Amazingly, although there are many stories of Millennials who are anything but spoiled or bratty, who are starting their own businesses, working on nonprofits, thinking big and putting their money and courage where their mouth is— it seems the popular opinion on Millennials, or young people between 12 and 32 years old, is that we’re a bunch of iPhone-toting self-centered, self-involved brats.
OK, I see how older people would think that, what with the Justin Biebers and Lindsay Lohans hogging the media spotlight. But there are also Millennials who are quietly doing good, like the young man I remember seeing at the grocery store last winter, helping a woman with a baby load her groceries into her car. And there are Millennials hired by Chapel Hill-based Sweeps, a web startup that connects college students with odd jobs. The students move heavy furniture, tutor and also unselfishly share their technological competency by helping older people debug their computers and learn to use their iPhones.
Not only that, but Morris Gelblum, the 24-year-old founder of Sweeps, has also expanded the company’s mission by making volunteering a part of its business. With Sweeps Gives, the company has set aside time and resources for Sweepers to serve the community on the company’s dime.
“We’ve galvanized this labor force of students and we have an ability to do good,” Morris said. “We’ve given away hours since we’ve existed. Now, we want to make it a bigger and more formal part of what we do.”
This week, Sweepers were at the Raleigh Helping Hand Mission. They have also cooked meals at the Ronald McDonald House and volunteered at the Orange County Habitat for Humanity.
Morris founded Sweeps in 2010 when he was a student at UNC-Chapel Hill. The company has grown to 250 Sweepers this year, and recently placed third in a Phonebooth small business contest.
The basic business model of Sweeps assumes that the community will help out college students who are having a hard time finding work during a down economy. That bet has paid off. The volunteer aspect of Sweeps expands the company’s mission by supporting young people in their desire to give back to the community.
The exchange of good will between young people and older people comes full circle.
Sweeps is taking suggestions on where they can give back. Go to Sweeps Gives to nominate someone who needs help.