A lifestyle of volunteerism is how the Leath family works. For sisters Brooke and Gracelyn, volunteering started off as a fun way to give back to their community and spend time with friends. However, after one event with their brick-and-mortar school, the sisters found a unique interest in giving back.
After expressing to their mother, Dr. Nancia Leath, their desire to help others she encouraged them to search for opportunities to volunteer. Now, the Georgia Cyber Academy (GCA) alumnae sisters run their own non-profit organization, Teens Helping Other People, or TeenHOP.
The mission of TeenHOP is to empower and aid children and adults to volunteer within their communities. The non-profit provides a way for members to track their service hours, participate in volunteering opportunities, and attend leadership camps. They also provide members with mentors and mentees who promote positive social relationships.
“Through TeenHOP, youth develop into mature leaders with a heart for their community by volunteering,” Brooke explained.
Though the sisters started TeenHOP in brick-and-mortar school, they, and their brother, soon switched to online learning. The move allowed them to focus on both their education and developing the organization. Once the siblings were enrolled in online learning, they were able to commit more time to the development of their organization on a national scale.
“Online learning gave us the opportunity to pursue both our studies and volunteer without being restricted by our schedules. We were even able to travel around the country for TeenHOP chapter introduction meetings,” Brooke said.
Even though TeenHOP is now a nationally recognized organization, the Leath sisters still try to make time to be on the frontlines. One of their favorite things about volunteering is interacting with those they are helping and witness their impact first hand. And with the growth that TeenHOP has experienced, they still make sure to meet those they help.
TeenHOP has even turned into a family affair. With Gracelyn and Brooke now away at college and focusing on their studies, their mother Nancia and younger brother Titus, a current GCA student, typically handle the day-to-day operations of the organization.
Titus plays a key role. In addition to attending TeenHOP events, he is a spokesperson and logistics leader for the organization. In his role as Sargent of Arms, Titus sometimes opens and conducts meetings.
He also participates in programs hosted by TeenHOP, including the 2017-2018 Self-Development Program and the Leadership Gavel Club.
For Titus, the opportunities he’s had through TeenHOP are helping him to become a better person. Now he knows the importance of helping others in his community while gaining valuable leadership experience. And his family is taking notice of the results.
“I am seeing Titus develop into a young man of the best character,” Brooke said.
As for Titus, he hopes his work with TeenHOP helps people to know they aren’t alone and someone cares about them, too.