Zach Wolfson is a student at Franklin High School who wants to bring teens together for a common purpose- to help other teens in need. With a passion for public service, Wolfson founded an organization called Threads of Care, which aids poor and homeless teens in Nashville. To make his organization a success, Wolfson has the help of “Ambassadors” in local schools. We spoke with Wolfson to learn more about what inspired him to start Threads of Care and how other teens in the area can become involved. To learn more about Threads of Care or to become an “Amabassador” at your school, visit the Threads of Care website.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a Junior at Franklin High School in the International Baccalaureate program. I’ve been involved in Cross Country and Track since my Freshman year. As a Cross Country Team Captain this year, I’m excited about leading the team and inspiring younger runners. I’m also active in Speech and Debate, Global Issues Network, a club that focuses on issues around the world as well as Mock Trial, because it gives me a better understanding of how our legal system works. On weekends, I work at Let it Shine as a youth athletic facilitator. My goal is to pursue a career in public service.
What inspired you to found Threads of Care as opposed to taking part of the many other organizations in our area that serve the underprivileged?
During a tour of the Oasis Center as a 7th grader, I discovered that poor and often homeless Nashville teens were in dire need of warm winter coats. After running successful coat drives during my 8th-10th grades, I thought’what can I do to make a bigger impact?’ So I decided to share my love of service with others my own age and create a community of teens helping local teens less fortunate.
Can you share with us the details of starting an organization like Threads of Care?
It’s a lot more difficult than it seems; first you must identify a need that’s not being met in the community. In our case it was clean clothing for teens and their families. This brainstorming led to the creation of Threads of Care. So I came up with a name that describes what we do. Our motto is “Teens Helping Teens, One Thread at a Time.” Next, I created the Threads of Care website. Over the summer I developed the process and tools needed to roll it out. As Franklin High’s Hugh O Brian Youth representative, I attended, along with 97 Tennessee sophomores, the HOBY leadership conference in May. From there I began to build a team of teen ambassadors to help implement the Threads of Care program. After that, I established distribution partnerships with the Oasis Center and Soles4Souls. I’d also like to connect with Rocket Town in Nashville.
You mentioned Teen Ambassadors, how many Ambassadors do you have in the area?
Currently, we have 10 ambassadors in Tennessee and 1 in Georgia. High schools with Ambassadors in Wiliamson County include: Franklin, Ravenwood, Brentwood and Independence. We are still looking for Ambassadors at Page, Summit, Nolensville and Centennial High as well as teen leaders in many of the private schools.
What are the responsibilities of a Teen Ambassador?
Their responsibilities include starting and running a clothing drive at their school during both the winter and spring. They can promote the drives in their school using the Threads of Care Tool Kit. To entice students to donate, the Ambassadors would acquire gift cards donated from local businesses to raffle as rewards for students who donate. Because we have distribution agreements with the Oasis Center and Soles4Souls, the ambassadors then bring their school’s donations to these locations.
How many organizations do you work with and what is your role in those organizations?
Currently we have partnered with the Oasis Center and Soles4Souls. Our role is to act as a broker, bringing school donations together with local teens in need. This is a great way teens can give back locally.
What would you like to see Threads of Care accomplish this school year?
This school year, our goal is to have a total of 25 ambassadors, so that we can collect 25,000 pounds of clothing, shoes, blankets etc. We are also accepting donations, simply go to the Threads of Care website, and scroll down to the bottom of the website to make a contribution. Every little bit counts especially when it comes to America’s future.
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