Recent Frederick High School graduate Cameron Mann has completely surpassed the standard amount of volunteer hours most high school students will have completed by graduation. Mann, winner of the Daughters of the American Revolution Do Good Citizen Award and a state competitor in Future Business Leaders of America, has been involved in nonprofit work since age 9.
Mann’s work began when he joined the Concerned Veterans for America nonprofit and later the Waterboys organization run by the Chris Long Foundation, which were introduced to him through his stepdad Jason Corral.
“We both had a passion for trying to help society and make society a better place,” Mann said.
The Concerned Veterans for America Foundation, the first nonprofit Mann worked with, has the mission to “advocate for policies that will preserve the freedom and prosperity that we and our families so proudly fought and sacrificed to defend,” according to this website.
“I primarily did phone banking, canvassing and attended legislative meetings to advocate for bettering health care,” Mann said.
Mann joined the Waterboys organization when he was beginning middle school.
Through Warerboys, Mann led a number of organized fundraisers, one of the biggest being the “Candy to Water” fundraiser.
“We went around and we asked for candy from Halloween, we wanted to help with waste and hopefully help some families out in another part of the world. Waterboys helps to build wells in Africa so that communities can have access to fresh water,” Mann said.
The fundraiser was held on the campus of the University of Virginia as well as at local grocery stores in the area.
“We requested one donation of any type, and people would be allowed to grab a handful of candy,” Mann said.
The fundraiser allowed for the candy to be used while also raising money for the foundation.
“So overall it was a win-win situation,” Mann said.
Mann also designed Waterboys postcards and mass produced them to raise money for the foundation, as well as collected letters from his seventh grade classmates for the patients of the University of Virginia’s Children's Hospital.
“I think we got at least a couple hundred letters at the time which was a pretty good turnout, and then I brought them to the hospital and delivered them,” Mann said.
The commonality between these activities for Cameron is improvement.
“The only way that we can see foreseeable growth is by communities coming together. That’s kind of what I always strive for is trying to make the world a better place, I know that’s kind of cliche, but in reality that's what I always stand for is trying to make the community better,” Mann said.
Mann plans to start his own nonprofit one day.
“It will be a mediator between volunteers and community service projects, that way it makes everything simple and easy for people to get connected within their communities,” Mann said.
Mann will be going to the Leeds School of Business at the University of ColoradoU Boulder, to study business and entrepreneurship.
Mann says his main areas of focus for college and beyond are in marketing and nonprofits.
“It's very easy for me to understand and it’s very fulfilling,” he adds.
Until then, Mann is planning for the future.
“I run my own social media marketing agency, just as a way to build up capital for the future as well as gaining valuable marketing skills,” Mann said.
Not only is Mann planning for the future, he also hopes to change the way community service is viewed.
“Everyone thinks you have to go get in trouble with the law and then go pick up trash on the side of the road and that’s community service. Great, that is, but at the same time there's a lot more that goes into helping a community,” Mann said.
“One tip that I would always give is to start small. You don't have to go for the big fish all the time, you can work your way up.”