FORT WAYNE, IND. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- So many teens get a bad rap. But, I believe there are plenty of young leaders right in our own backyard. Time for my special report, "The Extra Mile."
18 year old Carroll High School senior, Jared Thompson, believes if you have the ability to help others, you have the responsibility.
As a sophomore, he saw how the recession hit some local families and led adults and youth at his church, Aldersgate United Methodist, to fund a free dinner for the community every Thursday night.
Soon, fellow Carroll students and students from other high schools and middle schools, caught on.
Jared hopes to major in business in college and incorporate the non-profit world.
Jared Thompson, "The Extra Mile" recipient, says, "It's really been this mission that's motivated me to do this for the rest of my life. Once I started working with it, it kind of, over time, became clear to me that this is what I wanted to do with my life, and this is the work I wanted to do."
Linda Jackson asks, "What is your hope for his future?"
Brian Thompson, Jared's father, says, "Well, that he continues doing what he's doing and work with people and continue to be community-minded and helpful to others."
Jennifer Thompson, Jared's mother, says, "Everybody has supported him so you know they're behind him, but to take the extra time to look for an award to make sure that he recognizes what people think of him, it was very very kind."
Cindy Grimes, who nominated Jared, says, "It's exciting. It's warming to be here. The people at the church have become our friends that come and join us for dinner, and it's someplace that I want to be every Thursday night. It's not that I have to be here. I want to be here."
Jared Thompson says, "Once we introduced the program, a lot of youth jumped on board, and as more people became aware of it, they just jumped on board as well. I know right now we have about 60 to 70 volunteers. A lot of them are youth. There's a lot of people that come for the fellowship and enjoy it, and the relationships that we've built through that have been just as meaningful as the meal that we've provided
The volunteers don't just serve 100-plus meals every Thursday night. Jared wants the young people to learn what it takes behind the scenes to put it together.
Jared will have a plaque hung in Fort Wayne in his honor.
You can nominate someone who goes "The Extra Mile" by going to our website and clicking on the Features page.
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