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Westchester Girl Earns $36K Award For Getting Fellow Teens To Give Back

Counting Cupcakes, a workshop started by a Purchase teenager,, helped create a rewarding business idea in more ways than one.
Counting Cupcakes, a workshop started by a Purchase teenager,, helped create a rewarding business idea in more ways than one. Photo Credit: Provided

Helena Zimmerman, a teenager from Purchase, was busy preparing a service project for her bat mitzvah when she paused to look at her peers and their projects.

Concerned that many teens lack meaningful ways to give back to their communities, Zimmerman co-founded TeensGive.org , a non-profit created for teens by teens that provides in-person and virtual volunteer opportunities for youth in underserved communities.

With the help of a $120,000 grant from Google, TeensGive.org has grown to 4,000 student members nationwide.

Through TeensGive, Zimmerman, who is now 16, is enacting real change in her community.

"Counting Cupcakes" is the latest initiative launched by TeensGive as well as the title of Zimmerman’s new book about entrepreneurship.

Returning to the roots of her original service project – coordinating a bake sale for a public school in Harlem, Zimmerman currently is focused on expanding the Counting Cupcakes program -- a workshop helping teen volunteers create a real-life bakery, while learning business and life skills they can teach to others.

Because of her inspiring work, Zimmerman is the recipient of a 2018 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award worth $36,000. The award recognizes 15 Jewish teens for their leadership and commitment to social good to make the world a better place.

Now in its 12th year, Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards have given more than $4 million to 114 teens Jewish teens who are tackling global issues and creating lasting change “to repair the world,” or tikkun olam.

The Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards were created by philanthropist Helen Diller – namesake of The Helen Diller Family Foundation. To learn more about the 2018 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, click here.

Zimmerman also has received grants from The E.E. Ford Foundation and was honored with The Prudential Spirit of Community Award.

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