Teens Helping Teens
Weezy, Nina, Will, Ryan, Nico, Jake, Montana and Kiemute
Every Tuesday night my home is invaded by teenagers. Yes, they ring the doorbell. Yes, I let them in. Yes, I feed them and encourage them to come again, but the trauma is real and it’s weekly.
Our Place Out Loud – Show 195
About five years ago, I published a semi-autobiographical novel called Journals in the App Store. We added an Ask The Author feature where I offered growing up advice to kids. This evolved into the safe and friendly teen social network, Our Place. The podcast brings that social network to real life as a panel of teens help me field questions that come into the app from around the world.
Nico, Will, Ryan, Montana, Kiemute, Ryan, Nico
How does all of this come together weekly in my home? Well, first I go into a tiny coma and then A LOT of wonderful people help me pull it off. The kids start arriving around 5pm. And I love them but kids do not just arrive. They arrive with backpacks and homework and noisy iDevices and loud opinons about feminism, Internet freedom and the Zombie Apocalypse. They arrive with an explosion of things, gear, stuff and sneakers. And they arrive hungry.
Our Place Out Loud – Show 194
Yes, they are very, very hungry and this is why Teresa also arrives. Mother Teresa? To me? Yes. She feeds them, picks up after them and makes sure that the tall kitchen garbage bag remains snuggly in place around the tall kitchen garbage bin so that I do not spend the remains of my day hosing pizza goo out of the tall kitchen garbage bin. God Bless Teresa.
Samantha, Kiemute, Weezy, Nina, Aaron
At 6pm, we open the mics and cameras for the “pre-show.” The narrowcast is pumped live into the Our Place app and this gives viewers a chance to peek behind the scenes as we set up. There is often more than a bit of scrambling (and hushed expletives) during pre-show as the technical heartbeat of Our Place Out Loud depends upon a delicately interwoven patchwork of winches, pulleys, cords, cables, wires, tin cans, vacuum tubing and security cams.
Our Place Out Loud – Show number 193
But collective will has a way of working wonders and each week, we hit our stride and we shine. By show time the studio is packed with kids, grown ups, fun and wisdom all pulling together to share the universal experience of growing up.
The Our Place Out Loud kids are spectacular. Their words and their hearts are helping scores of kids, parents, teachers, grandparents and lunch ladies worldwide.
Yes, it is more difficult to find parking on my street every Tuesday night. Yes, the occasional sneaker is left behind. Yes, it is challenging to remain cheery when somebody asks me if we have any Fanta Grape two minutes before showtime. Come on! Isn’t that why Teresa’s here?? But I am so proud of our team and what we create together.
Take a look and listen. We would love to hear your thoughts.