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!
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!
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.
The M.I.N.T. team
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!
1. What inspired you to start M.I.N.T?
Alexa! I was so impressed by her presence at a conference I attended. She was inspiring then. We exchanged information and she was really into doing this project. Her energy helped me also get energized on a subject that I have observed from a far for years.
2. Why are you interested in social media and it's effect on mental health?
I have seen what it does to my adult friends. I can also see it in my teenagers that I see. Teenagers feel so isolated, it is important to remind them that they are not alone. As a therapist, I see the long term effects of bad experiences with others as a teenager.
3. Why is this so important to you?
Growing up, I lost my best friend when I was 12. He died in a fire. It devastated me a great deal, to the point I was more isolate and was really struggling with depression, weight gain, and self-esteem issues. I had no one to talk to. With social media and mental health, it is the same thing. While saying it is social media, I also see many people who don't know who to turn to for support.
4. How is M.I.N.T different from other anti-bullying campaigns that are out there?
No one is actually talking about the biggest bullying going on right now: the social media bullying. We know it's a phenomenon but we don't address the depression, anxiety, fear of missing out (FOMO), obsessive compulsive behavior it is causing. We also need to find ways to show it is happening so that everyone can see it and how teenagers and adults CAN do something about it.
5. How does it feel to get out there and spread your message to teens across the country?
It feels awesome. I feel we have developed a great message that is based on reality and the actual issues teenagers face on a regular basis. IT is important to be able to get a message that is based on actual things teens are going through. I hope we can continue to share this message and give them the hope and courage to go forward.
6. What has the response been from your program so far?
Excellent. I think we have made many people uncomfortable discussing this issue and that is a good thing. I see teenagers and school staff cringe and be uncomfortable when we bring up some subjects such as cutting, as well as body image. Making people uncomfortable creates their little group discussion, which is key to get the conversation going.
7. Who inspires as you continue to build M.I.N.T?
I like to think of my work here as groundbreaking, an innovation so to speak. We need more of these services around social services. Those innovators and people who pushed despite the odds against them really inspire me. To name a few would mean to forget some. So I will just leave it as that.
8. What is the best advice that you received that has really helped you?
Be yourself. Do not change who you are to please others. I always wanted to make others happy but it caused me to lose respect in myself, as well as not be able to do things for me. I think that being able to be me allowed me to see that I am liked and that people will accept me for who I am.
9. What are your goals for this year?
Go to more schools, get to do it on both coasts of the continental United States, as well as create the curriculum to make it even more real to potential schools, donors, as well as form our non-profit
10. Where do you hope to see M.I.N.T in 5 years from now?
The program is stronger than ever, being implemented in schools across the 50 state plus some westernized countries. I am still doing presentations with Alexa but we are also training other well motivated, great people to do the presentations their way, so they can inspire others for years to come. I have vanity license plates that say M.I.N.T.