Teen Launches Volunteer Website
Want to know where to volunteer? Go online!
When it comes to finding volunteer opportunities, many teens have difficulty choosing from a countless number of service organizations. That was the dilemma facing high school senior Margot Wilsterman in Massachusetts.
"I had always wanted to volunteer, but I never knew where to start," Margot said.
Finding an organization that is right for each person is the first "scary step" of volunteering, Margot says. But instead of being scared away from volunteering, she decided to create a website that would make things easier for herself and others.
To develop her site, Margot first studied other websites to see how they were set up. Then it was time to find organizations to put on the site. This was more difficult. Margot contacted the Cape Cod Foundation, a charitable group that serves the needs of the people of Cape Cod, and received enormous help from its vice president, Lisa McNeil.
"I was thrilled and so lucky to get in contact with The Cape Cod Foundation," Margot said. "I met with Lisa McNeil and she sent an email out to over 500 human service organizations!"
Margot received responses from about 40 groups interested in attracting teen volunteers. For each organization, she compiled a mission statement, age requirements, available opportunities, and contact information. Margot was then able to split them into orderly categories.
After months of development, Margot's website, www.capecodteenvolunteers.com, was finally complete. She launched it in the fall of 2009. Since then, Margot has been publicly recognized and awarded for her volunteer work by the Cape Cod Foundation. She has also received feedback from teens who have become active volunteers because of her website.
"I enjoy volunteering because of the great feeling you get after you know you have helped someone in need," says Audrey Kelleher, who has used Margot's site to find volunteer opportunities.
Margot has also heard from volunteer organizations and Cape Cod residents about ways to improve www.capecodteenvolunteers.com. Margot says she plans on using some of these ideas to further enhance her site.
"One suggestion that I will implement is to have addresses for each organization so volunteers and parents know how far they will have to drive to get to the organization," said Margot.
In addition, Margot believes she has personally benefited from her work on the site.
"I love meeting people and hearing from people who have used my website to get involved and volunteer for something they are passionate about," Margot said.
KIDS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Scholastic's newest team of Kid Reporters take a look at what young people around the country are doing to help out the less fortunate this holiday season in the Kids Make a Difference Special Report.
NEWS FOR KIDS, BY KIDS
Get the latest on national and international events, movies, television, music, sports, and more from the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.