Teen Wealth

Teens need to know they are valuable.

Photo of EM Laughlin
2 1

Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

April 30, 2002

Where are you located:

Phoenix, Arizona, 85003

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Coming Soon!

Date Started

10/10/2017

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

I wanted to start this project because there is more to the story than gun control when a teenager commits suicide or when there is another school getting shot up, killing futures. Every single person on this earth experiences emotional challenges such as depression, unworthiness, anger, stress, etc and, as a response, many turn to acting out with unhealthy behaviors and vices like taking it out on others, self-harm, violence, drugs and alcohol.

Though this is true, this cycle of dealing with issues doesn’t stop which is why my project will be able to help teens step up, leading them to become more positively influenced role models in their communities.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Young adults don’t know where to go for places to help them with their mental health issues. Teens avoid identifying their problems as being mental health because pride gets in their way so they wouldn’t even think such resources apply to them. Teens also refuse help or advice from adults and rely on their friends, social media, and negative behaviors to navigate life issues. Through my resources, teens can further move past their difficulties.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

I am creating an easy way for teens to find life skill resources to help themselves and each other. It involves guiding teens to existing resources and help them understand what’s out there for them.

This project addresses the problem in two degrees, immediate need, and preventative care.

 For immediate needs, I want to provide teens access to help when they are in distress or breaking point. Teens are never without their cell phones. They won’t spend the time to research who they can call if their normal coping methods have failed. Teens will be able to find help by scanning a QR code that will connect them to the website providing free resources such as Teen Lifeline for immediate help.

For preventative care, the top three issues for teens are depression, stress, and family issues. The QR code will direct to the website that will provide teens with information about life issues. They will be able to identify with teen issues and skills to cope better by connecting to resources by using the iPhone Wallet app or social media platforms such as Snapchat to scan the QR code to pass it on.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

For immediate need, a teen in distress can click the QR code or go directly to the website, where there will be phone numbers to call for free confidential immediate access to organizations such as Teen Lifeline that offers people to talk to 24 hours per day. For preventative care, teens will find articles, interviews, and links to other organization that address and support relevant life issues they may be dealing with. By reading an article or finding a resource they connect with, they will help themselves and improve the outlook for themselves. As that process develops, it can change the direction from a destructive path to positive life improvement changes.

Partnering organization roles could be as website affiliates link or sponsor. Teens, parents, and mental health professions can be involved by proposing topics and writing articles, or becoming an advisory committee member.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Current solutions are complicated for teens to find useful or even to find at all. Solutions offered by adults are usually disregarded by teens as just another way of adults wanting to control them, so they ignore it. My website provides content that teens can identify with, creating a more informative and empowering self-help approach. Most websites related to these topics just focus on a teens’ problem as a single issue, not as interwoven life issues like a multitude of missing puzzle pieces, which can be learned through my website.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

My project is still in the early stages because the website has not yet been created. Though this is true, my project is already making a difference because the many teens, counselors, mental health professional organizations that I’ve spoken to about my project see the need for it and are eager to be a part of the project. Teen issues have become more complex with the rise of technology. My project has made a difference in the lives of everyone who has heard about it, as it has inspired them to think about ways they can contribute and the impact they have on how teens to get the help they need to cope with life.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

The next steps are finding a web hosting site, designing the website, meeting with the teen writers and adult advisors, adding the resources and articles to the website. My project will start in the greater Phoenix area so most available resources are local. Some of my resources are also national and I see my project expanding to all communities. From the start, immediate care resources are nationwide so any teen in the U.S. would be able to use it and local partner organizations will be added by a searchable geographical area.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

My team includes teens, adults, and partner organizations.

Specific areas needed are:
Web hosting: coders, hosting sites, hosting organization
Printing: Posters and shoe cards: for childrens’ hospitals, boys & girls clubs, pediatrician offices, public libraries, youth groups.
Funding: Ideas of any people, partner groups, or organization that would be interested in donating resources, funds, or services.
Marketing: Sharing in friend groups, social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc.), local cable TV channels, newspapers, radio stations, school newspapers, PTA newsletters, local grocery stores, business/medical offices, etc.

The marketing is extremely important so that distressed teens can get the help they need

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

Teen mental health is such a broad topic to discuss so when naming a few issues such as depression, stress, loneliness, etc. many teens can identify with each of these issues by either themselves or their peers. I am interested in partnering with as many people who have similar concerns and ideas in this area as I do because there are valuable perspectives that others have that can contribute to my project. The people could become members of my team or a contributing author, who could help create and evolve my project so it can make a bigger impact.

I plan to involve the changemakers that are creating projects with different views and strategies on creating change within the teen mental health platform, so instead of seeing them as competition, I can collaborate with these changemakers as an affiliate organization. This will be done through partnerships so that our works can guide our viewers to one another’s works because my project is focused on guiding and supporting teens to where they can get the support they need.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)
  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (for example: Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, Tongan, Fijian, Marshallese) (12)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Word of mouth

2 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Leilani Serbousek
Team

This is awesome! I notice we both live Arizona so maybe if we both get selected we can continue talking and helping each other after(even if we don't we could still help each other out)!

Photo of EM Laughlin
Team

Sounds great! I would love to work with you!