As we near the end of the year, we will be sharing all the things we are grateful for this year with each of our JBBBSLA programs. We know it’s been a challenging year, but there have been many bright spots, and we wanted to share them with you! Each week we will be spotlighting a different program. Next up: Teen Talk.
Research shows that teens naturally seek advice from their peers and prefer to communicate electronically. To help struggling teens Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters knew we had to find a way to meet teens where they are – on their mobile devices. From that revelation and much research from mental health professionals, teachers and teens, Teen Talk was created. Teen Talk offers a safe, anonymous, and free place to get support from other teens who can understand their stress. Anxiety is on the rise during teenage years – whether it’s about school, relationships, depression, family issues, body image, drugs and more. The constant social media barrage is an assault on teens’ emotions and so many just need a trusted voice to listen to their fears; the pandemic has only exacerbated the issues with the majority of their socializing coming to a complete stop.
Part of the success of Teen Talk is because of our compassionate volunteer teen advisors. These teens are ambassadors for positive social and emotional health, providing support to teens worldwide through the Teen Talk app. Our teen advisors participate in a 50-hour training program that covers a variety of mental health topics and prepares them for their remote shifts. The teen advisors are supervised by an adult, licensed therapist who is there to provide support to both the advisor and teen if the situation requires it.
Click below to hear from Carys, one of our Teen Talk teen advisors.
When the app was launched just over two years ago, we expected maybe a few hundred kids to download and use it. What we weren’t expecting was the incredible popularity of this app and the demand it garnered. As of today, we have over 40,000 teens on the app in over 100 countries.
Teen Talk has also had to deal with the challenges of COVID and the current virtual environment. Advisors originally needed to come from the Los Angeles area due to in-person training. With the shift to virtual training, our advisors now come from locations all across the West Coast. Our teen advisors have also needed to be trained on the additional challenges teens are facing – isolation, lack of socialization, missing friends, unstable family lives – and have admirably risen to the challenge.
As more teens communicate on the app, Teen Talk will continue to grow, helping more and more teens each day.
If you’d like to learn more about the Teen Talk program, please click here.
Next up: we hear from our Bigs and Littles and how they’ve kept the connection going virtually!