Texting and Consequences

Steve and I are in our in our office today in Holliston, MA! It's a very exciting day because we finally have a location geotag on Instagram! Woohoo! 

We were talking about the current Massachusetts case with the young girl who was convicted of manslaughter, and then we decided to write a blog post on it. There was no way this was going to be an easy case. Steve made a vlog (above) about his thoughts on the case, and I am having a difficult time coming around to a specific viewpoint on it. The fact that there are consequences even when you're texting is something to think about for adults AND teenagers. Steve thinks the court made the absolute right decision because in the future, there shouldn't ever be a situation where a teen girl can get away with telling someone to kill himself. She encouraged him to kill himself. 

Parents; if you have a teen who is suicidal; you need to get involved. You're responsible for monitoring them. Don't think that it's just the schools job. For teens; the power of words and what you say to others can have very negative consequences. If you know someone who needs help, sometimes you have to reach out to them and not wait for them to reach out on their own.

We'd love to hear your thoughts- leave them below! 

Guest Post: Teens on Social Media

Today, we have a guest post from an awesome teen girl, Elizabeth, from Princeton, New Jersey!

Social media, which has become ubiquitous in today's society, feels to me both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, these networking sites, particularly Snapchat and Instagram, facilitate connections. I love that I can keep in contact with friends who have gone to college or who have moved away. Furthermore, I am addicted to the "Snapchat Discover" page- it's how I get all of my news! I think what's great about receiving information through this channel is that it comes in small doses; in the middle of a busy day, I rarely have ample time to read a long article, but the engaging, interactive nature of the Discover displays permit me, and many of my friends, to remain informed about topics that pique our interests.

My personal favorites are the Food Network, Cosmopolitan, and Refinery 29 stories.

Carly, a close friend and high school junior, summarizes the benefits of social media: "Social media allows me to stay in touch with family and friends and stay in touch with the world at large. Without it I do not believe I would be nearly as up-to-date on national and global issues as I am with it." In stark contrast, constantly being exposed to the "perfect" lives presented by celebrities and peers can not only lead to feelings of inadequacy, but can also be overwhelming. Among my friends, I am known as the girl who will delete the Snapchat app at least twice a month, because "I'm just so tired of it." (Am I the only one who finds maintaining streaks completely exhausting?!)

Gwen, a high school sophomore, concurs that social media can have detrimental effects, citing stunted social and communicative skills. Overall, sites such as Instagram play a critical role in the social hierarchy of our generation. "It's how I find everything out, which is both good and bad," says Bridget, also a high school junior. All of this is not to say that social media is some sort of evil construct designed to hone in on our insecurities and prey on our jealous instincts. However, it is to say that once in a while, it's nice to take a break. You can start by deleting Snapchat from your phone, like me, or take the full plunge and completely power down for a day. At first, it's definitely scary to be so disconnected, but it's so worth it. 

Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for sharing your thoughts on social media. We hope to have you back on the blog soon!

Our Fundraiser with B.Good

We had our fundraiser with B.Good on Tuesday night in Boston, and it went great! We're so excited to have partnered with such an incredible company. If you haven't heard about B.Good, check them out. They have many locations across the East Coast, which is why we highly suggest eating at their restaurants and supporting them. Between their awesome food and incredible mission- B.Good is one of our favorite places!

Some lovely girls showed up to support M.I.N.T. and we loved talking to them about growing up and being strong women! Our team highly suggests parents start talking to their teens about social media + self-love at a young age, and these girls are following such a great path. It's so important to implement healthy ideas in children's minds the minute they are old enough to speak.

Thank you to everyone who showed up, and we're excited for the next upcoming M.I.N.T. talks happening in September!

 

Why You Can't Give Up

Yesterday, our CEO had a meeting with Warner Brother's about pitching a TV show. She went in, and they told her no. Now, she's letting it push her even harder for that one yes. 

In the video, we witness Alexa cry. We witness her upset, which is not something we usually show on M.I.N.T. or even her social pages. But the message is this: everyone is going to put you down in this world. People are going to always tell you no, and it's up to you to get back up and push even harder for whatever you want your success to be. You can't give up, and you can't listen to what people think. All that matters is what you think, and how you're going to make your life the life that you want it to be. 

We started a Tumblr account for any of you who are dealing with anything and need someone to talk to: alettertoyourfriend.tumblr.com. We'll answer questions each month in a video. Steve will also be featured if you have any questions that are more in-depth and need a therapist to tune in on. 

