Jared Cohen believes that teens have the power to change the world. The Davie, Fla, resident founded Communiteens in 2015 to make community service more accessible to his peers after realizing that many of them saw it as a tedious chore required to graduate high school. “I began Communiteens to make community service meaningful and fun, hoping that participants will gain something valuable from the experience of volunteering,” Jared said.
Communiteens has more than twenty volunteers spread across four chapters, including groups located in Weston and Fort Lauderdale. Some activities they’ve been involved in include: gathering more than a thousand toiletry items in Fort Lauderdale and South Carolina that were sorted and distributed to homeless shelters; decorating more than 100 medals for cancer patients in collaboration with We Live Together; and sorting more than 700 stuffed animals in partnership with SAFE, Inc., which distributes the toys to opportunity youth.
Communiteens empowers teens to take on leadership roles, encouraging its chapter presidents to create a board, utilize social media for promotion, and use a customized toolkit that shows them how to identify and reach out to local community resources. “…teenagers can lead and add value to any area of the community,” Jared said. “I think teenagers are ready to be given larger roles and use current technology (i.e. social media and texting) to create campaigns to gather other teenagers [to volunteer].”