If you want to beat the February blues, Taylor Quinn has a simple suggestion.
Make a pledge between now and month's end (no money is involved) to help create positive change locally and globally.
Whether you commit to volunteering at a local food bank, challenging misinformation about the spread of HIV/AIDS, or only eating local food for the month of February, Quinn encourages you to sign up via the Active-8! Campaign.
The Dalhousie University student was selected as one of two Nova Scotia youth ambassadors for the campaign. Halifax resident Kyle Warkentin is the other Nova Scotian, with the remaining six coming from the other Atlantic provinces.
Spearheaded by the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation, the initiative encourages individuals and groups to make online commitments of action to create positive change. It also kicks off with International Development Week (Feb. 3-9).
"During the month of February, the eight youth who are part of the Active-8! Campaign will use their own initiatives to try and inspire as many Atlantic Canadians as possible," Quinn said. "A whole lot of small actions can add up to make a huge difference."
This is the fourth annual Active-8! Campaign. Quinn said the last 24 ambassadors who served over the past three years have inspired more than 11,000 positive actions. The youth ambassadors are selected for their active roles in social justice and environmental sustainability issues.
Quinn, an international development studies student with a passion for social entrepreneurship, has spent summers working in East Africa. His many initiatives include starting a small non-profit movement in Vancouver and a Halifax community-based summer camp business to teach computer and tech skills to kids.
He is also a recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.
"My personal goal for the month of February is to get 1,000 people to pledge online on paper their commitments for change," Quinn said.
"The main goal is to get people to look at my story and the other amazing youth stories and to make their own commitments to change small or large to help make Atlantic Canada a better place."
A sampling of possible actions to help the Active-8! Campaign:
I will only buy products produced in places with minimum wage standards that support a liveable income
I will raise funds to support an organization that provides educational materials and support for disadvantaged children
I will volunteer my time as a peer educator
I will challenge sexist stereotypes whenever I hear them to help change attitudes about women's role in society
I will support an organization that provides medical support, training and services to people in rural areas worldwide
I will eat less meat
I will take public transit and carpool whenever possible to decrease fuel emissions and climate change
I will host a screening of a documentary that addresses climate change, food security, water sanitation, industrial impacts on the environment, or species diversity and share what I learn with others
I will talk to someone who has volunteered or worked in the majority world about their experiences and how I can make a difference