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100+ Teens Who Care on a mission

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Board members of 100+ Teens Who Care Tucson (pictured from left to right are Paige Blair, Nathaniel Dyson, Ashiana Sanan, Ted Roberts, Lily Messing, Audrey Juneman, Alexis Saffer, and Bodhi Sethi) are recruiting high school students from throughout Tucson for a giving circle that will donate at least $2,500 quarterly to local charities.

The giving that goes around will come around this week for a group of local teenagers who make up 100+ Teens Who Care, a giving circle on a mission to donate $2,500 to a local charity every three months.

“One reason we started this group is that if you donate $25 to a nonprofit by yourself, it doesn’t seem very meaningful because there isn’t much a charity can do with just $25. If you pool it with $25 each from a group of like-minded teens, you can make meaningful change,” said Lily Messing, 16, founder of the group that will hold its “First Big Give” from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday at Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa, 245 E. Ina Rd.

Messing, a sophomore at The Gregory School, was inspired after attending a Big Give for 100+ Women Who Care with her mother and grandmother last year. 100+ Women Who Care was Tucson’s first giving circle, a concept through which donated money is pooled and gifted to a local charity chosen by the membership on a quarterly basis. To date, the group has donated more than $485,000 to 23 charities chosen from a vetted list of 70 nonprofits nominated by members; each “Big Give” includes presentations on three charities prior to the vote to promote awareness amongst members.

The teen group will support charities from the same list and the First Give will feature presentations on Beads of Courage, Casa de los Niños, and Ronald McDonald House of Southern Arizona.

The group is committed to bringing diverse cultures and backgrounds together for the project: A board comprised of 13 students has visited local high schools and recruited 100 students from Catalina Foothills High School, The Gregory School, Sabino, Salpointe and University High School; membership is not capped and they hope more students will join the giving circle.

The board set membership at $25 per quarter — $100 annually — and scholarships are available for any youth in grades nine through 12 who want to participate.

“We are really just hoping to introduce as many teens as possible to philanthropy and ignite their interest in giving back to the community,” said Messing, who has volunteered ever since she can remember at the encouragement of her parents.

She said that starting 100+ Teens Who Care has been an amazing learning experience and she is excited to see how the group will make a difference in the community.

“To me, our goal on this earth is to leave it better than we found it, and this is an opportunity for teens throughout Tucson to come together and do good works while having fun. If everyone had that mindset, I know we could leave the world an even better place,” Messing said.

Contact freelance writer Loni Nannini at

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