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The teenage years can be very difficult for many as they are moving from adolescence to adulthood. It’s definitely worth paying attention to those teens in your life and making it very clear what a great job they are doing as they work hard to grow up.

National Good Teen Day is here as a reminder to get connected and stay involved in the lives of those teenagers!

History of National Good Teen Day

The concept of a teenager is actually a fairly modern one, starting in the middle of the 20th century. It was just toward the end of World War II, in the middle of the 1940s, that the term “teenager” was used to describe the youth of society. Marking the transition of children from adolescence to adult gives insight into this unique, sometimes stormy stage of life.

The teen years can truly be a confusing time in life for some young people. Modern science continues to reveal that the brains of teenagers are in flux and taking on all sorts of new and important changes. While teenagers can often get a bad rap, many of them are really great kids who are just learning how to function in the world, have fun and get ready to move into their lives in the future.

National Good Teen Day was founded by a group of students and teachers at the Salem City Schools in Salem, Ohio and it was first celebrated back in January 1992. The purpose of the day was to go against the stereotype of teenagers as problematic, but to recognize that each teen has something good that can be found in them.

And it is the recognition of this “good” in each and every teen that acts as the motivation behind National Good Teen Day.

By October of 1992, the United States Congress, together with president Bill Clinton, signed a joint resolution to make January 16 a day to encourage teenagers and focus on the positive qualities of America’s youth. Going forward, that day has been known as National Good Teen Day.

How to Celebrate National Good Teen Day

National Good Teen Day offers an amazing opportunity to focus on the positive aspects of the teenagers in your life. Take a look at some of these ideas for getting started with the celebration:

Show Appreciation to a Teen

Whether it’s from a parent, a grandparent, a teacher or a neighbor, National Good Teen Day is just the right time to connect with a teenager in your life and let them know how much they are loved and cared for! Whether this means taking them out for a cup of coffee, offering to shoot some baskets with them or just giving them a little note to say how great they are, just get creative about what might speak to them and allow them to feel encouraged.

Volunteer to Help Teens

Communities often have lots of different opportunities for volunteering to help teenagers. This might mean getting involved with a local tutoring program to give a boost to good teens who just need some academic help with school. Or it could mean signing up to volunteer with a local charity that works with homeless teenagers to help keep them off the street.

Make a Donation to a Charity Started by Good Teens

In observance of National Good Teen Day, one super idea might be to support a charity or non-profit organization that was started through the passion of a teenager. Check out some of these charities that were started by some exceptionally Good Teens:

  • Every Child Now. This youth-run organization was started in Canada by teen brothers Vishal and Ishan Vijay and a group of their peers when they were just 13 years old. After an inspiring trip to India, the founders of what is now a national organization wanted to help lift families out of the cycle of poverty. 
  • Ball4Good. Organizing and supporting sports events, this charity was started by Adom Appiah, who was first motivated when he was doing a service project for his 7th grade history class. The group holds sports events and the proceeds are donated to charitable causes. 
  • The Conan Fund. When 16-year-old Jacob Grosberg’s father died from suicide, Jacob decided to start a charity that would help raise awareness and funds for mental health advocacy. Jacob has been recognized for his charitable work by many national and international organizations. 
  • Vanilla Feeds Tomorrow. A passion for cooking with vanilla turns into a way to raise funds and support for people in need through this charitable organization. William Cabaniss was particularly bothered by the problems with food security, particularly at the height of the pandemic, and he decided to do something about it. So he began selling his own homemade vanilla bean extract and has raised thousands of dollars to feed the hungry in his local area.

Learn Fun Facts About the Teenage Brain

In honor of National Good Teen Day, perhaps take a look at some of the interesting bits of information that can lend insight into, and perhaps give some compassion for, the brains of teens:

  • The teenage brain is very resilient

    With lots of plasticity, the brain of a teenager can change, respond to its environment and adapt when it is challenged. This is great news for their ability to thrive and bounce back. 

  • Teens need more sleep than adults

    The teenage body and brain needs approximately 1-2 more hours of sleep each night than that of an adult – and it often starts later into the evening and goes later into the morning.

  • Teen brains are wired to seek reward

    This heightened desire for reward in teen brains, and a limited amount of impulse control in younger teens,  may mean that they are more willing to engage in risk-filled behavior, which also means they might need extra care and help with decision making.

  • Teen brains may be more vulnerable to stress

    Because they are still in the process of developing, the teenage brain might be more susceptible to stress-related mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

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