Written By: Ryan Hesslau
It’s Ryan here. I wanted to take some time to talk about everything we’ve been working on and launching for this school year. As many of you know, I will be heading off to college at the end of August. Even though I am full of excitement for beginning this new chapter of my life, I wanted to make sure that foreverU was at a stable part of its journey that we can continue to grow and expand our mission while at college. Below is a brief description of the different things we’ve developed. You can learn more about them by clicking on their links. So let’s begin!
EngageU Student Leadership Program
We launched a student leadership program called, “EngageU” at the beginning of the summer. This program will allow 10 high school students to become Teen Directors for foreverU and volunteer their time to lead the movement with me and our Board of Directors throughout the school year. They will have various responsibilities and requirements that will go along with being a Teen Director. This is a great leadership role, an incredible resume builder, and you truly are leading this movement. We will all meet 1-2 times each month, exchange ideas, organize events, update social media, and much much more. Through this program we also developed 5 different teams that teens between the age of 12 and 19 can sign up for and become part of. We have a “Blogging & Writing Team,” an “Event Coordinating Team,” our “ThinkingU Team,” a “Film & Photography Team,” and a “Street Team.” Those on each team have various responsibilities as well. Each of these teams will be represented by one of our 10 Teen Directors.
“Go With Your Gut” Student Survey
We revamped and reorganized our foreverU Student Survey, which is now known as our “Go With Your Gut” Survey. The survey consists of 6 different real life scenarios followed by multiple choice questions. The survey evaluates your response to these bullying situations and makes you think about if you were in the situation, what would be your gut instinct? By taking this survey you will add up your score at the end depending on your different answers, and it will show you whether you’re an action taker, a bystander, or even a bully, but more importantly what you can do to change your actions for the better.
“foreverU Live Chats”
We wanted to think of a creative way to build a positive relationship with other fellow teens and even our followers via social media. We are launching foreverU “Live Chats.” These will start monthly with our Teen Directors and will be a way for teens to come to other teens with questions, advice, stories, or simply to just hang out with us. This will take place via video chat through “Skype.” We are all in this together, and we want to be able to be there for you.
“Spread the Word”
We now have a “Spread the Word” page on our website. These are a few different ways that you can help promote the movement. You can join our “Street Team” through “EngageU.” All individuals on the “Street Team” will be sent a foreverU Care Package full of stickers, cards, bookmarks, flyers, and more….Allowing you to spread the word around your area.
If you play for a sport’s team, your team can now rep the movement. We will send all players of your team foreverU sweatbands so that each time you step on the field, you are playing out of respect and pledging to yourself that your will support those on your team and those you play against no matter how big the rivalry may seem.
If you play in a band we can send you merchandise to wear and promote at your shows or gigs. This can help promote an incredible cause and message to your fans. Have your band rep the movement!
“EmpowerU” Campaigns are different ways to empower teens to join the movement and have the confidence to rise up for what they believe in. These are all different things that teens can do on their own. Be sure to check them out : “You Matter” Campaign, “Stick Together” Campaign, “One Voice” Campaign, “What Do You Stand For?” Campaign
“Reach Out!” Campaigns
We wanted to bring more serving into foreverU which allowed us to come up with the idea of “Reach Out!” Campaigns. We incorporate these campaigns into all of our annual events. We want to set a positive example for everyone that we come across in life. Serving each other is one of those ways. Check these out as well: “Kickn’ Out Bullying” Campaign, and “I’ve Got Your Back” Campaign.
foreverU Projects are a perfect way for teens to lead their own anti-bullying event or benefit for their school, campus, church, or community. All you really need is a main event which you get to create. Maybe a carwash, a candlelight vigil, a marathon, a cook off, really anything! Then we encourage those organizing a foreverU Project to get creative and incorporate one of our “Reach Out!” and “EmpowerU” Campaigns. If the date fits our schedule, we will send out a speaker with our booth for the event, and even take care of any promotional flyers or necessities.
Being in high school and trying to start a club called foreverU was quite difficult for me. Who would have thought we’d become a non-profit movement? Crazy! I wasn’t exactly sure what steps to take or where to even begin! We have a page on our website for teens who want to start their own club at their school. We give you the steps to take to create a club for your school and even give you a printable step by step chart to help you out!
“Peace Maker” Scholarship
We are launching a scholarship fund that will allow us to give out 2-4 scholarships at the end of each year to teens that are furthering their education. It is called the “Peach Maker” Scholarship. The scholarship is focused on tees who are rising up in their school in community to be a peace maker. There are other requirements as well as how foreverU has impacted their live or how they are continually living out our message.
foreverU Productions will be filming, editing, and producing all video updates, video documentaries, and more. We will also be filming 1-2 powerful anti-bullying campaign videos each year though foreverU Productions and the help of our “Film & Photography Team.”
“Operations: Rise!” is a day to day challenge to help you make the proper adjustments in your life to live for the better. “Rethink! Mondays,” “Relive! Tuesdays,” “Reach Out! Wednesdays,” “Repeat! Thursdays,” “Revive! Fridays.” We even have a printable chart to help you out along the way and different things you can do each day. If you mess up, no big deal, don’t give up! Before you know it, they won’t even be challenges; it’ll just be a way of life.
We had a successful year with our speaking events and anti-bullying rallies with it only being our 2nd year. I’m happy to say that by the end of my senior year and foreverU’s second year, we’ve shared foreverU’s message with about 6200 people across Illinois. I’ve spent a lot of time this summer trying to create a way foreverU could bring the most impactful, empowering, inspiring one hour to the lives of teens. Indeed we have. From incorporating more music (since music does something words can’t), more hard-hitting of videos, more audience involvement, and I’ve been focusing on being a more motivational speaker, we created “foreverU Awakenings.” It’s time to awaken the lives of teens. We’ve also narrowed down different themes for foreverU Awakenings that you get to choose: “A Road Worth Walking,” “Hello My Name Is…” “Enlightening Purpose,” “Who Do You See In The Mirror?” With me at college, it seems as though we can only speak on Tuesdays and Thursdays for my first semester, because I only have one class at 9am. Be sure to look into and consider having us out to your school, college campus, club, or church. Check it out! We hope to expand out of Illinois this school year.
Take The Pledge
We’ve also revamped our foreverU Pledge. Our pledge consists of printing out our foreverU Pledge template at our website. The template says “I want to join the movement against bullying because….” YOU fill in the rest. We believe that it is up to YOU to take that next step and be the change you wish to see in the world. Then take a picture of it and post it on social media and tag us! This will then be featured on our “Share-Wall” We felt this was a creative way to integrate social media with a positive message. Try it out! There is a couple other tasks we’d love for you to accomplish by taking the pledge that are listed on our website as well. Please spread the word about our pledge!
OHYA, WE ARE ALSO A FULLY QUALIFIED 501(C)3 CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION. PLEASE CONSIDER MAKING A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION ALLOWING US TO CONTINUE OUR MISSION. LEARN MORE ABOUT WHERE YOUR DONATIONS ARE GOING AT THE LINK BELOW.
We have plenty of other exciting things to come this school year. These are some of the things we’ve been busy working on the past few months. Please get involved and check out the many other ways to join the movement. Keep being awesome and thank you for all of your continued support through this journey. http://foreverumovement.com/get-involved.html
foreverU Founder | Executive Director
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