Meet Our 2019 Team
We are proud to announce that we have 20+ volunteers helping us provide a platform for youth to inspire, empower, or to help them. Together we will make a difference and it all starts from having a voice!
My name is Kanyia Charles, I am 16 years old, and I am a writer for Teen Talk Hotline. I was born in Brooklyn, New York and have lived there for most of my life up until high school when I moved to Georgia. I have faced many obstacles growing up mainly involving myself and my mentality, but through a process of growth and self realization, I can take pride in what I achieved on my own thus far. I grew up having a passion for everything, mainly involving the arts. I dream of inspiring people in every way I can through those passions and hopefully can make a difference.
I want to make a difference because change is needed. The old methods are no longer working. One of the main reasons why I love this website so much is because it gives the youth a platform and a voice to address the issues that the older generations aren't understanding. I remember being limited to certain opportunities involving writing because of my age and that was something that has always bothered me. As I gotten older and began to be more observant, I realized that many people give up their passions because they believe no one will take it seriously. However, young people have one of the most imaginative minds, and in the world where everything is so black and white, we are very limited to finding that gray area. I want to make a difference because my generation has lost hope. They lost passion and they lost a sense of meaning to their life. I want to let people know that there is still hope in everything you do despite what anyone else ever tells them. I want to make a difference because I am a rebel to society. I want to teach the rest how to break those barriers and learn to live at their greatest potential.
Hi there! My name is Melvin and I am a 21-year-old guy from the Netherlands. I study creative business, which is marketing and communication, kinda boring kinda fun. In my free time, I like to be active and social media and I am a big fan of photography, trying to become the next big influencers in a way but too scared to make big moves sometimes lol. This is was a short introduction into my life, but I feel like you will get to know me more once you start reading my posts. I struggle myself sometimes, as a lot of people do. And when I do I turn to the internet and connect with other people who struggle as well. I want to be that person that people can come to so that I can help them with whatever they feel like sharing.
The sophomore at sixteen
Who’s love for poetry and mental health
She does all she can to improve the happiness of those around her
While dealing with her own mental struggles
She’s dealt with so much
Sexual assault in two separate accounts
People are more than organisms that strive for survival. We need and desire comfort and joy but, not everyone gets the luxury of a happy, healthy life. Being happy and healthy isn’t as easily obtainable as it may seem. I was an incredibly joyous child, and yet I’ve gone through three major episodes of depression and I’m still not completely out of them. I can barely stand the fact that I was once depressed, knowing that there are so many other people out there that struggle everyday makes me want to make a difference. I can’t help everyone on earth that struggles with their mental health, but I can still try my best to generate a few smiles. I believe that everyone deserves to be happy. I grew up in a household full of smiles and joy and even as a child I tried to share my smile with others around me, even strangers at a store. That’s why I want to make a difference.
hello !! my name is connor and i am a 16 year old high school student who loves helping people in any way possible ((: i work two jobs, attend school full time, and i hope to become an entrepreneur in events planning (planning events such as weddings, birthdays etc. i would also plan catering, music and so on !) i would also like to become a public speaker to speak about suicide awareness and suicide prevention. my triplet brother committed suicide and ever since i hope everyday that i can make a change and share my story. many people in today’s society are affected by so many things. we all face our own obstacles that are so hard to overcome. today as a society we are all based on stereotypes. we all have to buy the most expensive clothing, wear the trendiest clothes to fit in, and be someone that we are not. and that causes so many problems today. many things in a persons life leads them to thinking negatively about themselves, somebody else, and even their own life. when people think that they aren’t enough or aren’t good enough leads them to believe that they aren’t needed, or wanted on this earth. and fun fact, most people that want to die don’t even really want to die. they want to end the pain and the obstacles that they don’t think they would’ve ever overcome. they think they aren’t strong enough. and i am here, apart of the outreach team for teen talk hotline to tell you over and over again that you are enough, and that you are worthy of living. that you belong here. i have gone through so much in my 16 years of living and i have a personal connection to suicide. my triplet brother, mitchell smith committed suicide on april 6, 2018. i would love to make a difference and change lives, i would like to be a voice for those who feel like they don’t have one, i would like to share my story and let others know that i am here for them
snapchat // connorr_smith
Hi, I am Grace Hester, and I have joined Teen Talk Hotline as a writer. I am 18 years old and currently live/educate in Champaign, Illinois. I know what it’s like to feel misunderstood. I know what it’s like to feel alone, and I know how bad it hurts to be labeled by your imperfections. Yet, I believe we are not defined by our darkness. We are not defined by a diagnosis, and we are not defined by our struggles. I may suffer from OCD, an eating disorder, anxiety, and depression, but I am not those mental illnesses. I want to share my journey. I aspire to make a difference in someone’s life, and I hope to show the world that mental health does not define a person. We are not our disorders. We are creators--creators of our own stories. Stories that will impact society in monumental ways. Your story could be the key that unlocks someone else’s prison so don’t be afraid to share it. Fight on and join me in the journey of finding faith in the battle.
