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JaxTHRIVE was founded in 2017 by five high school students who aimed to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment where they tutor, mentor, share life skills and encourage friendships with refugee students. The nonprofit has clubs in many different schools around Jacksonville, with its most recent at the University of North Carolina. 

Our National Conversation recently interviewed Carter Magnano and Sarah Park, the current co-presidents of the nonprofit, about their experiences and the magnitude of their impact. In the interview, we discussed what JaxTHRIVE does to promote its mission and engage the community. Carter explained, “We host an annual JaxTHRIVE fundraiser, which gets a lot of people from the community excited about JaxTHRIVE.” 

JaxTHRIVE also holds community events called JaxTHRIVE Journeys, featuring speakers from many of their refugees' countries. Each program explores a particular geography's food, culture and politics. Attendees leave with a greater understanding of the places their students call home. JaxTHRIVE consistently emphasizes its four core values: realizing the potential in everyone, youth empowerment, global collaboration and the power of education. These values are embodied through events like Super Saturdays, where students come together to attend programs devoted to reading, science and art. These Super Saturdays unite everyone from the greater area to establish strong connections. 

We also had the opportunity to interview Kim Bogart, a partner of JaxTHRIVE and founder of Kim’s Open Door. Like JaxTHRIVE, Kim’s nonprofit aims to uplift the refugee, immigrant, homeless and foster child communities. When we spoke with her, she stated, “They [JaxTHRIVE] said we want to do more. I just listened to Grace and Chase [two founding members] and I just wanted to meet their need to serve. They really wanted to help with tutoring our students.” She tells us this led to the notorious Super Saturdays that continue to be held at JaxTHRIVE. You can learn more about our interview with Kim here

In Ignite ONC, we focus on Gen Z members who facilitate change and pave the way to a better future for American society. In JaxTHRIVE’s 2022-2023 Impact Report, JaxTHRIVE summarizes its many events, such as its immersive field trips, holiday community gatherings and even hosting visiting Ukrainian speakers who spoke about the impact of the crisis in Ukraine. All these events work to educate JaxTHRIVE’s students on the changing world while enabling them with social skills that will be imperative to them later. Organizations like JaxTHRIVE create a positive outlet for Gen Z to express themselves and interact with their peers. 

In addition to allowing students a space to learn from one another, JaxTHRIVE also equips its members and volunteers with valuable leadership experience. Though a big responsibility, JaxTHRIVE offers balance to a student's routine. In our interview, Carter Magnano shared, “there’s a decent amount of pressure involved in balancing academics and extracurricular activities while also managing JaxTHRIVE, but I feel that JaxTHRIVE is something that I’m sincere about. It makes me feel like I’m making a positive impact on my community. So, it’s almost like it's a break from stressful academics.” Sarah Park shares this opinion, stating, “I feel like, for me, when I come to the JaxTHRIVE Super Saturdays and I see refugee students motivated, it makes me so happy to be able to make a positive impact and it inspires me to build friendships with them.” 

Anyone who wants to get involved with JaxTHRIVE should visit their website,, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram. They offer volunteer options to cater to every student's preferences and availability.

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