Through VolunTeens.com and Review-a-New, Melissa and Jordan Milich hope to change the face of community service in South Florida. The Milich twins have been diligently at work expanding, enhancing and maintaining a website devoted to high school students looking for volunteer activities and creating a program devoted to recycling college test preparation material. The site, www.VolunTeens.com, meets the needs of the youth, the volunteer organizations, and the community. High school students in Broward and Palm Beach counties have community service hours to fill; yet many teens have little idea how or where to volunteer. The site promises to be a “one-stop” for students in search of age-appropriate and interesting volunteer opportunities. VolunTeens.com lists organizations seeking teen volunteers in a variety of areas including children, the elderly, the environment, animal care, government, health care, community-wide events and many others. Information is updated regularly and each posting includes a description of the group’s mission and contact information for its volunteer coordinator. The website also features details about the community service requirements for public and private schools, a calendar of upcoming events, a quarterly VolunTeen profile and other features. By posting their volunteer opportunities on VolunTeens.com, the site helps organizations attract a new market of young, energetic volunteers, promote awareness of their existence, and provide a resource to locate large numbers of volunteers.
Originally created in 2001 by their twin teen neighbors as an outlet for opportunities in south Palm Beach, Melissa and Jordan have devoted their efforts to expanding the site with hopes that it will help teens from both their home and school areas find ways to connect with their communities. They want their peers to use VolunTeens.com to find the right opportunities to match their schedules, skills, and interests in an effort to maximize their impact on, and build strong ties with their community.
This innovative website is distinguishable from other volunteer sites because it is for teens, by teens and devoted exclusively to helping teens help others through community service. In maintaining the site, the 17-year old Boca Raton twins spend hours searching for volunteer activities and events that they know teenagers would enjoy. For today’s computer savvy teens, a simple “click” on the teen-based VolunTeens.com may hold the key to unlocking a new generation of “volunteens” eager to serve.
In addition to VolunTeens.com, Melissa and Jordan created Review-A-New, an ongoing program at their Fort Lauderdale school for the collection of used review books and study guides for the standardized SAT, SATII, ACT, and AP exams. The twins noticed that most of the review books, which cost between $15-$50 each, were routinely discarded by students once the exams were taken. Through their combined efforts, these valuable college preparation review materials were donated to a community study center visited by needy high school students. The Milich twins have also tutored elementary school students at a local library, collected used sports equipment for the needy, coached a youth basketball team, and participated in other service activities.