Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why St. Louis Should Vote for Simone

Those of you on Twitter are almost certainly aware of the ongoing "Vote for Simone" campaign.  This post is for my millions (and millions!) of readers who are not on Twitter or otherwise haven't heard about Simone's contributions to St. Louis.

Simone Bernstein is the 18-year old founder of St. Louis Volunteen, a comprehensive online database of St. Louis volunteer opportunities, geared toward matching youth volunteers with the service needs of charitable organizations.  Simone also has focused on opening up volunteer opportunities to youths under 18, which are typically limited due to safety and liability issues.  Using her website and social networking sites like Twitter, Simone posts volunteer assignments and promotes a variety of charitable causes.
 
Through St. Louis Volunteen, Simone's efforts have resulted in placing more than 1,500 area students into volunteer opportunities.  In addition, almost fifty St. Louis organizations are now willing to consider volunteers under the age of eighteen.  Simone also was instrumental in organizing the First St. Louis Youth and Family Volunteer Fair, which connected over 25 organizations and 500 interested volunteers at the Magic House.

Simone has now been named a 2010 "Woman of Worth" by L'Oreal Paris, which recognizes Simone as "an inspiring volunteer, an outstanding achiever, and a beautiful person who's making a difference in her community."  She already has received a $5,000 award for her charity of choice, and is in the running for a $25,000 award if voted as the Woman of Worth National Honoree.

In Simone's own words:  "I was fortunate to be selected as one of 10 females throughout the US for the L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth award.  I am one of the youngest honorees and the only one from the Midwest.

L'Oreal Paris has donated $5,000 directly to continue providing funding for future Youth and Family Volunteer Fairs at the St. Louis Magic House.  The next Youth and Family Volunteer Fair will be Sunday, April 10, 2011.  The event is a great way to promote and share an organization's mission with the community.

I have a chance at winning a huge grant of $25,000. I would like to put those funds to use for funded summer volunteer enrichment programs for inner-city youth. Middle and upper class kids are encouraged to volunteer, but transportation and finances make it more challenging for inner-city youth.  ALL funds will go back to programs that focus on youth." 

Simone named the following organizations as ones that "are passionate about helping youth and utilize youth volunteers," and that she would like to help with her grant proceeds if she wins:  St. Louis Crisis Nursery (@StlCrisisKids); St. Louis Making Music (@Stlmakingmusic); the Education Exchange Corps (@EduXchangecorps); Scope Missouri (@ScopeMO); and the Danforth Center's World Food Day.
 
Simone has done a lot for the greater good of the St. Louis communityparticularly for an 18-year old.  Her efforts should be encouraged and rewarded. Let's all take a few seconds and return a good deed to her, and help her become the National Honoree by voting (and asking others to vote) for her.

Unlike some contests, you only have to vote once (per e-mail address), and it literally takes only a couple of seconds to vote.  Voting ends on November 24th.  The Women of Worth honorees will be recognized at a dinner in New York City on December 9th, at which the National Honoree will be announced. 

Vote for Simone!

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