Nicole Shah, 16, of Springfield, Mo., a junior at Greenwood Laboratory School, co-founded a nonprofit organization made up of teen volunteers from five high schools and two colleges who have raised $75,000 over the past two years to benefit sick children and others with serious illnesses. As a kid, I watched my mother make an impact on the lives of those in need nearly every day, said Nicole. She made me realize how important giving back to my community is, and how I can make an impact. When Nicole and a group of peers got together to organize a local service project, Nicole realized the need for an organization that could give teens the opportunity to not only volunteer on an ongoing basis, but to become leaders in their community.
So Nicole and her friends launched a nonprofit called ETHIC (for Every Teen Helps Inspire Change). As president, Nicole recruits members, manages budgets, organizes fundraisers, and promotes the organization through social media, television, publications and a website. For their first project, ETHIC members worked with young patients to create paintings that were auctioned to raise money for pediatric care. They also raised money to buy a frozen beverage machine for a local hospital, to alleviate the pain of mouth sores that young cancer patients often develop when undergoing chemotherapy. In addition, the group created an event to pay for life-changing surgery for 10 patients from Nepal. Nicole said she hopes to start a chapter of ETHIC in her college next year.