I know what it’s like to not belong. I know what it’s like to have diminished self-worth, and I know what it’s like to crumble under unattainable expectations. Most importantly though, I know what it’s like to feel alone. In general, I want no one to experience the same feelings, but no one especially deserves to feel that way because of their biological variances. In order to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world. I want to impact society in monumental ways, but the first step is acknowledging and accepting that I’m not like everyone else, and that is okay. Reality is, we weren’t made to be like everyone else, that’s why no one person is the same. We have each been gifted with a unique ability to change the world, but too often we get caught up in societal standards that our desire to conform shields us from recognizing our true values. I want to make a difference in the lives of others. I want someone to say because of you I didn’t give up. We all have value; we all have worth, and we all have a gift exclusive to us. I want to show others that they matter, their story matters, and they can peacefully reside in knowing that sunsets prove how every day, no matter what happens, can still end beautifully. I want people to believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I want to be the reason people have hope in the profound truth exhibited within fairytales… Although dragons exist, they can be beaten. Yes, my story is far from anyone else’s, but in order to make a difference in the world, I had to be different from the world. I embrace my differences in hopes that someone else will embrace theirs and live a life for themselves not for the people whom you will always fall short of. Leave your mark on the world. Your life is the only message you get so make it worth the read, make it stand out, and make it be the reason someone chooses to continue their fight.
Lover of musicals, fiction, and anything film related. Currently trying to get a degree in English at the University of Texas at Austin. Live life the way you want to live it. If you had a chance to make change for the better, why wouldn't you want to take it? Like plenty of other people out there in the world, I've had my ups and downs. Life can be hard and for a lot of us, and I want to be able to make it as easy for as many people as possible. Even if it's just one person, if you ask me, that's still a world of difference.
Facebook: Samuel M. Garcia
I describe myself as a "Wake up Warrior" because I became lost, tripped by good intentions of others. This journey called life is not easy. But with opportunity to learn from other's who can be authentic and open, we can shorten the lost. We can find and form a solid inner guidance system sooner than not because we can actually be by helped others! Words have power. I am a poet, hunter of flowers, and lesbian.
I want to make a difference because I was tipped by others with good intentions. I was lost for at least 16 years, if not most of my life. Now with advances in science including the internet and social media, we can help each other be found within the only place one can be! It is a inside job! And it is an honor to talk to a small group, lead a book study, or dialog on a one to one. And I love to write from my heart and touch another. Instead of living in smallness, afraid to lose something that I have found to be helpful- why not share and make the world a better place!
Hi I'm Julianna. I am 17 and am a writer volunteer for Teen Talk Hotline! I am a junior in high school and plan to become a special education elementary teacher. My journey through mental health has been long and tedious. From self injury for 3 years to a diagnosis of Bipolar type 2, Anxiety Unspecified, and OCD, I have grown and overcome many battles. I find this opportunity to write as a milestone in my recovery. January 18th was 3 years since I stopped harming myself and I am so proud! I write poetry and draw to pass the time as well. I want to make a difference by being a voice for those who are too afraid to speak up, or for those who can't. Regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age; I want to be an advocate. Helping those who feel like there is none holds near to me because I was there once. Every life is worth living, it just depends on what you do to make it so.
Julianna Kustra - Facebook
A Geology major and social/environmental activist from Washington state.
I want to make a difference in this world by being an advocate for the environment, and economically and socially disadvantaged people.
Hello! My name is Jamie Donnally and I am a proud member and writer for Teen Talk Hotline. I enjoy helping others and making others smile! I cannot wait to see what this year brings us and to truly make a difference. So many people sit there and ask themselves, “What’s the point?” multiple times throughout the day, but everything has a point. From the way you look at a stranger to the tone you use when you say hello to your mother. Everything you do has an effect on others, even though we may not realize. So, now I sit here and ask myself, “Why do I want to make a difference?” That’s because everything I say and do will have an impact on someone in the world, and I am going to make sure that it is a positive one.
My name is Marissa Deville and I was born in Jacksonville, Florida but I am currently living in Edmond, Oklahoma. I’m a college student at the University of Central Oklahoma studying Geography. My whole life I grown up with the love for playing volleyball and spending time with animals. I also write and draw in my spare time. I want to make a difference because I have been through the same problems that teens are suffering through today. From anxiety to relationships to school issues, I’ve seen it all. I believe that I have found ways to cope/improve the situations I have found myself in and I hope to be able to share it with all the readers so that then they will know that there are ways to find themselves out of the issue. I want people to know that they aren’t alone with anything they go through whether or not they feel like it. If I am able to help one person and make a difference in their life with what I write then my job is done and I have achieved in helping make a difference.
