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TN Teens Take 21st-Century Approach to Community Service

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Young Tennesseans are joining others around the world to engage in community service online. (DoSomething.org)
Young Tennesseans are joining others around the world to engage in community service online. (DoSomething.org)
January 12, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A growing number of Tennessee young people are finding community-service opportunities online.

DoSomething.org is one portal that offers projects focusing on everything from hunger and violence to discrimination.

Historically, the organization found its home in traditional school clubs that held in-person meetings, but talent relations manager Dezmon Gilmore says it is finding better ways to reach the technology-focused generation.

"What we realized is that this generation is involved, and they have more access, because of the amount of time they spend on the internet,” says Gilmore. “We saw this unique opportunity to take it from this closed group of young people who were in these clubs in schools, to scale that to give more access to even more young people."

DoSomething has more than 3,100 members in Tennessee. Projects range from baking cookies for firefighters to raising money for children in need in other countries.

According to research from the University of Nevada , youth volunteering has increased steadily over the past 10 years, with 30 percent of youth participating in volunteer activities at least once a month since 2000.

Gilmore says the organization works hard to make sure projects are accessible to all people.

"We try to make it so that they don't require an adult, don't require any money, and they shouldn't require a car,” he says. “That way, any young person, no matter where you are or how much money or time you have, can feel empowered to take an action in your community."

Internationally, DoSomething.org membership has increased from just over a million when it sponsored high school clubs, to more than five million young people.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN