Headshot Photo of Jake Bernstein
2013 Award Recipient


Project VolunTEEN Nation

Location St. Louis, MO

Issue Area Philanthropy

Inspired by the overwhelming volunteer support his family received during his father’s military deployment, Jake developed a passion for volunteerism at a young age. However, Jake found that very few volunteer activities existed for tweens and teens. To create more opportunities, Jake recruited his peers to lead one-on-one sports clinics for more than 575 youth with special needs—starting with one tennis clinic and growing it into an ongoing initiative that is spreading across the country.

Through his success with the clinics, Jake and his sister created a nonprofit and website, volunTEENnation.org, which connects teens with available volunteer opportunities and encourages organizations to allow teen participation. Countless teens contribute to the website, promote volunteer opportunities, and are involved with its ambassador and intern program. Through social media, volunTEENnation has connected with local, national, and international schools and nonprofit organizations.

I want my peers to realize that we all can make a difference and have the power to create change.

Jake Bernstein
“It is never too late, too early, or too often TO GIVE BACK AND MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE”
Helen Diller