“I can’t, I have work.”
This simple yet infamous statement is seemingly uttered by teenagers daily. Most who mention it are forced to decline offers of fun or activity so they can work their shift taking food orders or folding t-shirts. Some kids may even feel as though their job makes their life all work and no play. But what if teens could have their cake and eat it too?
Evan Ajuria, a junior, thinks he may have found the solution for the work-play inbalance. Through his app, Grindstone, he hopes to create casual work opportunities for teenagers who may not have the time or ability to commit to an official job. Simultaneously, he designed the app to give adults the chance to hire a cheap and competent employee.
“Grindstone in its most basic form is a platform where local teenagers can explore and commit to flexible work opportunities from adults who have flexible work opportunities to give,” Ajuria said. “Teenagers make some extra cash and adults don’t have to break the bank booking professional individuals to do work that can be easily completed by a teenager.”
Ajuria created the app because he saw a disconnect between teens and adults who were looking for work opportunities. He determined that using an app that suited the needs of both may help break the barrier.
“I considered both adults and teenagers when I designed the platform. I understand how important it is for the experience to work for both,” Ajuria said. “It shouldn’t be this hard to bring us all together. I believe Grindstone can bridge the gap.”
While developing the app, Ajuria consulted both peers and adults to determine what features would make the system function best for each demographic. He wanted to ensure that the app would be trustworthy and accessible and worked to ensure the quality of both.
Now, Ajuria focuses on maintaining and regulating both the app and its users.
“My number one role is to make it as safe as possible. I’m working in the background to not only connect people but to ensure that the experience is pretty easy for both,” Ajuria said. “I go over all the listings before they get posted to our Grindstone members as well as ensure that the communication between teenagers and adults is legitimate.”
As of now, adults and teens can access the program through the website grindstoneapp.com. However, Ajuria hopes to move forward with the company’s accessibility and format soon.
“Right now, it is a website but you can place it on your iPhone home screen to access it as if it were an app. Phase two of the platform will have a full app version,” Ajuria said. “ The most important thing right now is to get people using Grindstone.”
Some students, like senior Vincent Wai, think that Grindstone App could be a successful project in terms of both community and monetary gain.
“This is a beneficial system for both the adult and the student in many ways,” Wai said. “Not only may the student benefit financially, but it also helps them reach out and become a greater part of their community, as well as simply helping out a fellow neighbor.”
Samantha Phan, a senior, also believes that this app could be a great replacement for an official part-time job.
“It lets teens be flexible and they’re informed on what’s available to do and you can do whatever you want. You don’t need to commit to weeks and schedules,” Phan said.
Ajuria also hopes that the app will make as much of a difference as he intended it to.
Ajuria said. “It’s not just a place to make money, but a place for teenagers to create and find opportunities within the community. I’m learning so much and am excited to see where this goes.”