Our student webinar for April was amazing! We were joined by two amazing changemakers with projects that help people both emotionally and physically. Our two panelists were Pravneet Chadha with his project Project Smile AZ and Zach Gottlieb from Talk With Zach.
Their goal is to bring smiles to everyone, from A-Z. They are initiating innovative ways to make kindness “cool” for anyone, especially youth, using primarily digital kindness themes. These simple acts of kindness are done by ordinary people to impact a broader community. They vouch that one small act of kindness can leave a great impact, that's why they believe anyone anywhere can make a difference.
“Our youngest smilers are preschool children and our oldest is in their 90’s,” Chadha said.
They have impacted people across the world in the 1 ½ year Project Smile AZ has been around. The project has helped distribute thousands of gently used books to youth in need, hundreds of food bags to homeless and low-income families, and smile art kits are given to children with disabilities, those in foster care, and refugees. They even procured smile dental kits for teenagers in low-income communities. There are 1,000+ smile-makers around the world, working thousands of hours to make this world a better place. They have partnered with multiple organizations such as Hart Pantry, Circle the City, Phoenix Cancer Support Network, and so much more.
Having made such a strong impact in such a short amount of time, what does the future hold for Smile A-Z?
“We see it expanding worldwide. I hope this goes around the world,” Chadha said about the future of Smile A-Z, “I want to see many more acts of kindness.”
Pravneet has worked on this project with his brother, Hursheet, and together they have found ways that help them grow better as a team.
“It’s a learning experience. We both work our very best and it works out!” Chadha said.
Zach Gottlieb is a sophomore in high school from Los Angeles. He has created Talk with Zach, a Gen Z media platform and community that focuses on mental health. He created this project to break down the stigma around mental health. Talk with Zach opens up a variety of conversations about topics teens need to hear about.
“I want to educate teens about these things because they’re so important. I want them to know they aren’t alone in what they’re going through,” Gottlieb said.
When asked about the hardest mental health stigma he faces as a man, Gottlieb said, “Being open and showing emotion is okay. It's so hard because, from a young age, boys are told to keep it inside. These barriers are so difficult because it's ingrained and part of our culture.”
“I want to make a change. It starts by changing how people think,” Gottlieb said.
Zach is currently growing his project online. He has been featured on the news, he has 100,000 + engagements on his content, and he even has a brand partnership with Madhappy, a mental health brand. He is currently working on writing a blog is starting a TikTok and YouTube channel, and even collaborating with Nike to create merchandise.
“There’s no set formula for mental health. I think that if you are going through something, please seek out professional help. Please take care of yourself. Seek out emotional support from friends and family. Relax, get outside, get your mind off the thing stressing you out,” Gottlieb said when asked about a few tips for mental health.
We love how innovative and fun these projects are and we would love to see more in the future. April was a wonderful month to learn how to focus and take care of ourselves and others a bit better.
Here are our top 3 takeaway activities from the webinar that we encourage you to engage with:
Would you like to reset your digital relationships and tech habits to become more present and improve your mental health and wellbeing? Please join #ICANHELP in our 21-Day Digital Wellness Challenge. You will receive daily videos to coach you through each new challenge, tips to help you complete the challenges, discussion questions and forums to connect with fellow participants and so much more. If you are interested, you can purchase this challenge for $5.00 USD here.
On May 1, 2022, we are hosting another Student Voices Webinar where panelists will speak about Mental Health Awareness month, self-harm awareness and prevention, and more! We would love to see you there. If you are interested in being a speaker for May’s panel, apply here.
Or, if you’re interested in the topics but don’t want to be a speaker, sign up as an attendee, and we’ll see you on May 1! Attend May Student Voices Webinar
Would you like to speak but can’t this month? No worries! We open up panelists’ surveys every month so apply for the topic that best speaks to you! See the infographic below to see our monthly conversation topics.
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