Letter from the Editor

Dear readers,

When we first decided (way back in January) to dedicate this issue to some of Florida’s young changemakers, we had no idea how much the world would soon need them. The past several months have upended our state, our nation, and the globe. No aspect of our lives has remained unaffected, and many of us are wondering, “What’s next?”

There is, of course, no single answer to that question. But this issue highlights some of the most creative and generous responses that your fellow Floridians have dreamed up so far. Feeding the hungry. Treating COVID-19 patients over the phone. Reading to kindergartners on Zoom. Registering teens to vote. Improving access to healthy food and medical care. You are listening, inventing, fighting—helping.

In the pages that follow, you will find these (and more) inspirational stories, alongside quizzes and resources designed to guide you in forging your own path. Wherever you’re headed, NEXT is here to help.

We have divided this issue into sections that correlate with the topics you’ve asked us about throughout the past year. In “Planning,” we have focused on what you can do while still in high school to best prepare yourself for the road ahead. If you’re off to college in the fall, check out “Learning” for useful information about tuition, accommodations, scholarships, and online learning. Worried about the challenges of adulting on your own? We’ve got you covered in “Living” with recipes and suggestions for health and happiness. Head over to “Working” to read about career options, growth industries in Florida, professional certification, and the non-profit sector. Each section also includes a profile of a Florida student working hard to make life better for their community, with a brief look at how they’ve been stepping up their game in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

These are remarkable times, and you are a remarkable generation. Speaking to high school and college students from all over Florida has been both humbling and invigorating. Your knowledge, passion, vision, and courage give me so much hope for the future.

I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next.

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