Can teens be encouraged to take charge of their health ?
Yes , says Indian �ills �igh School junior Valeri Guevarra . She has turned her quest for age-appropriate health information into Teen �ealth 101 , amultimedia platform operated by an international volunteer student staff of 100 serving followers in 1� countries .
For her efforts , Guevarra was named aGen-Z �0�0 �onoree by The Conversationalist , and appeared in its Jan . 13YouTube broadcast onyouth health issues with celebrity surgeon Dr . Mehmet Oz . The website recognizes Gen-Zers making adifference in the world .
“ It actually started out as an English �Passion Project ,’” Guevarra says .“ We were supposed to create awebsite about anything we were passionate about . It was originally apersonal blog called �Spice of Life ’ that encouraged youth to be cultured and informed about the world around them .”
And it grew from there to include awebsite , online magazine , blog posts , social media , webinars and podcasts . Teen �ealth 101 had close to � , 000 followers on Instagram as of March , and �0,000 website views .
It has become aregistered nonprofit , and recently recruited Monica Moreno , anutritionist from Miami who isthe dietician for the Miami Marlins , as its first health care professional to serve on the consultant board . �er role with Teen �ealth 101 is to make sure all nutrition information isaccurate and unbiased , Guevarra says .
In February , the organization was featured at the NJ S�APE PE��ealth Teacher ’ s Convention .
RA�SED ��TH A�ARE�ESS
Guevarra ’ s health interest is understandable . She comes from afamily of nurses �her father , grandmother and aunt are all in the profession . And she plans to study nursing . So she was sensitive to the misinformation she saw floating around on Instagram , Facebook and other media popular with her peers .
“ Like the YouTube video saying you can lose �pounds intwo weeks drinking apple cider vinegar ,” Guevarra says . “ It ’ s easy for teens to be misled . And a lot of health information is not written for a teen audience . It ’ s written in language they don ’ t understand .”
The challenge , Guevarra decided , was to provide one place where her peers could go for reliable and understandable information on a variety of health topics . In particular , she wanted to concentrate on the mental health challenges she saw emerging as students struggled with the isolation of COVID-1� .
“ Self-care is very important ,” Guevarra says . “ Taking a break from the computer screen� ifyou can ’ tgoto the gym , how to work out at home .”
�er first recruits were classmates Julianna Zelnhefer , head of graphic design for social media , and Andrew Simmers , director of written content . “ We get health classes