Empowering Teens to Repair the World

July 31, 2023
Lily Messing

Tucson, Arizona, USA

Class of 2024

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We all hear about the challenges that face our community, but as teenagers, it feels nearly impossible to make a difference in the issues that affect our loved ones, schools, and neighborhoods. This is why I founded 100+ Teens Who Care, a non-profit organization that provides teens with the opportunity to make significant, positive impacts in their communities. 

100+ Teens Who Care is a giving circle made up of high school students who donate $25 at quarterly meetings. For teens who cannot afford the cost of a membership but want to contribute to their community, there is a scholarship fund sponsored by local businesses and philanthropists. Students research and present three local charities at each meeting, and the organization that gets the most votes receives the combined donation. A representative from the selected nonprofit is invited to our next giving circle event to share the impact we were able to make on their organization.  

I spent my free time during the COVID-19 pandemic building a low-commitment yet high-impact community service opportunity for Tucson teens. Once the pandemic began to wind down, we were able to have our first meeting in November of 2021. To date, 100+ Teens Who Care Tucson has 220 members and donated more than $30,000 to worthy Southern Arizona nonprofits. 

With the success we’ve had in Tucson, I have launched chapters in other cities and am always looking for teen leaders eager to make a difference. Currently, there are 23 chapters of 100+ Teens Who Care across the globe giving teens the opportunity to impact their local community. 

In order to motivate teenagers to participate in philanthropic efforts, it is important to create incentives that are engaging. So, I founded an organization where giving back and having fun are not mutually exclusive. We host group bonding activities at the start of the event, and after the meeting portion, teens from all over the city get to know each other over food, drinks, and music. 100+ Teens empowers teens to make a difference––but also puts the fun back in fundraising. 

The primary goal of 100+ Teens Who Care is to demonstrate to teenagers that their age doesn’t limit the impact they can make. By breaking down the stereotype that teens are incapable of making significant change, we can empower young people to rebuild their communities. 

I am incredibly grateful to be a 2023 recipient of the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards. As part of this honor, I have been granted funds that will help grow and maintain 100+ Teens chapters globally. 

If you’re interested in joining a chapter near you or starting a chapter in your city, please email info@100twc.org and visit our website, https://www.100twc.org/. Several chapters have their own Instagram pages, so feel free to check out the 100+ Teens Who Care Tucson page, @100twctucson.

Each year, the Helen Diller Family Foundation recognizes up to 15 extraordinary Jewish teenagers from across the United States with an award of $36,000 each to honor their initiatives to help change the world. Learn more at www.dillerteenawards.org.

Lily Messing is a BBG from Arizona and loves playing tennis!

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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