Teens serve the community

Almost a year ago, 100 Teens Who Care Lakeland was introduced to the Lakeland community. The teens’ mission is to come together to raise money for local charities. At the beginning of each meeting, every member gives $10 to the organization. That money is then used for donating to selected charities. Charities are nominated by the teens who must convince their peers that the money being donated would help benefit the community. After all presentations are made, it is put to a vote and the winner leaves with the money raised.

The six high school founders of this organization work hard to run it, and are all under age 18. As a proud ambassador for this truly unique and wonderful organization, I was able to interview Anna, one of the founders, about how she is able to run an organization in her sophomore year.

Mia: So, who or what gave you the idea to start 100 Teens Who Care Lakeland?

Anna: My friends and I have always been into the idea of service, and we realized that there weren’t a lot of opportunities for kids/teens to get involved in Lakeland, so we did some thinking and one of the mentors helped us come up with an idea that allows other teens to become involved.

Mia: You and your friends have formed an organization that is well-known all around town. Did you think, in the beginning, that it would be as big as it is now?

Anna: We weren’t really positive how much of the community we would reach, but we’re really happy with the outcome and are hoping to continue to grow more!

Mia: It’s amazing how you have been able to reach out to the community so well in less than a year! How do the organizations you support become nominated?

Anna: People are always able to nominate their organization over our website. All they have to do is fill out a nomination form on the website or at one of our meetings. Their nominations should be submitted three weeks in advance of our following meeting because we randomly select three nominations and contact the presenters about two weeks before the meeting.

Mia: How are you guys able to be so organized with 100 Teen Who Care Lakeland on your plates and high school? I am sure it is very hectic!

Anna:  It’s really hard! We always strive to plan in advance and have several meetings with the teen executive board, mentors, and (sometimes) the ambassadors prior to our larger meeting. We are always discussing ways we can improve our organization and always striving to make it better. Our big team (teen board, mentors, and ambassadors) really helps with that. We still aren’t perfect, but I think that’s an important part of who we are because our goal is to make the community better, not completely perfect, and I think that’s a great goal for us!

Mia: Do you see yourself continuing to be a philanthropist as an adult?

Anna: I’m not really sure. I do know that I’m positive that I’ll always want to get involved in giving back, but I guess we will have to see if it’s more service, fundraising, or other types of volunteering oriented. Maybe even both!

Mia: Of course, many people are never interested in pursuing philanthropy, and you are doing it at such a young age! What was the most challenging part of putting together the cooperation?

Anna: Setting up the ideas of the organization was really hard because we had to figure out exactly what we wanted to do, be known for and how we wanted to do it. It was a little difficult in the beginning to settle on an idea that we all completely agreed on, but eventually we got it!

Mia: When did you get the idea to start all of this and how long did it take to make it official?

Anna: We started the idea late last year (2017) and started developing it as soon as the new year hit… until the first meeting (April 16, 2018).

100 Teens Who Care Lakeland not only benefits local organizations, it helps grow and develop teens into philanthropists. I am so proud to be an ambassador for 100 Teens Who Care Lakeland. I am proud to be able to join with teens and make the world a better place, step by step!

Your teen has the ability to join 100 Teens Who Care Lakeland. Just fill out the online application at 100whocarelakeland.org, turn it in with your $10 at the meeting, and you are officially a part of 100 Teens Who Care Lakeland! The new year brings great opportunities. Why not start it off by joining this amazing organization? If six teens can make such a big impact, surely you can too.

Mia is an 8th grade student at Resurrection Catholic School in Lakeland.