Know you're not alone. Whatever you're dealing with, it will pass. You just have to get back up on your feet and keep doing what makes you happy.

Love, the team at Media Impact and Navigation for Teens

Nicki Minaj Gives Back in Big Way!

With the rising costs of college, paying tuition, as well as all the other costs that come with it, college has become a huge burden for many teens.  However, a few lucky students just got super lucky with the help of rapper Nicki Minaj when she offered to pay some of their bills! A user on Twitter named CJ reached out to Minaj the other day asking for assistance after she tweeted about an unrelated contest. She told him as long as he proved that he got straight A's from school that she would help him out! Nicki also helped out 30 others. It's so great to see celebrities giving to those who really need the help. College is not always attainable for all because of the high costs. We love hearing these kinds of stories! It's just a reminder to always pay it forward when you can. Even if it's not money related, a simple smile on the street to a stranger can go a long way. It also speaks volumes on how stressed teenagers how to around paying for college and how difficult it can be to reach out. A simple reach out helped out 30 students. Social media has great advantages! So the next time you're thinking about holding off on contacting some via social media, don't think twice. You never know what the outcome may be!

How Body Shaming Hurts Everyone

We are officially on YouTube! See our first video above. Next week, we will feature a video with our co-CEO, Steve! Watch it here.

What people don't know about Steve and Alexa is that they have both had their fair share of hardship. Part of the reason they decided to team up and create M.I.N.T. was because of their own personal struggles. 

It's important to bring awareness to actions like the power of words and body-shaming. As you seen in '13 Reasons Why' something as minor as words can really hurt someone. Body-shaming is just as bad as physically harming someone, and occasionally, worse. Young adults are learning who they are on their own terms, and harming them with negative words makes it harder for them to find out who they are. The next time you are thinking of putting someone down, you should think again. 

If you ever put someone down behind a computer screen, you don't know the repercussions and how they might react. It is better to avoid mean words at all instead of using the Internet to get a point across.

Talking to teens about their bodies is a very sensitive subject, and made even harder if they have body image issues. We advise not talking to your teens about their body in a negative way, and if you have concerns, bring it up to their doctor. There is no harm in talking to a young adult about their body, but doing it negatively can have a lasting impact that can severely hurt them. 

Our Thoughts on 13 Reasons Why

I have not seen the new show called Thirteen Reasons Why which is a drama that discusses suicide produced by Selena Gomez but I’ve certainly heard many of my clients as well as my great colleague talk about. I do want to see it and will be seeing, I would like to share my point of views from a therapist who used to do suicide prevention trainings.

One of the biggest misconceptions from the general population is that talking about suicide will increase the risk of suicide happening. Studies show that, in fact, having the dialogue about suicide will actually decrease the chances of someone acting on those thoughts. It takes away from the stigma. In my practice as well as my work in general, I talk about openly about these thoughts.

Just like any subject on Mental Health, we need to increase the dialogue that is going on so that we can reduce the stigma and make people understand that mental health issues are as important as physical issues. I have had the privilege of talking to many people, I can clearly see that there’s been more dialogue than ever in regards to Suicide and mental health in general. Among others, Alexa Curtis has done a wonderful job about this education in several national media outlets.

The issue that I can see is that it lacks lots of context besides the 13 tapes. But it also needs is the complexity of what suicide truly is and what leads to suicide  which is not simply because of other people, but those individual characteristics as well as other factors. Family history, genetics, and access to treatment among  other things.  

While it does a good job in letting people know to look for certain signs of suicidal ideation, it fails to let people know what to do about it. How do we approach someone who we may suspect is having those thoughts? What are ways to offer support, including professional treatment?  Is there other things going on that may not have been visible to other people?

We need to recognize that we do not know how to reach out for help, even the most healthy people. How do we communicate that mental health is as important as physical health? Letting people know that there are ways of talking about it in counseling, in groups, on social media, as well as other ways to discuss this issue. The common misperception is that if you are suicidal, you will be hospitalized. While this is an option, it is not the only one.

I know that this starts a conversation but I think the conversation that is started is misguided; it is not about the glamorization of suicide, this should start a conversation about prevention and treatment. I am hoping we are able to have more of these open discussions in regards to mental health treatment and prevention.

The Power of Questions

Did you find this through a social media app or website? Great, happy to hear. Hope you enjoy this blog.

We love social media at M.I.N.T. and we will never deny it. We want people to use it but we concentrate on the effects it may have on you, particularly teens, on your health in general. It CAN change the way you see yourself, as well as others, cause some conflict, and be difficult to navigate.

