Lovely Empowerment - California
“My name is Natalya and I’m 15 years old. I have been in dark situations that really took a toll on my mental health. It left me questioning who I was as a person and how I could change everything about me. I began to realize the comments other people or myself made about me weren’t necessarily true, and that some weren’t bad traits to begin with. I soon began to care for myself and reflected on how upset I was. I realized that you don’t really know what anyone else is going through mentally. I wanted to help everyone who was feeling the way I was. I started wondering, “how could I help?” So I began an instagram page, @lovelyempowerment , where I educate my followers on ways they can take care of themselves and how to handle harsh emotions. I also want to use this platform to create a safe space for anyone who needs to talk and educate people on mental health and common disorders".
Mere's Advice 101 - Canada
“My name is Meredith and I am 15 years old. I run an account called meresadvice101. On this account I post weekly videos talking about important issues such as judgement or toxic friends and I give my advice on it. People can also message me on this account if they want someone to listen to them/someone to talk to. I started this account because my life at home has not been the best [for] the past two years. I would come to school everyday carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders and all I ever wanted was someone to notice or listen to me. I have seen the power and the pain fading from my peers when you listen to them, support each other and give people a voice. I also [created] this account to help me find my voice, I will not be slienced anymore and I want to find my power. I want anyone around the world to feel a little less alone. I am just trying to let people know I want to listen even if they think no one else does. ”
Farm Focus Project - Ohio
“Hi everyone! My name is Maggie and I have been passionate about Mental Health awareness, female empowerment, and suicide prevention since I started working with my local youth to youth and youth led prevention programs. I have been involved in the Rox program at my school and I am also a member of Giraffe Club (“stick your neck out” club). My goal is to have more mental health awareness and education in schools and communities starting at a younger age and empowering rural women. I believe that starting the conversation about mental health early will help prevent suicide and other major effects of mental illness. I am so excited to work with Project Empower and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together!”
The Bright Place - Sri Lanka
'Hey there :) I'm Najaha, your average 18-turning-19 year old with a not-so-average life. Having lived in Sri Lanka all my life, I have come across all kinds of people and beliefs yet nothing baffles me more than the fact that mental health is still regarded a taboo subject in many respects. I have had my fair share of insecurities and episodes but more importantly, I have watched people around me undergo worse over the years yet they were never really taken seriously. Our aim with this project (that I have built with an incredible team of friends) is to educate and advocate whoever we can on mental health and self-care. The Bright Place will serve as a project constituting of reminders, fact-checks and an advice-hub for those who may need advice about how to keep their mental health in-check (as one would do with physical ailments). We hope to be of some help to our community and to educate as many people as we can while empowering them as we go. We are grateful for the folks at project empower for giving us the boost we needed in order to take a stance."
Bridges Of Hope - Canada
"My name is Olivia Miller and I co-created and direct a mental health awareness initiative called Bridges of Hope. I became very passionate about mental health throughout my time in high school because I was struggling with my own and was close to several people who felt lost, too. I learned a lot about positive psychology through online courses, which is the science of happiness. Through those lessons, and my own personal work with an amazing life coach, I was able to learn strategies to balance my life and focus more on gratitude and joy. I’m still a work in progress, but I love being able to promote positivity and what I’ve learned about mental health through our Bridges of Hope community! Annually, BoH executes events where participants assist us in attaching positive messages to local bridges for pedestrians to see! I am busy working with our team to plan the next bridges events for this October in Ontario, Canada!"
Her Circle - Alabama
“Rachel is a college freshman at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is the founder of the Her Circle Initiative, which is a mental health organization curated for girls ages 7-17 and includes self-care, self-love, and self-awareness education. She created this safe space when Maddie Whittsett, 9, died by suicide in November 2018 due to bullying directed toward her ADHD, or Attention Deficiency Hyperactivity Disorder. Knowing how Maddie was feeling from first hand experience, Rachel formed the circle."
The Impact Ambassadors
Project D.O.S. - Maryland
“Hello! My name is Manda You and I am a high school senior in the Maryland public school system. Over the past few years, I have found myself struggling with my mental health as my surroundings and the people around me continued to grow and evolve at different paces and towards different end goals than I found myself doing. I felt an overwhelming sense of pressure and stigma around doing something out of the norm and that fear kept me from discovering my passion. But little did I know that those hard times would be what shaped my passion and who I am today. This is why I want to start a project, Project DOS (Dismantling Our Stigma) to help fight unhealthy stigmas around concepts and ideas that may not fit into our cultural norm. I believe that by spreading awareness and opening up the conversation around uncomfortable topics will allow more people to understand and sympathize with each other, and further dismantle our stigma.”
Forever Fierce - Texas
“Hi! My name is Myrdell and I’m a freshman in high school. I’m originally from Louisiana, but now I live in Texas. When I was 11, I was diagnosed with scoliosis, which means that I have a curved spine. This made me me feel really isolated, because I didn’t know anyone else who had scoliosis. I created ForeverFierce, so that teens don’t have to go through their struggles: mental, emotional, and physical, alone. I want teens to know that they have people rooting for them and that people care about them.”
Good Light - Illinois
Kelli is the founder of Good Light, an initiative dedicated to breaking the stigma surrounding mental health in the Christian community. In May of 2019, she became a member of the marketing team for the podcast Teens Speak Up and fell in love with advocacy quickly afterwards. Her passions for writing and mental health education led her to Project Empower. Converso is a junior in high school and spends a lot of time volunteering within her community. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her sewing costumes for local theatre productions or volunteering at her County Clerk’s office. This school year, she hopes to accomplish her goal of starting a club devoted to education and increasing literacy rates at local elementary schools.
Little Lights-United Arab Emirates
“Hi! I am Sona Mariam, an average 16 year old teenager who seeks to change the world from the one I grew up in. Growing up I realised that the real world wasn’t the fairytale I hoped it was. I got pushed into the varying realms of anxiety and depression and it was then that I found out my passion, to make the world a better place for those who are going through the same as me.
My motto is that even if I don't change the world, I want to change the world of at least one person. And this is my first step, with the help of Project Empower, I am starting my first non-profit @thelittlelightsorg. Here at little lights we’ll be starting our own website and podcast. Our podcast will be titled ‘the MAD podcast’ (the make a difference podcast). If you want to be a part of this non-profit, as a writer or as a speaker you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or dm me on instagram. You can also send us your survivor’s story/experiences/questions here on instagram and we’ll discuss it and share it on our podcast and blog".