When I received a follow request from @STLVolunteen, I followed back immediately. As a mother of a teen, I felt it was important to be in the know of volunteer opportunities for my son. But after chatting on Twitter, I found out not only was this the first type of site dedicated to local volunteer opportunities, but it is operated and updated by a local Clayton teen, Simone Bernstein.
I asked Simone if she would like to be interviewed for a feature on TheCubiclechick.com and she agreed! Here is the interview:
Thanks so much for taking the time out for this interview! So how did you think of starting an organization like this for St. Louis teens to volunteer?
I was frustrated that there was no online listing of volunteer opportunities for St Louis area youth. A few organizations offered paper guides, but I wanted to find a green, paperless, postage free way to share youth volunteer opportunities information. This summer I decided to buy a domain name and created st louis volunteen.com. Since I had little experience with the internet, there was a huge learning curve. Ultimately, I realized even a simple site could serve the needs of our community.
So I imagine you yourself like to volunteer as well. How did you start
I started volunteering at the Richmond Heights Library when I turned 12.
At 13 I signed up to volunteer at the St Louis Magic House. At 14, I started volunteering at The St Louis Crisis Nursery, I was fortunate to hear about these opportunities from other adults, but could not find a local website that provided a comprehensive listing of volunteer opportunities for kids. I try to volunteer on a weekly basis at the Crisis Nursery. I appreciate the opportunity to step outside my neighborhood and get involved in our larger community.
How has the response been to St. Louis Volunteen?
The site has received positive feedback from non-profits, schools, and students. The site has about 150 visitors per week. It is uplifting to hear that someone found a volunteer opportunity that matches their interests from StLouisvolunteen.com or the twitter site @stlvolunteen
What are your future plans, Simone?
I am 17 years old and a senior at Clayton High School. I am a strong student and balance my school work with running and community service. I also work part-time as an assistant teacher at my synagogue’s religious school. Not sure where I will head to college next year. I will have to wait until April to find out. I did apply to both Washington University and St Louis University. I plan to maintain the site while at college since all I need is a laptop and cell phone. Middle and High School students gain valuable skills when they volunteer. The benefits of volunteering are huge.
For more information on St. LouisVolunteen, you can check out the website at http://www.stlouisvolunteen.com. You can also follow Simone and the activities of St. Louis Volunteen at @stlvolunteen.
Congratulations to Simone for creating such a positive website that is doing wonders for the local community!