Characters Unite

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Characters Unite Award Winners

Simone Bernstein

St. Louis, MO

Simone Bernstein is the Co-Founder and President of VolunTEEN Nation. Simone and her brother launched VolunTEEN Nation, a national youth-led volunteer-driven non-profit organization. Her work helps engage all youth in service-learning and volunteer service by providing opportunities, grants, and resources for youth to get involved in their communities.

With more than 8,500 volunteer opportunities on VolunTEEN Nation, more than 73,500 youth have found volunteer opportunities through the site and service projects. Since the site's establishment, young people have engaged in more than a million service hours teaching violin and guitar to students in low-income school districts, providing technology lessons to older adults, growing gardens to donate produce to food banks, and participating in a variety of other volunteer roles in their communities.

The organization guides and empowers youth to become actively involved in their community. VolunTEEN Nation offers free sports clinics for youth on the Autism spectrum, coordinates free after school music programs, and organizes STEM service learning activities, and intergenerational Teens and Tech workshops. As a military dependent she saw the limited reading materials available on military base libraries for youth. This year, the organization organized a national book drive to provide more than 15,000 books to United States military bases around the world.

Simone has spoken at numerous conferences throughout the nation, has a column at the Huffington Post, was a 2010 L'Oreal Paris Woman of Worth, is on the 2013 Forbes 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneur list, and is one of Glamour's 2013 Top 10 College Women. She is on the Board of Directors for Youth Service America and a State Farm Youth Advisory Board member. Simone also enjoys running park trails, chatting with friends at local coffee shops, and tweeting on @VolunTEENnation.