My name is Katina, I love movies & music. I'm so excited to be on the TTH team, I'm also very hard on myself so I hope I can deliver! I want to make a difference in at least one person's life. I feel like we all relate somehow and someway in our experiences with any struggle in mental, physical, emotional, or even spiritual health... nobody really likes to talk about it and i hope to break that. I hope to make others feel safe enough to talk when they're ready & when they need to.
Hi there, my name is Anastasia Kusbit, however I prefer to go by Ana. I am currently 16 years old, following 17 in March and in my junior year of high school. To give you guys a little bit more of a description about myself, I was adopted from Russia around the age of 4 and then moved here to America. Growing up, my parents were always so supportive of me, so I can’t thank them enough for unconditionally loving me and supporting me all this way and helping me get here where I am today. They’ve always pushed me to excel in everything I do and be the best version of me I can be. I’ve been on the debate team since my freshman year, which has been a fantastic outlet for me to find my voice, as before high school, I was slightly more on the shy side and very anxious about voicing myself. In addition, my family and I are huge music fanatics and we love everything from rock, alternative, classical, electronic, jazz, indie, you name it. I’ve been playing the cello since 6th grade, and so I developed a love for music starting at a young age. Around the time middle school hit, I developed the passion for writing and poetry. I originally started out journaling as an escape, as hitting your teen years can be a very difficult time for most, but then it eventually developed into hundreds of poetry pieces and short story ideas. I was always a very passionate and driven person, and anything that I loved to do, I gave it my all. I have lots of feelings and emotions, and although sometimes they can overcome me, I’ve managed to translate those feelings into works of art and words that would later on inspire those who became close to me. I would consider myself as very empathetic, so I’ve always loved to help others whether that be through charity work or just giving advice. I try not to make other people’s problems my own, however, if you’re anything like me, you know how difficult that can be. There’s just this fulfilling feeling that rushes over you when you’re able to help someone. Making someone smile, laugh, cheering them up, or helping them through difficult times has always given me a place of satisfaction. I feel for others in a way that I can’t explain, and the world needs more people who are willing to give a listening ear. I’m a firm believer that we live in difficult times, and the world can be a scary place, but we as a collective whole, have the opportunity and the capability to thrive if we are just willing to listen. The power of a healing heart is more powerful than we can ever imagine. A small act of kindness, taking 15 seconds out of your day just to make sure someone is okay, complimenting someone and then watching their eyes glow, all these things create an energy that can move mountains. It can change somebody’s life, or save somebody’s life in a matter of seconds, and that is such a beautiful thing to me.
Once I got into middle school, I went through a really difficult time regarding struggling with a huge change in my life, being diagnosed with a mental illness, not having any friends and bullying. I struggled through major self-esteem issues, anxiety, depression and resorted to unhealthy outlets to cope because I never had anyone there for me besides my parents and writing that would listen. I was dying to meet someone who could finally understand, or at least try to care to understand, and it took a really long time to actually come across someone like that for me. It was hard for me to make friends as I struggled with severe social anxiety and carried a stigma on my shoulders because I was known to be the awkward, depressed kid at the school. Anyone I did meet who was curious about me abandoned me once they saw what I had to deal with and that scared them away. I didn’t have anyone, and if you’ve ever been through something like this, then you know how lonely and isolating it truly feels. Nobody ever wants to or should ever have to go through that, but having that I did go through that made me such a stronger person because I survived it and I still continue to fight my own battles, but I became independent and alive once I finally got the help I needed and found the right people who really got me and cared for me. I want to make a difference for others who have been through similar or difficult situations. Because I see them and I hear them and I understand. There is a stigma that has been held for far too long regarding the issues we have to speak out about. I want to raise awareness about these issues so that more people can understand and allow for more people to get the help that I got. The world needs healing. The world needs someone to listen to. Everyone does. I never want anyone to feel like they have to go through their struggles alone. I am driven to be the person that I always needed when I was younger but never had for others. And I think that Teen Talk Hotline provides the perfect platform and opportunity to do such a thing, and I’m so excited to see the places it will take me along with our other members. Here’s to making a difference!
Social Media handles --
Facebook: Anastasia Kusbit
Hi! My name is Amber Farrow. I am 21 years old and I’m now with the love of my life. I recently got out of one of my lowest spots I’ve been, and I really want help others get out of where I was. To answer the question of why I want to make a difference is I’ve struggled for years with loss of the people closest to me and loss of myself. I have been through the worst and I’ve been in the darkest spots a person can be, I’ve questioned suicide and even attempted. That is why I feel the need to help others! If I was able to get out of the darkest pits of my mind, then I believe everyone can. All it takes is a helping hand from others, and you can truly save a life.
Facebook: Amber Farrow
As a mexican teenager, I'd love to leave a mark on history as a writer, as a student and, above all, as a human being. I'm 18, and soon to be a international relations student. I love music, poems and dogs. I believe everyone should make a difference, even the smallest thing can move mountains and change minds.
Facebook: Paulina Ortíz
3 Team members are not listed.