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Palo Alto students create new city guide service for teens

Palo Alto is a vibrant city full of many volunteering and social opportunities. These opportunities, however, often go unnoticed by teens. That’s why juniors Sharon Chen and Ally Gong, alumna Rubi Alcazar, and Palo Alto High School (Paly) student Gabriel Mechali created clickPA: a website that is “a one-stop events central for high school students in and around Palo Alto,” according to their website.

According to Chen, she and her fellow co-founders always knew that they wanted to help teens in the city. “Our narrower mission is to let teens know about events, activities and opportunities,” she said. Chen found inspiration in what fellow Gunn students sought from their city. Sophomore and tech staff member Bethany Wong agrees. “There is so much going on in Palo Alto, and the problem is that not a lot of teens know about it,” she said.

Part of clickPA’s success is due to the people who run it. According to Wong, the website is already sponsored by the city. Chen states that the reason why this website is so unique is because teens created it and run it.  “The idea behind the website, along with its name and mission statement, was all created by students of Gunn and Paly,” she said.  Wong and Chen are both proud to call the website the first official city sponsored teen website.

Chen believes that clickPA has had a big impact on the number of  teens who  volunteer in Palo Alto, as many have discovered  volunteer opportunities through the website. According to Wong, the project is valuable because of the communication it allows between students. “It’s such a great way for teens to get involved and meet people from a variety of different backgrounds,” she said.

Chen’s current goals for clickPA are mainly geared   towards publicity. The teen company’s most recent goal is to create a communicative mobile application. They want to create the app because so many teens have smart phones. “We are trying to make an app to make our website more accessible,” Wong said.

clickPA is also known in the community for their monthly Instagram contest. “Each of the two people who win [the Instagram contest] get a $10 gift card of his or her choice,” Chen said. According to Chen, clickPA started the contest in order to promote the idea of having a more lively teen life in Palo Alto. “Also, it is convenient for the teens with Instagram accounts to quickly enter into a contest and get involved with clickPA,” she said. The ease in joining the clickPA community aligns with the website’s goals for city-wide interconnection.

All in all, Chen believes that teens throughout Palo Alto should use clickPA often so they can better explore the opportunities the city has to offer. “It is advantageous for our peers to use this site as a giant database of events, activities and opportunities to make the most out of their lives,” she said.

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