Six teenagers from Resurrection Parish in Lakeland gathered to found a new organization, 100 Teens Who Care Lakeland. The organization’s vision is simple, impactful, and powerful – that anyone, even youth, can make an impact. They hope to inspire the next generation of philanthropists by raising money for charity and, more importantly, getting teens involved in the community.
On April 19, the organization made their first donation resulting from their kickoff meeting that took place earlier that week. The $590 collected went to the American Cancer Society in Lakeland.
100 Teens Who Care Lakeland executive board consists of six teenagers representative of various Lakeland area high schools who are also parishioners from Resurrection Catholic Parish in Lakeland: Katie A., Anna E., Grace E., Caroline M., Anna T., and Erin V. Helping them are four adult mentors: Colleen Esterline, Amanda Estupinan, Linda Mason, and Michele Terlep.
Executive board member, Anna E. explains, “We were motivated to start 100 Teens Who Care Lakeland because we noticed a lack of teen opportunities in our community. We wanted to start something that could help others and allow teens to come together to achieve a goal.”
That goal is to encourage one hundred plus local teens (middle school to high school age) to make a collective $1,000 donation to a local charity in the Lakeland area four times a year. Teens gather and meet for one hour with each committing a $10 donation of their own money. Executive board member, Anna T. explained the process, “Three weeks before each meeting, each teen will nominate a local charity that they would like the donation to go to. Three of these nominated charities will be randomly selected by the executive board. These three charities will be presented at the meeting by the teens who nominated the charity. The teens will vote and the collective donations will be awarded to the charity with the most votes. This would mean a charity would get around $1,000 by the end of the meeting.”
The organization publicizes their meetings through local school visits, social media, and are in the process of meeting with community leaders to help communicate their vision.
Their kickoff meeting held on April 16, was a huge success and the hope is that more teens will join them in their September meeting. Anna T. described the feeling, “Our first meeting was an amazing experience, personally. Especially for just our first meeting. There were 49 students that attended, not including the six executive board members. Of the 49 attendees, there were 28 high school students and 21 middle school students. There were 18 different schools represented at the meeting.”
Through 100 Teens Who Care Lakeland, teen members will build a philanthropic mindset, learn leadership skills, public speaking skills, and social media/marketing skills in a fun, engaging way. By researching non-profit charities and presenting the needs of those charities to the group, members will take an active role in directly impacting the needs of the Polk County community. Members will learn how their donation impacted the specific charity when the winning charity is invited to the next meeting.
Anna E. adds, “As the organization grows and continues to develop, we hope to be a resource for local, non-profit charities. This includes contacting volunteers that may be needed or (possibly) donating money to the needed cause. Overall, we hope that we can help others, while meeting new people and pulling our Lakeland community together.”
Article written by Samantha L., an eighth grade student at Resurrection Catholic School, Lakeland. Courtesy photo.