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How this start-up is getting students involved in community service amid the pandemic

Virtual learning has become the new normal for students all over the U.S., but logging community service hours is still a graduation requirement for many high school students across the country.

Treedom is a platform that helps connect students with volunteering opportunities. Michael Kadisha, its founder and CEO, joined Yahoo Finance to discuss how the company links students to community service.

Kadisha says that prior to the pandemic all of Treedom’s volunteer opportunities were in person, but as the coronavirus began to fester, he knew the company would have to pivot.

“We realized that we had to build features and we had to promote an idea of service that is more self-directed, project-based, and more in-line with the interests and passions of the students at the time,” he said.

“What we realized through that process is if we can provide the tools for students to engage in their community, not only can they learn more meaningfully — because they can, we know that they retain 75% more information when they can actually put it into practice — but simultaneously they became active change-makers in their communities.”

Kadisha tells Yahoo Finance that these tools not only help students meet their volunteer service requirements but also better connect with their communities.

“They went out, they did shopping for our senior citizens, they convinced local restaurants to stop using single-use plastics, or at least be more conscious of it. And we think we mobilized our 45,000 students to get involved in their communities in ways that we hadn’t been thinking about before.”

Kadisha says that he sees excitement about the future among the people he’s worked with via Treedom.

“What we’ve seen from the students that we service is a very strong emphasis on their power and their voice and their contribution. They understand that the future is theirs. There’s no question about it ... That’s why we’re seeing them invest so much in climate change. It’s why we’re seeing them try to invest in their communities in ways that are quite inspiring,” he said.

“They’ve even organized groups to safely go door by door, trying to get their community to vote, and with that, I think we can be very optimistic about the future of our children.”

Kadisha says that the company is launching a “generation of Treedom” that will be available to all ages.

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.

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