May Students4Good Recap: A Peer to Peer Monthly Webinar for Students

#icanhelp engage community outreach students4good webinar Jun 07, 2023
May Students4Good Recap: A Peer to Peer Monthly Webinar for Students


May is a month of blooming and reflection, as we embrace the vibrant season and ponder the significance of our legacy. It's a time to honor the beauty of life and acknowledge those who leave a lasting impact on our world. In this spirit, we want to highlight the remarkable contributions of Areen Hashemi and Morgan Sandford. These individuals have devoted themselves to creating a meaningful difference within their communities. Despite their age, Areen and Morgan have exhibited exceptional dedication to raising awareness and extending a compassionate hand to those in need.


Normalizing The Conversation

Areen Hashemi is a 16 year-old who is a dedicated mental health advocate and founder of Normalizing the Conversation. Areen's journey began when she was diagnosed with OCD at the age of 9, which left her feeling isolated and different from her friends. Constantly comparing herself to others, particularly those who were not neurodivergent, had an impact on her mental health.


A turning point came when Areen stumbled upon mental health discussions on Reddit, discovering a larger community of individuals with similar experiences. Inspired by this realization, her mission became to amplify the voices of mental health warriors, break down stigmas, and make conversations about mental health less taboo. Areen aims to ensure that nobody feels like a misfit and publishes insightful blogs on treatment options and coping strategies.


Looking forward, Areen's goal for the next year or two is to continue expanding her impact. She intends to publish more educational blogs and cultivate a growing team of writers. One of the most inspiring stories she encountered was that of Jaylin Arnold, who faced challenges with OCD and Tourette's syndrome and transformed his experiences into an anti-bullying nonprofit.


While Areen acknowledges the incurable nature of certain mental health conditions, she firmly believes in their treatability. Her advice to others is to set achievable goals and find a community that shares their values and stands up for them. Despite having her own platform, Areen still faces hate comments from ignorant individuals, highlighting the difficulty in finding like-minded individuals. Through Reddit, she discovered her initial community and has since created her own on Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest.


The most challenging obstacle Areen encountered was building the thriving community that Normalizing the Conversation is today. It took approximately two years to reach the current level of growth and engagement. Areen's best collaborations have been with an international team of writers who come together to research and write about various topics. Recently, they explored the theme of managing relationships while navigating mental health struggles.


Through her blog and social media platform, she tirelessly works to destigmatize mental health, raise awareness about different conditions, and share the inspiring stories of mental health warriors. In a span of two years, Normalizing the Conversation has blossomed into a remarkable community of over 20,000 mental health warriors, showcasing over 50 personal stories and publishing more than 15 educational blogs.


Be The Light

Morgan Sanford is a first year student at UT Austin. During her high school years, she initiated the project "Be the Light". Recognizing the significant impact of COVID on students and people in general, she felt compelled to make a difference. Morgan began by collaborating with the student council at her high school, and the experience inspired her to run for the secretary position of the Texas Association of Student Council (TASC).


Once she secured the position, Morgan implemented her vision and created a project called "Roadmap to Wellness." This endeavor was primarily student-led, with valuable input from counselors and advisors. Through their collective efforts, they raised an impressive $1 million for TASC and donated essential resources. One of Morgan's favorite initiatives was organizing a mental health fair at her school, where one of the booths even had puppies to bring comfort and joy during finals week.


Looking ahead for the next year or two, Morgan envisions making significant strides in mental health advocacy at UT Austin on a broader scale. Transitioning the resources from high school to college wasn't too challenging, and she aims to positively impact at least 15 individuals in a meaningful way. Her goal is to contribute to the happiness of students during the lengthy school day.


Morgan's advice to others is to seize opportunities without hesitation, as the worst outcome is not receiving something, while the best outcome can be transformative. Even if faced with disappointments, she believes it builds character and fosters personal growth. If she could speak to her younger self, Morgan would emphasize the importance of knowing that the people in her life now might not be the same ones she knows in the future. With billions of people in the world, she encourages finding the right community to avoid unnecessary heartache.


The most challenging obstacle Morgan encountered was communication with the entire TASC board, given the diverse locations of its members throughout the state of Texas. However, once effective communication was achieved, managing the project became significantly easier.


Through her dedicated efforts, Morgan successfully raised funds and donated valuable resources, leaving a lasting legacy of support and guidance.


Both Areen and Morgan are truly making a difference in their communities. It is clear that they are passionate about their cause and are committed to making a positive change in the world. Their efforts are a shining example of a legacy that is left behind.


Here are our top three takeaways from this event: 

  • Personal experience can be a powerful driving force - Areen and Morgan’s personal experiences became the catalyst for their advocacy work, demonstrating that turning challenges into opportunities for change can lead to impactful initiatives.
  • Effective communication is crucial - Morgan's experience with the TASC board highlights the importance of overcoming communication challenges for successful project management and achieving shared goals.
  • Persistence is key - Areen encountered challenges in building her mental health community, but with persistence, she was able to create a thriving platform. 



What is Students4Good?

A monthly webinar for students, by students featuring student panelists who briefly present about how they are using their platform or voice to promote positivity on their school campus or within their community. Spreading the word on their project or mission while learning valuable public (remote) speaking/presentation skills!

Join us every month for your does of inspiration. For more information about Students4Good, or to become a presenter, please visit:



May Students4Good Recap: A Peer to Peer Monthly Webinar for Students

By: Anvita Ambardekar, Annual PR Intern | Digital4Good

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