So why even bother with social media? Because social media is awesome! You can connect with others you may have lost touch with otherwise and it has many resources we could use for different things and make us realize that we all have a voice on social issues. We can also rally people to a cause, you can also develop a business.

I think the biggest issue is that we feel that it can be used as a platform to say anything we want. While not popular as a view, I sincerely believe we have to be responsible about our use, using language that is appropriate, as well as making sure we respect others point of view.

We can talk about how social media is a teenager/young adult thing and they need to learn to communicate appropriately but in my experience, it is the adults that need to communicate better. When you disagree with whatever, destroying the character of the person will not helps you nor does it enhance the conversation.

As a therapist, I have learned to be curious about what a person means when they say something. I wonder why we don't do the same thing on social media. For example, asking what a person means when it seems like a statement is really off. Asking questions, why they feel like that, is so key for better communication. It is also your responsibility.

And let's not forget one thing, while emojis can be helpful, there is no tone or intonation on social media messages. It does not let you know the feeling behind the statement. So it may be helpful to ask more questions. 

Check out our next blog on 13 Reasons Why from Steve, our resident therapist, and his opinion on the show.

It's important to remember that what you see online isn't always real life, and that it's important to talk about your feelings!

 

Our Recent Press!

"The first thing that popped into my mind when watching it was, 'Wow,' " said Curtis, who founded the nonprofit Media Impact and Navigation for Teens, a program that raises awareness about online bullying.

Thank you to everyone and all of the press outlets who have been supporting our journey to help and inspire teens- we can't thank you enough!

If you want to be a part of what we are creating, click here!

Social Media Vacation

One of the misconceptions we find with M.I.N.T is that people think we are going to advise them to get rid of social media altogether. While we know the pitfalls of social media, we also know and understand the importance of social media for personal connection, as well as businesses. I think of Alexa as the poster child of the use of social media in order to develop her business and more importantly, her message and her dream.

But have you ever taken a vacation from social media? What I mean by that is to not deal with social media for a full day or week or month. 2 years ago, I did not deal with social media as a practice of mindfulness, as well as a spiritual connection to my belief system. While difficult, there was several benefits, most importantly my connection to my children. I also called people and chatted about them and not happenings.

As I prepare for a week off to be with my children, I want to remain in the moment with them. So for the next week, I will get on social media a maximum of 5 times. My goal is to make those interactions related to my business or to connect to friends who have messaged me, not to check the happenings, the pictures, etc. I really want to stay in the moment and realize how beautiful life is.

I also want to realize that in life, we don’t have much else but the moment. Social media makes us look at the past or the future but it keeps us from the moment we are living right now. I want to be with my kids, not “Jane” and her pictures from her shoot. I want to discuss the last thing we saw together with my kids and have fun with it, not disagree at length with someone I barely know.

So for the next week, you want to connect, send me a personal message at stevebissonlmhc@gmail.com and let’s talk about you, me but not others, situations, or your work. All we have is today. Live it!

13 Reasons Why

What is the latest and greatest show around right now? 13 Reasons Why. Here we list the Reasons Why (corny but cute) we love this show!

1. Parents Vs. Teens

- We love the difference between parents and teens in this show. Most parents didn't have social media when they were in school, so they didn't witness how much social media can truly affect a young adults.

2. Talking

- Many suicides occur because people don't start talking. If we could get more young adults to talk to a therapist, their friends, or even family, they wouldn't feel as alone. You can always get through something with someone else, even though it may not feel like it.

3. The Power of a Picture

- The main character, Hannah, felt victimized and became depressed from a "sext" that circulated of her. She wasn't even naked, nor had she been having a sexual relationship with the boy, yet kids believed this one picture. It's hard to know what someone will do with a picture they take of you, but always keep your wits about you.

4. Where Will We Be in Five Years?

- 13 Reasons Why premiered at a perfect time, because parents and young adults are slowly beginning to realize how social media can truly make or break someone. But it also makes us think- where will this generation, and new generations, be in a few years from now?

5. Can You Stop It?

- The real question is can you prevent this to happening to someone you love? Do you know the symptoms? Do you know someone who you feel may do something like this?

If you do, please tell someone. Please alert someone you know, or sit down and talk to the person. You may not be able to help them, but you can tell them that you will always be there to listen. No problem or sadness is worth ending your life over.

Why Do We Post On Social Media

I was talking to a friend about social media the other day and he had told me he was impressed that I shared a negative event in my life on one of my platforms.

Curious, I asked why. He told me that he is feeling so discouraged about his own life by looking at all the positive posts and how great other people’s lives are going. He shared with me his anxiety and fears that he will never catch up with other “friends” he has online and what they have accomplished, where they went, or the sheer number of friends.

I guess I should have been nicer but I stated: Remember, this is what they want you to know. He smiled and we changed the subject. This brought up a question on social media that I thought would be beneficial for our discussions on MINT: why do we post on social media? As a therapist, I came to the only conclusion I thought made sense: self-esteem.

While all of you reading this blog have stuff going on in your life that can be difficult to deal with, most of us, including me, will choose to hold that in and share different positive or perceived positive stuff in our lives in order to get likes, admirations, support, or even jealousy of others.  Is this what we really wanted social media to be?

If you think about it, the community we built around our platforms was really meant to support us and help us if we are struggling. This is not to say that we should only post negative (that is another problem in within itself) but we need to learn to reach out also. It is sad that we have decided to make our social media enterprises a bragfest.

What do you guys think? Would love to get feedback on this blog, how you use social media, how it affects others, etc. Comment directly to me at stevebissonlmhc@gmail.com

Sophie Elgort x M.I.N.T.

Interview via A Life in the Fashion Lane.

Sophie Elgort is a famous fashion photographer. See her website here.

How do you describe the photography industry in 2017?

Everyone has access to a camera now on their phones and especially with Instagram photography is definitely something that people really appreciate which is cool. 

What makes you interested in social media and mental health?


I think it's important to remember that when people post on social media you are seeing only glimpses of their lives - just because it looks perfect doesn't mean it is so it's so important not to compare yourself. Social media is a great, I love it - use it to express yourself and show your work but take everything you see with a grain of salt. 

What advise would you give to young adults interested in starting a business?


One of my biggest faults is thinking too much before taking action and I work to counter this every day, so the advice I'd give is if you have an idea that you're really excited about, try it out and take action right away. Someone once told me if you're going to fail to "fail fast" and then rework the idea and try again. If you don't take action at all, there's no way you can succeed. 

Does social media play a huge role in your business?

It does. With photography, social media is such an important platform for me to show my work - not only the work that's published but also outtakes and my own projects. It is also really useful for staying in touch with people - I'm meeting so many different people every day and I like to keep up with everyone but it's physically impossible but Instagram makes it a bit easier. 

 

What interests you in my program, M.I.N.T., and why should more teens be talking about their bodies?


Opening an honest dialogue at an early age about confidence and body image is so important - these issues need to addressed so that teens know that these are REAL issues, that they're not the only ones feeling the way they're feeling and that what they're feeling is not insignificant or irrelevant. Even as an adult it can be difficult when you see an image of a person who you think has the ideal body and it can make you feel like you're not good enough. I also think it's important to remember that to get that one perfect image maybe they took 100 images and picked only the best one to post.  Even if the person does look a certain way that you admire, everyone is different and you have no idea what other things that person might be going through or what other challenges they're dealing with. These are definitely important topics to start talking about early. 

THANK YOU SOPHIE! We can't wait to have you join us on an upcoming M.I.N.T. panel!

Our Ethics

Us at M.I.N.T. stand for a few things. Here's some Monday inspiration and guidance to get you through your week!

1. We stand with Planned Parenthood

Our team doesn't have any issues supporting this cause. With a President in office who doesn't believe in many of the topics we believe in, it's important that more people start standing up for their rights. We are trying to reduce the stigma around mental health, AND supporting the causes you believe in.

2. We stand with teens taking over

The past few years have revolutionized how people view teens. In the past, teens weren't given nearly the time of day that adults were, but now, teens are running the game. Millennials are writing for the top magazines, learning how to pitch the minute they're born (literally) and following their dreams. That's what we like to see!

3. Mental health issues are not your fault

There is a stigma around mental health issues that we are trying to reduce. But many people still blame the person with mental health issues, stating that it's "there problem" or "their issue" when it actually isn't. About 1/25 adults in the United States face mental health issues, and instead of blaming, be a friend for whoever you know is facing some issues. You may be able to help them overcome them.

4. Teens need M.I.N.T.

We're a bit biased, but from our research, teens need M.I.N.T. Teens need to hear about their bodies, their wellness, and their lives. We believe strongly in opening up the discussion on health to teens, and we need your help to continue pursuing our passion to make every teen fall in love with who they are.

Happy Monday!

Substance Use

Fair warning, this is a raw blog on my part. I hesitated to write this blog but I figured I need to put out there a very silent and deadly killer and its effect.

