Mission: Chain Reaction partners with 501(c)3 certified non-profit organizations in developing quality volunteer opportunities designed for teenagers.
A picture emerged identifying the needs of teenagers, and with that, Chain Reaction was born. The idea was that once teens were given the opportunity to impact their community, a chain reaction would occur.
Chain Reaction empowers teens in Escambia and Santa Rosa County to change their world through volunteerism.
Teens who volunteer learn about career opportunities they may not otherwise consider. They are introduced to fresh experiences that make their world more vibrant and interesting. Studies show that teens do better in school and take more interest in their community when they begin to recognize themselves as contributing members of society.
Chain Reaction regularly works with more than 90 non-profit organizations in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. Volunteers participate in a wide variety of activities with these agencies that change from month to month. On any day of the week, you can find Chain Reaction teens working with children and Alzheimer patients, building homes for low-income families, manning booths at local festivals, ushering patrons to their seats at the opera, and the list goes on.
Results: Chain Reaction began in 2003 with only 10 teen volunteers. There are now over 1100 teens who dedicate their time to making a difference in their communities and the lives of others.
We currently partner with 98 local nonprofits to provide quality opportunities to our volunteers.
We were recently awarded the Ronald McDonald House's Volunteer Group of the Year award.
Our teens have created their own youth-led service projects that address community issues involving the environment, organ donation awareness, elementary science education, homebound elderly, youth involement in the arts, homelessness and the care for Alzheimer's patients.
Local Board of Directors have asked our teens to come on board to help make decisions, including Manna, the Pensacola Opera, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Chain Reaction and the Council on Aging.
Many of our volunteers receive funding for college because of their volunteer hours. We've even had two of our seniors go to college on $150,000 and $200,000 scholarships!
16 teens were offered jobs on the spot at our 1st Annual Job Fair in March of 2009.
Our 1st Annual Teen Convention was held in July for 168 local teens. They were joined by 52 community leaders who spend two days teaching lessons on leadership and volunteerism.
Chain Reaction is an awesome volunteering organization. It's has got me more involved in my community, volunteering and helping others. Most importantly it has allowed me to volunteer at events that I want to and so makes the time more enjoyable. Also Chain Reaction has let me do what I love to do best, which is working with children.
My AmeriCorps VISTA year of service was for Chain Reaction. I was only months out of college, with a few paid internships under my belt, and I had no clue what to do with myself. That being said, I can’t even articulate how amazing Kristin Fairchild is. Upon meeting her, she asked about my strengths, and immediately found ways to use them in new and ongoing Chain Reaction projects. That meant I was able to stay in my field (marketing and graphic design) while continuing to expand my resume and portfolio. By the end of the year, I was far more confident in my abilities, had a resume full of legit non-profit work, and was ready to get a “real” job. Thanks to Chain Reaction, I know that no matter where I go in my career, volunteering will not be far behind.
So there’s my story. And here’s my behind-the-scenes look at Chain Reaction:
In the last few years this organization has managed to gather area youth from practically every school in the area and place them in thousands of quality volunteer opportunities.
In the same way Kristin looked out for me, she provides youth with opportunities and support. I 100% believe that her constant effort to stay in tune to the teenage brain is the key to this organization’s success. Prior to establishing new volunteer programs, she puts together focus groups of teens. In this way, she learns straight from the teens how to make each volunteer event the most fun. I’ve seen how her genuine interest in a teen’s opinion can transform an unmotivated high school student into an active leader.
The best part? Volunteer hours = money for college. And Chain Reaction tracks all of them. Online. That means volunteers and parents can access, download, and print hours 24/7.