In our latest interview, written by the lovely Tara, we spoke the founder of Teenagers With Experience. Emily discussed how she was able to recruit volunteers and provide a fulfilling experience through her organization and other youth non-profits that she's fond of.
Question one: It's such an honour to be speaking with you in this setting, Emily! As a fellow young entrepreneur running a Gen-Z based website, what can you tell us about your mission?
With my website and organisation, I feel like my mission is to provide a platform for teenagers to feel safe. Space where you can seek support and advice from your peers and feel a little bit less alone in the world.
Question two: When did your drive for activism give you the idea to create a page dedicated to spreading awareness and de-stigmatizing teenage-related experiences?
I was going through a hard time myself in 2015 and found myself seeking others like me, to help me understand my own feelings more and I thought about creating a platform for people like me. An online community where I can read other experiences like mine and feel less alone. I also wanted to create a place to talk about things that maybe we don’t feel comfortable discussing with our friends or peers, but that you are curious about and want to learn more.
Question three: What are your goals for the future of Teenagers With Experience? What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Our biggest achievement so far has to be how much we have grown. From 2015 to now (2020) we have grown so much, not only in our numbers but also us as people. We are now a lot more professional and we now have a bigger audience, allowing us to support more teenagers around the world. Our goal in the future is to grow more, be support for schools to provide their students with, be able to visit schools and to gain funding to help us further our abilities.
Question four: Do you have any advice for aspiring young businesspeople? How were you able to achieve recognition and volunteers?
Do it. Take the jump. I set up a website at age 16, it looked bad and the articles were not the quality they are now, but we have improved so much. If you don’t take that first leap, you won’t improve. With achieving recognition and volunteers, it's all about having confidence and passion. Don’t be afraid to contact people, be proud of what you are doing, tell people. I personally reached out to groups, newspapers, radio stations etc. I put the effort in to get our name out.
Question five: Are there any similar pages to yours that you admire and would like to shout-out?
Aside from A Gen Z’s Take (obviously), The Lee Cooper Foundation, Mind, Young Minds, The Trevor Project, The Speak Up Space, Our Streets Now, Time to Talk UK are all fantastic charities and organisations that TWE really respects and has even worked with some.
Question six: How do you keep organized? Do you stick to a strict schedule or prefer to keep tasks flexible?
It's a mix. Some things need to have a strict structure and schedule or it won’t work, while other things can be more flexible. It’s more about understanding priorities. What do we need more of? It's a learning experience, you learn as you go. Discussion is our main way to keep organised. Communication is very important.
Question seven: What do you hope people will draw out of your content? What have been your greatest takeaways through leading Teenagers With Experience?
If a single person reads an article and feels seen and understood, that it provides them with advice or some insight of themselves or the world I am happy. I just hope we are making a difference in at least one person's life. I have learned a lot about myself through running TWE, I think learning more about myself and the world is my best takeaway.
Question eight: Lastly, I’d love to thank you for sharing. Your page has inspired many keen activists to start building their own communities! How has the quarantine period affected your work ethic, content uploads, and mission, if at all? How have you adjusted to our current circumstances?
Quarantine has actually been a blessing to TWE. We are making the most out of the situation and providing a space for teenagers to keep busy, we are actually working on a lot of stuff to support teenagers, students and schools during this scary time. We have become more of a community, ensuring not only our audience but our members are safe and alright, by doing movies, games and activities.