Inspiring Volunteerism – Simone Bernstein and VolunTEEN Nation

Thu, 07/18/2013 - 14:37

Dylan Simonsen

Simone Bernstein was an inspired twelve-year-old with a dream.  Now, she’s one of Glamour's Top Ten College Women and an esteemed member of the 2013 Forbes 30 under 30 list

A St. Louis native, Simone grew up in Clayton and attended Clayton High School before journeying outside of Missouri to attend St. Bonaventure University in upstate New York.  When Simone was 12, her father was deployed to serve the nation overseas.  Inspired by her father and his commitment to public service, Simone wanted to get involved in the community.  However, her desire to give back was thwarted by a lack of accessible volunteer opportunities for young teens.  The difficulties she faced as a resourceful teen on a quest for civic engagement illuminated a need and raised an area of concern:  How does a 12-year-old go about doing community service?  

Simone eventually found a children’s shelter that welcomed her help.  She spent a lot of her time playing with the children, and saw the impact that just one board game could have on a child’s life.  In 2009, with the assistance of her brother, she launched St. Louis Volunteen.  Simone’s mission was to help connect her peers with local organizations and kindle this spirit of volunteerism in fellow youth across St. Louis. 

As a student at St. Bonaventure, Simone continues to grow her organization.  In March of 2012, Simone took her St. Louis-based foundation to the next level by establishing—a national non-profit devoted to helping teens locate volunteer opportunities across the country.  The database matches visitors with organizations, based on the one’s location, age, and desired area of focus.  In just its first year, matched over 14,000 teens with service opportunities across the country.  Simone describes, “Every time a student emails me and wants to know how to get involved it ignites my passion for continuing to engage more teens in their communities and growing and developing the organization.” also uses Twitter (@volunTEENnation) and other forms of social media to promote and profile young people across the country.  The more than 50,000 tweets serve as a vehicle for encouraging teens to get involved and support the volunteer efforts of their peers across the country. 

To learn more about Simone and VolunTEEN Nation, please visit:  You can be the next volunteer!

To learn more about Dylan Simonsen, a volunteer in the St. Louis Graduates High School to College Center, read the VolunTEEN Nation blog story about him.