Americans possess more than 200 million firearms. Each year about 640,000 violent crimes, including 16,000 murders are committed with guns, mostly handguns. Some people believe gun-control laws, which restrict gun ownership, can reduce the bloodshed. Others believe that guns help protect Americans and gun laws should be less strict.
What is SJ Engage?
SJ Engage is San José Public Library's program to inspire social action and local civic engagement of teens within their communities.
Benefits of Participating in SJ Engage include:
- Make a difference at your library or in your community.
- Earn volunteer hours learning about local and current civic topics.
- Connect with local non-profit organizations that align with issues you care about.
- Create a social action project with a Teens Reach group and make your voice heard.
What Do I Need to Do?
Start making a change by joining your library’s Teens Reach group!
Work with your library’s Teens Reach chapter to learn more about some of the civic topics below and help develop and implement an SJ Engage social action project.
The United States is the most diverse nation on Earth. It has been built by millions of immigrants coming to our shores from all the nations of the world. Immigrants have enriched our culture and contributed mightily to our economic growth. Countless numbers have put down roots and found new opportunities in the United States. The process has not always been easy. As newcomers, immigrants have faced poverty, prejudice, hostility, and even violence. The United States has long struggled in its relationship with its immigrant communities throughout history; and the "nation of immigrants" faces yet another turning point today.
In November 2014, the National Center on Family Homelessness reported that one child in every thirty—or 2.5 million children in the U.S.—were homeless at some point in 2013. Many advocates blame the country’s high poverty rate on a lack of affordable housing, among other causes. Even though the child homeless rate is at an all-time high, people who are homeless are typically hidden away from the general population and many young people are not aware of the issues of homelessness, unless they are homeless themselves. In addition, there is a lot of misunderstanding by the general public about who is homeless and the causes for homelessness. As a society, we often have a stereotypical view of homeless people (e.g. alcoholics, drug addicts, dangerous, mentally ill) and there is a profound stigma around being homeless in the United States.
Most people believe that mental health conditions are rare and “happen to someone else." In fact, mental health conditions are common and widespread. An estimated 54 million Americans suffer from some form of mental health condition in a given year. A mental health condition is a condition that affects a person's thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone's ability to relate to others and function each day. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis. Recovery, including meaningful roles in social life, school and work, is possible, especially when you start treatment early and play a strong role in your own recovery process.