Background: 2 weeks ago, I lost a client to a possible overdose. I had worked with him over three years and he had been in recovery during this time  I worked with him through  some relapses. He had worked hard to change his life after many  traumatic and devastating losses in his life. He had turned to opiates and opioids at times, to the point he had become addicted before the age of 18. Sure, he had had injuries, but the doctors over prescribed, as he was very charming and convincing with his doctors.

His father, concerned, had contacted my client’s doctor to let him know of his concerns in regards to his prescriptions. The doctor, at the time, citing the confidentiality of all clients over 18, stated he could not talk to his dad. His dad, devastated, wrote a heartfelt letter explaining his concerns and his fear his son would die from opioid issues. The doctor, of course, never acknowledged receipt of the letter or anything to make the father feel recognized.

Fast forward to today: I was at a memorial service for my client with many other of his friends who were distraught. His father, of course, was devastated. The girlfriend, two weeks later, still in shock. Lots of memories were shared of how great he was and how his smile, intelligence, and humor, made everyone feel better for the moment. I was equally devastated, despite the professional distance. Why? I'm a human being who has feelings.

So the effect of substance use should be apparent based on this story but let me make sure I list them:

Family

Partner

Friends

Neighbors

Acquaintances

Colleagues

Professionals

Community

 

Yes community. We should all feel a sense of loss. It needs to be said that we are fighting a war against substance use, a war we are losing because of apathy: not my family, didn't know him, I don't know for a fact what he died from, he should have done something about it. I also see an increase willingness to experiment from younger teens. Why?

 

Apathy. We need to talk about substance use to our teens and the risks associated it. Not minimize it or ignore it. Parents know it's happening but don't want to set limits. So talk about it instead of limits. Open conversations, let others know of these struggles. It is the silence that makes our biggest accidental killer, substance misuse and abuse, the monster that no one talks about.


After all, think about the excuses to not talk about substance use. Would you do that about cancer, heart disease, or diabetes?

Internet vs. Real Life

When we speak at a school, many people ask us if we think they should stop using social media altogether. Some of our technique may come across that way, but rarely do we ever suggest people stop using social media. For Steve and I, social media has helped grow our businesses drastically. Without the power of the Internet, we wouldn't be where we are today. We also wouldn't have our own experiences with social media and mental health.

Much of what you see on the web isn't real. From photoshopped images in magazines and media, to people altering their bodies using apps like FaceTune, how can you figure out what is real and what's not real nowadays? We try hard to show teens the difference between one of the pictures above compared to what they see on a magazine cover. The difference is shocking, and disappointing, for many young adults who are learning to love who they are. 

When you try to compare yourself to someone else, you simply stop yourself from accepting who you are. Instead of trying to look like a girl on a magazine cover, realize that that girl has her own struggles, too. Everyone has something- but you usually won't know what someone else is struggling with unless they tell you. 

Our suggestion? Use the Internet wisely, and don't get too obsessed with the image that you might feel like you have to portray.

Be yourself- you're always good enough.

 

Q&A with Libby Vilner

Libby Vilner is one of the coolest girls around the blog. Alexa met her at a Boston fashion event last year, and they reconnected earlier this year when Libby heard about M.I.N.T., and wanted to be a part of the magic.

Libby is passionate, dedicated and driven. She runs her website, Life with Libby, while attending grad school at BC. She's into health and wellness, which makes her a fantastic addition to our team. With her own spout of domestic violence, she brings in a new perspective to teens and mental health.

Welcome to the team, Libby!

What inspired you to start your blog, Life with Libby?

When I turned 17 I signed with Modeling Agency, and doing photoshoots, fashion shows and events, they put on so much makeup on you all the time and use all of these chemicals. One day my older brother asked me if I know what was truly within those products, and made me aware of how toxic it all is. I began to slowly learn more and therefore exchange my beauty and home products to non-toxic and organic ones. I thought to myself, if I wasn’t aware of how harmful these mainstream products are, so many other probably aren’t as well! I began my blog with a focus on raising awareness about this subject, and organic living in general. Organic living for me doesn’t just end with the products we use, it continues into the people we surround ourselves with and the life that we make for ourselves. Going through a rough childhood and teenage years, I also decided to share my story on my blog in the hopes of helping others who may have gone through similar things such as parental divorce, domestic violence, moving to a new country, and more. This is why I named my blog Life With Libby, because it focuses on wellbeing and life as a whole rather than just a portion.

  Why do you want to work with M.I.N.T.?

