January 31, 2007

Teen volunteers get 'off the couch and on the job'

LAKELAND -- Online job hunters have their Monster, and Polk County students in need of volunteer work now have a Sweat Monkey. SweatMonkey.com, the internet creation of a 16-year-old Lakeland resident, will be introduced Thursday during an information session at Florida Southern College.

The web site aims to eliminate one frequent headache in the lives of high school students: finding volunteer opportunities to satisfy graduation requirements.

Founder Callahan Fore wants to make the process easier by having local non-profit groups post their volunteer jobs to the free site, which also will track and verify the number of hours served by individual members.

Fore also hopes that private businesses will use the site to attract teenage candidates for paying jobs. [....]

Sweat Monkey, whose slogan is "Off the Couch and On the Job," includes a board of directors comprised of Polk high school students and has already seen interest from entities like United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Volunteers in Service to the Elderly.

"Anything that makes it simpler to connect a person with a volunteer opportunity is good for the community," said Terry Worthington, president of the United Way of Central Florida. [....]

Use of Sweat Monkey is free to students, organizations and employers, and the site has applied for non-profit status.

No comments: