Local student-run nonprofit hosts fundraiser to expand organization

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PEORIA, Ill. — A popular student run program is looking to get a little bigger.

AppsCo is a local nonprofit start-up program, founded by Alexis Khazzam, that gives 80 high school students from Richwoods and Manual the opportunity to gain real world professional experience.

Khazzam said the idea was created about five years ago with the idea of starting teens off young with business and tech skills that would benefit them for the future.

Thursday, the organization hosted a fundraising event which brought out hundreds of community members and sponsors showcasing support and donating to the program.

The event was called “Rise Up” and Cassidy Miles-Cole, a junior from Richwoods High, said the motto fits their mission perfectly.

“Rise Up is our initiative,” said Miles-Coleman. “We’re really encouraging people to rise up and help support and donate to AppsCo and it’s amazing program.”

The fundraiser also brought in Jonathan Sprinkles, founder of the Connection Lab, as the event’s emcee. Sprinkles praised the nonprofit for it’s dedication to developing teen’s skills and giving them real life business experience.

“AppsCo is the organization that says the four most important words: “I believe in you,” said Sprinkles.

Another Richwoods student, Genevieve Bretsch, said she’ll forever grateful that there’s a program like AppsCo taking time to teach teenagers her the ins and outs of the business world.

“We learned all these skills like public speaking, sales, how to manage our own business,” said Bretsch. “Those skills taught us how to run this company pretty much.”

The events organizers said all of the proceeds gathered throughout the evening will go directly to students attending Peoria High School.

Khazaam said he’s hoping to expand the program to Peoria High by next year.

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