How Finding the Right Mentor Changes Everything
Back in March, I was given the opportunity to attend Three Dot Dash, a week-long summit for 13- to 19-year-olds looking to create change in the world through a project or organization. I landed an invite because of Buddy Project, a non-profit organization that I started to prevent suicide and self-harm.
It was a priceless experience; not only would I never have had the opportunity to be educated on social entrepreneurship skills anywhere else, but I also wouldn’t have met Liz Eddy, the Director of Communications for Crisis Text Line. Passionate and determined, she's one of the many women I look up to in the non-profit world and I’m lucky enough to count her as my mentor. I’ve learned a lot from her that I wouldn’t have figured out on my own and feel incredibly grateful that she’s in my life. I spoke with Liz about getting through tough times and the importance of finding a support group.
First, how did you start working with Crisis Text Line?
I learned about Crisis Text Line before it launched, while I was working at DoSomething.org. I immediately thought, "Duh, this is genius. I have to help make this happen.”
What are your thoughts about bullying, both in person and cyber?
It's sadly become a pivotal point in so many of our stories as we grow up. Surround yourself with people who make you feel loved and inspired to be better. And self-love is contagious; help those around you feel it, too. We all have the power to not only overcome bullying, but to help stop it for others.
What advice do you have for anyone who has a friend going through something tough?
Don't try to solve their problems for them. That is a huge weight to put on your shoulders! The best thing you can do is truly listen; avoid interrupting, offering advice, or judging. Then tell them to put Crisis Text Line in their phone—we are there for them for free, 24/7. Just text 741741.
What were you like as a teenager?
Oh man, I was pretty convinced I was going to change the way the fashion industry approached corporate social responsibility. Maybe I still will. I also was certain I had a future with Justin Timberlake...Jessica Biel beat me to it.
If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?
Not to limit myself. I wish I knew that my major in college really didn't matter. College is just the starting point, not the endgame. What's important is identifying what makes you feel happy and energized. Then, being OK when it changes over time. Humans aren't meant to stay the same! Side note: If you want to be a doctor or a scientist or an engineer, give it a try! A string of bad math teachers convinced me I wasn't good at math (I'm actually not that bad at it!), which deterred me from pursuing those paths.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned in life?
There are three really important things I've learned in my brief 26 years on Earth:
1) Being upset or vulnerable is not a sign of weakness. It's human and anyone who seems like they never fall apart is just really good at hiding it.
2) Your pain is not who you are. I always feared that saying my problems out loud would make friends or family pin me as weak or unstable. I've learned that not only is it not healthy to keep it all in, but being vulnerable sometimes even makes you more relatable. No one wants to be friends with a robot!
3) Find your people. Sometimes as a teen it can feel like you're the only one who's ever experienced what you're going through. I promise, there are many who get it. I didn't find my people until I was 24 and I began volunteering at a grief camp called Experience Camps. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by people of all ages who lost a parent or sibling.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, text 741741 at any time for support.
By Gabby Frost, 19