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Cornelius News

Volunteerism began early for Annalise Leck

Annalise Leck

GIVING BACK | By Dave Vieser

Feb. 6. At age 17, Annalise Leck has already created a non-profit virtual bulletin board with service opportunities for local high school students.

Cougar House makes finding service projects and hours easier for high school students, a big thing when it comes to college applications. Organizations on the site range from Davidson Lands Conservancy and FeedNC to the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress.

The nation’s storehouse of knowledge needs volunteers to help transcribe countless pages from history.


Since 2022, Cougar House has provided more than 5,600 service hours for students in the greater Charlotte area.

As a freshman at Cannon School, Annalise knew she wanted to spend her free time after school volunteering, but she didn’t know where.

There was no clear or easy way to find service hours, so she pieced together a spreadsheet with the names of different places where she could volunteer.

“I realized that this spreadsheet could really help my peers find volunteer opportunities too, which is how the idea for Cougar House was officially born,” she said.

cougarhouse.org makes finding service projects and hours easier for high school students

The response from students and parents has been overwhelmingly positive.


“Finding service hours in high school is very coveted because most universities look for students with volunteer experience, and many high schools have service hour requirements to graduate. Unfortunately, though, this leads to gatekeeping of where to find service hours, which Cougar House has been able to dismantle,” she said.

“When we pool our resources and knowledge about local organizations in need of volunteers, everyone wins,” Annalise said.

The name was inspired by Madison House at the University of Virginia, which is a clearing house for UVA student volunteer opportunities. Of course, Cannon School’s mascot is the Cougar.

Local family

Annalise is the daughter of Genevieve and Jeffrey Leck. The Lecks, who live off Jetton, have four other children.

Annalise is looking at colleges with a commitment to service, and a strong business program. She wants to enter the nonprofit industry and use her financial knowledge to help them make the most of their funds.

“I am excited about this prospect because it’s an exciting intersection of my two interests: service and business,” she said.


One Response to “Volunteerism began early for Annalise Leck”

  1. Annalise,

    Congratulations on your creativity, insight and compassion!
    The fact this can permeate students’s lives for generations to come is immeasurable.

    Thank you, and wishing you the best in life.
    Elaine Russell

    Posted by Elaine Russell | February 7, 2024, 2:19 pm

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