Tampa high school student motivates teens to volunteer

Something Good

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Emma Polinsky moved to St. Petersburg from a small North Carolina town, which can be difficult for some teens, but she’s learned to create a sense of community through volunteering.

The honor student and track runner at Boca Ciega High School went the extra mile, founding the “Students For Our Community” club to encourage teens to volunteer.

“There’s this disconnect between students and volunteer opportunities,” Emma explains, adding, “Pinellas County is full of opportunities.”

Emma and club members network with other students and explain the variety of ways young people can get involved, no matter their interests.

“I think there’s a slight barrier, in that teenagers feel like ‘that’s for adults’ or ‘I’m not qualified,’ but that’s not the case,” Emma said.

Since 2018, Students For Our Community has raised awareness about domestic violence, human trafficking, and environmental issues. As part of the latter, the club worked on school beautification projects and hopes to establish a community garden. Additionally, Students For Our Community members collected books for St. Pete libraries and participated in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree campaign.

For her efforts, Emma was one of four Tampa Bay area students selected to participate in Bank of America’s Student Leaders program over the summer. The national, paid internship program, conducted virtually this year, exposed students to the vital role nonprofits play in the community, and engaged them in conversations with national leaders in conversations focused on social justice, civil rights, and building a more diverse and inclusive society. Tampa Bay participants also worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast. Learn more about the Student Leaders program here. Applications for the summer 2021 Student Leaders program will be accepted beginning in November.


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