Nicolas Mintzer, 17, didn’t choose to volunteer the first time. His parents pushed him to donate time to various Simi Valley, Calif., organizations. Eventually, though, it become second nature.
“At first, volunteering wasn’t fun,” he said. “But, during my high school freshman year, it become a passion because I enjoyed it. I could make impacts in many areas.”
Now, the Santa Susana High School senior gives time and energy to many volunteer organizations. During the last three years, he’s worked with the Key Club, Simi Valley Youth Council, and For the Troops.
As Key Club Treasurer, he coordinates fundraisers and led a bracelet sale that earned enough money to pay for an additional year of private school for a Guatemalan child.
“It was so emotional to be part of something so amazing,” he said. “I get the privilege of going to school every day, and to provide that for him was incredible.”
Through the Simi Valley Youth Council, he and others work with city councilmembers to devise solutions to problems important to the youth community. Recently, he said, the Youth Council replaced Simi Valley school-ground grass with succulent plants to limit gardening and watering costs.
Additionally, Mintzer gathered donations for For the Troops, a non-profit group that creates care packages for overseas military. Throughout the past four years, he’s gathered toiletries, clothing, candy, and food for more than 100,000 care packages.
After high school graduation, Mintzer knows continuing to volunteer will require extra effort. But, volunteering is part of his daily life now, and he wants to find a way to stick with it.
“I hope to continue my volunteer work through college and later in life,” Mintzer said. “Hopefully, I can be a part of as many programs as possible and maybe start one about something I feel passionate about.”