MARYSVILLE A pair of local college students are trying to be the spark in the next big thing.
For Rick Lawson and Valery Tolle, the goal is to create a switchboard that will allow people looking to serve their community to hook up with individuals or organizations who need their help.
Both are local high school graduates studying at Western Washington University who want to make a difference in their world before they even graduate. They started Change Quick about 18 months ago to serve as a clearing house for people looking to volunteer or contribute to their community. Changequick.org is their Web site where people can find others with similar interests or needs. Lawson and Tolle are working with a couple of local groups who are also trying to help the many social service and civic clubs in the area. Their Web site just went live last month and they are working toward getting their tax-exempt status so they can accept donations and share their efforts with other charities.
Were putting together a place on the internet so people can make things happen, Lawson said.
That will eventually include a calendar of community events that people can check and post at, and a roster of service groups, charities, fundraisers and youth events, for example. Change Quick is geared toward youth and teen events and organizations, but not limited to youngsters. Lawson said the goal is to get kids engaged and to then give them an opportunity to serve their community. Sometimes all that is lacking is a ride to an event, a place to host it, or a mentor to guide them.
One of their first tasks is to help get a new teen program going in Marysville. The Marysville Youth Action Network is looking to provide a framework for teens to get involved, just like Change Quick, and so the two organizations are teaming up to work together. Change Quick will be shepherding the initial efforts for the network and will likely be the long-term public relations and organizing arm.
Theyve managed to impress a number of people in a short period of time, speaking to the Marysville City Council earlier this summer and then getting their Web site going and hooking up with MYAN. Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce president Caldie Rogers is serving on their board of directors and even got them some cheap legal help for their tax exempt status. Rogers is also working with the Marysville Youth Action Network and was very impressed with the pair and their vision, to the point of raising money for their incorporation papers.
Jim Strickland is a teacher at Totem Middle School who founded the network and he said one of the master strokes was getting Lawson and Tolle on board.
Rick and Val are very passionate, they are very creative and talented, Strickland said. They have a lot of initiative and a vision for what they are driving for. Its just perfect timing that we met up when we did.
Lawson is actually majoring in filmmaking at Western. He wants to make documentaries to show how people can get involved in their communities, but first he has to have something to film. Tolle is a junior majoring in human services, and now they are working together on a joint venture.
Were finding the people we need to make this happen, Tolle said.
Getting people like Rogers and Strickland involved in Change Quick is a boon, but she emphasized that the organization wants to be centered around young people, their vision and passion. Lawson said any person, organization or business that wants to help teens put some elbow grease to a good cause should log onto their Web site or email him to discuss what opportunities they have to offer.. That could include having a venue to offer to host an event, expertise and advice, or some other service.
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