what I need. I am way too poplular and cool for this boring stuff. It is really bad. I am shocked people actually like this. I have zero time for boring junk. I have to keep my place as the most popular kid in 6-7th grade. If I read this, I would so loose that privelage. Oh yeah..I am way cooler than any of these people!!


zena, belfast - wrote on 2/7/2011 12:03:46 PM
Rating: Rating

Comment: giving money isnt enough you have to do something physical ie visiting the poor or giving clothes :) WE NEED TO DO MORE


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