Being a social worker, I want to work with MINT because I am looking to make a difference, even the slightest one, in people’s lives. Through sharing my own experiences and using the knowledge I have from my masters in Social Work, I hope to inspire others to take control of their lives, to seek help, or simply to feel as though they are not alone. I wish that in my high school days someone that had gone through what I was going at the time came and spoke to us, it would have given me hope, motivation, and someone to go to for help.

What do you hope to accomplish while working with us?

I hope to connect, help, and inspire teens through my story and my knowledge in the field of social work. I hope to be a resource and safe outlet for teens who need it. I hope to bring awareness to taboo subjects, to clarify societal misunderstandings, and to provide a sense of community within each school we work with.

  What's the best advice you could give to teens who are feeling down about their body image?

I would say to be more skeptical about what they see in magazines, on screen, and social media. These days everyone has access to airbrushing, photo edits, and the famous have stylists, personal trainers, cosmetic surgeries, and other tricks. Also, your body is not everything that you are, we all obtain such talents, personalities, and accomplishments, be proud of those, shine bright like the diamonds that you are! Comparison get tricky, try to focus on being better than you are today rather than better than that person is that you’re comparing yourself to. Truth is, they are probably insecure too!

    Who has been your biggest inspiration? 

My biggest inspiration has been my mother. She always has been my guidance through this life, the person that has pushed my limits, that has set my boundaries, that has trusted me even in my worst, and that has never given up on me. She is a fighter and has gone through so many obstacles in her life as well, yet she still oozes kindness, happiness, and inspiration.

We're LIVE on GoFundMe!

We're officially LIVE on GoFundMe! The next steps for M.I.N.T. are to guarantee $4,000 so that we can bring M.I.N.T. to California + Austin schools, as well as apply for official nonprofit status. Anything that can be done will tremendously help us take our project to next level.

We've also offered some prizes to those of you that get your friends to give us a donation, too! Like a shopping trip with Alexa, a personalized beauty bag from Libby, and a personal coaching session with Steve. Getting AND giving back has never been easier!

Please share this link everywhere!

We're officially LIVE on GoFundMe! 

We're officially LIVE on GoFundMe! 

Watch our video too see more from Steve and Alexa, our founders, too!

Thank you all SO much for the help and support. We can't wait to continue this journey.

Sincerest regards,

The M.I.N.T. team

Why Not Us? Why Not Now?

Ever wondered how this project got started? Well, I’ll tell you anyway.

I met Alexa at a Talkspace conference in April 2016 in New York City. She presented eloquently and was very engaging during her discussion at the conference. At the end of her panel, the moderator noted that she was 18 years old. I was so impressed, I had to seek her out and tell her.

While lining up for lunch, I saw her. I told her I was really impressed by her knowledge of teen and young adult issues and her life experience. As we chatted quickly (of course, she was going somewhere else quickly!). we exchanged business cards. She was working out of Boston and we decided we should meet at some point.

When we did, we had two other collaborators who wanted to do the impossible: replace DARE in schools with a 60 minute panel discussion on mental health, teens, social media, and the stressors they faced. We did not have a name at a time but we had ideas and enthusiasm.  That was good enough to start creating a curriculum and talking to schools.

Our team worked at exchanging ideas and suggestions on how to present the material. It was exciting and we really wanted to go across the country and make these presentations. Our goal was to offer information, as well as educate in a fun, creative way, about the social media.

In time, our collaborators have worked with us behind the scene, as they had other personal and professional obligations that were happening. We both consider Jamieson and Abbey part of our team. Alexa Curtis and I have been working diligently to set up schools, create surveys, get good information based on studies, and a host of brainstorming ideas.

We got to speak to our first school in October. We then spoke in several other schools, 6 to be exact, spread across 3 states. We have enjoyed all the talks and gotten feedback on what was working and what was not. Alexa and I continue to work on MINT daily with passion and do everything to promote it.

So why us? Because we are a great team, we have added other collaborators since then. It will bring more excitement and more discussion, as well as a great set of opportunities. We can be flexible and present a curriculum that is adapted to the school need based on the surveys and information provided in them. We want this project to succeed. We want to reach out in every state. This is not something that is our job: it is our passion.

And we need to do it now. No one is talking social media, texting, and other newer communication devises and how it affects our teens lives significantly. We need to address it now before it gets more difficult. We are not looking to take away social media from teens: we want them to be more responsible and respectful with it, seeing the impact it has on them and on others.

It needs to be done now and we are the collaborative team to do it!