Who says Teens have no ideas?

This week I had the privilege of presenting “Potential & Possibility: Create Change” at La Porte Junior High School in Texas. This particular presentation focuses on teen identified issues & challenges within communities and shares teen created solutions through True Stories and interactive multi-media.

Stories were shared such as: Prince Boadu from Kumasi, Ghana, who tired of walking 3 miles to/from school each day recognized his entrepreneurial talents and filled a need. Ice cream. He sold small tubs of ice cream at his school during lunch. Soon it was so popular he hired other teens to sell with him. In less than a year, guess who bought a bus for his school?

Matthew, a 9th grader noticed his younger brother in 7th grade was being bullied and pushed around by other kids. Thus began the Be One project. In this project Matthew developed a presentation about kindness and compassion and through his efforts he changed the environment of his school. You can read more here: snowball

At another school teens started their own recycle program, and another started a community garden in an abandoned lot.


Teens also heard about nearly free and fun activities like the Bubble Battle and Silent Disco and Backyard Movie Nights.

Students were encouraged to attend 2 brainstorming sessions to share ideas. They generated 42 ideas!

First, a moment of wisdom from 12 year old Triston:

“We should have a Persona Club at school because persona in Spanish means person and we are All people, we should include Everyone in this club no matter if they are special needs or different.” ~Triston

My favorite ideas shared:
TALK Club to share struggles & solutions.
Food For All: sharing food with the hungry in school & out
Magical Mystery Tour: code for Random Acts of Kindness done throughout the community
Persona Club: a club for Everyone (because in Spanish, persona = person)
Outreach to Seniors in Centers
Anonymous Advice: a place to share struggles without revealing identity
ESL Tutoring: peer to peer

If you are not yet feeling inspired by these teens, I don’t know what else to say. Here’s to the next generation of change makers!

2 priceless moments during and after the presentation that also renewed by faith in and love for teens:

Just before beginning the presentation an 8th grader approaches as I’m blowing bubbles getting the audience’s attention. He stands close, smiles and says, “Hi, I’m Chris, I’m autistic. I’m really good at stacking stuff, all kinds of stuff.” I smile. He reaches out and pulls me into a Hug, “I see your Free Hugs sticker on your computer, Thanks!” And then he sits in the chair right next to me in the performance space. There’s no way he’s moving and that is A-OK with me. He made me feel like a million bucks. Maybe more.

I’m collecting my thoughts in the library when a 7th grader approaches, a huge smile on her face, her arms reach out for a Hug and she says, “Remember me? I am Audrey. Thank you. You really inspired me. Your talk gave me an idea to start a group called Talk for teens to share their struggles with each other so like you said, they realize they are not alone. I think I’ve already found a mentor for it.”

And this is why we Storytellers and Teachers do the work we do. We see the sparkle in 7th graders. We see the effervescence of 8th graders. And together we can create action from those sparks and embers.

Please share any inspiring Stories about interesting Teen Ideas you’ve encountered. Thanks!

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