Every opportunity that involves youth serving as an advisor has the potential for mentorship. As a part of the Youth 2 Innovator Program (Y2I) Advisory Board, our cohort of teens were paired with an innovator to not only advise their innovation, but to be mentored by them. The beauty of our advisory program is how a teenager anywhere in the US can gain a mentor and influence the design process of an innovation that deeply cares for the wellbeing of youth through digital spaces. As Headstream prepares to roll out our second iteration of the Y2I Advisory Board program, Youth Advisors Madison Ramos and Rachel Patterson shared their experiences advising Headstream Innovation, Novelly. Their experiences working with Novelly shows the myriad of ways mentorship can be manifested and the profound impact it has on the wellbeing of youth.
“Headstream matched me with Novelly, an ed-tech nonprofit reinventing civic education through stories and fiction. I would truly consider this a match made in heaven as the idea of combining reading with social justice pulled at my bookworm heartstrings” said Youth Advisor, Madison Ramos. “After working with the team, I really couldn’t be happier. Not only have I been able to learn so much about the inner-workings of growing startups, but I have watched as my feedback and insight inspires positive change. Moreover, I’ve realized that the relationships you form as an advisor are incredible. After meeting with Anna, Novelly’s founder, we discussed what excited me about Novelly and brainstormed how I could contribute to the team. From this meeting, I joined the team as a Content Intern, and I’m currently continuing in this role! I’ve been able to make my own contributions, and playing a part in the progression of such an amazing nonprofit has been truly exhilarating. Additionally, the whole Novelly team is incredible, and I am so grateful to have met and continue to work with such an outstanding group of people.
“Working as a Headstream Youth Advisor is an opportunity to work with an innovation that you will not only be grateful to work with but be grateful for. The work that innovations like Novelly do is impactful and empowering, and the experience of getting to know innovators is invaluable. Really, I can't recommend it enough!”
“I am so incredibly grateful to have been a Headstream Youth Advisor this past summer! It’s unbelievably rewarding to be able to draw from your own experiences to help the development of a youth-targeted innovation (not to mention, the innovators in Headstream’s accelerator are incredible). Even more, being a Youth Advisor can lead to so much more than advising. I was offered a summer internship less than a month into working with my innovator, and I also accepted an invitation to continue as part of the team this fall!”
Being a youth advisor for Headstream’s startup founders can lead to amazing opportunities! It can be the outlet you find your career path, your passions, and your community. Youth Advisor Rachel Patterson shared her experience working with Novelly and growing her own appreciation for enhancing her own passions through her work on the advisory board.
“Participating in Headstream as a Youth Advisor for Novelly was truly the highlight of my summer. I genuinely had no idea what exactly Headstream or the Y2I Innovator Program was, I simply knew how much I valued mental health and wellness and how much I loved start-ups. Having been suddenly thrown into quarantine, it was so difficult for me to find community and as recent tragic events sparked social and political unrest, my uneasiness grew. Quickly, Headstream became more than a program I participated in, but rather a source of calmness that truly centered me throughout my week. I was surrounded by incredibly inspirational young people and amazing innovators who were pushing their start-ups to new heights, but what truly connected us all was our commitment to mental health and wellbeing.
“Within the Y2I Program, I was paired with Anna Casalme who is the founder of Novelly, an ed-tech organization seeking to use stories as a means to increase youth civic engagement and education. It was a great pairing that helped me explore ed-tech and contribute ideas to help increase equity in civic youth engagement. I worked with the Director of Education, Rebecca Chung, to try and form new partnerships with like-minded organizations and figure out logistical elements of the Novelly afterschool programs, and the Director of Product, Abishek Bhaduri on data analysis and increasing retention rates of the Novelly App. It was an amazing experience and as a Youth Advisor, I truly felt that my voice was heard with Novelly and that my inputs were valued.
“My experience with Headstream has allowed me to meet incredible young changemakers and helped me forge meaningful, long-lasting relationships with Novelly’s executive team. As a current college student, learning more about data analytics has further fueled my desire to pursue a minor in Data Science. I also loved the fast-paced, evolving nature of the start-ups I engaged with during my experience at Headstream so much that I am heavily involved in entrepreneurship as well. In short, my experience with Headstream, the Y2I Program and Novelly has been truly transformative and continues to shape my decisions to this day!”
We believe an advisor relationship is so much more than a one way street. It can be the first step in your journey and influence the path you take both personally and professionally. If you’re interested in becoming a Youth Advisor, it’s not too late! Applications close December 1st.