Place of birth:St. Louis, MO
When their dad was deployed, the outpouring of support their family received from the community ignited the desire to volunteer. It was difficult for Simone and Jake to find volunteer opportunities for youth under age 18 due to safety, security and liability concerns. No website existed that showcased volunteer activities for youth in their community. In July 2009, Simone created a regional youth volunteer website database and organized annual St. Louis Youth and Family Volunteer Fairs. She also developed programs to serve the needs of the community. Frustrated with the limited opportunities for youth in her community, Simone met with non-profit administrators, government officials, educators and religious leaders to find ways to encourage non-profits to engage and include youth under age 18 in service projects. Simone and Jake launched VolunTEEN Nation in March 2012.
VolunTEEN Nation as a platform to connect teens with service projects (http://www.VolunTEENnation.org). The site lists more than 8,100 volunteer opportunities. Since the site’s establishment in 2009, more than 73,500 young people have engaged in more than a million service hours teaching violin to students in low-income school districts, providing technology lessons to older adults, growing gardens to donate produce to food banks, and participating in a variety of other volunteer roles in their communities.
Young people have an important role to fulfill as advocates for social justice. VolunTEEN Nation helps youth foster and develop the skills we need to improve our world: empathy, change-making, leadership, and teamwork skills. VolunTEEN Nation helps youth easily connect with volunteer opportunities in their community and offers resources and support to advocate for social justice.
Simone and Jake have spoken at numerous conferences throughout the nation. Simone has a column at the Huffington Post, was a 2010 L’Oreal Paris Woman of Worth and is one of Glamour's 2013 Top 10 College Women. Jake and Simone were both honored to be listed on the 2012 Forbes 30 Under 30 social entrepreneur. In 2011, Jake was selected as a finalist for The NASCAR Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award.