Teen Talk Hotline: Helping And Inspiring Our Youth

Cennedi Fry, Online Editor

One Derry student went from being a bullied teen to a nonprofit creator. Blake Newborn’s idea started from a group chat on Kik messenger when he was fourteen. Since then he has launched his own website, teentalkhotline.org and social media accounts associated with the website.

When did you start Teen Talk Hotline?
Teen Talk Hotline originally started as a group chat on Kik Messenger. At the time of the group chat, I was 14 years old, I thought more about it and wanted to make it something more than a group chat. I created the social media and officially launched it in 2015. We are going into the 4th anniversary this year and since 2015 we have grown tremendously. www.teentalkhotline.org is in more than 40 countries worldwide and has a growing social media presence of 20,000+ people.

Why did you start it?
I started Teen Talk Hotline out of my own experience from being bullied. I was being bullied for my sexuality. I came out in sophomore year of high school and the bullying got so bad to the
point that I had to go cyber school for my whole junior year. I felt so alone and silenced so when I went cyber school I shifted my focus from what others were saying about me to Teen Talk Hotline. It was my way to escape the pain that I felt to help others avoid the way I felt and to give and be a voice for people who experienced bullying and numerous of other things. The main goal was to empower survivors and to help others through the platform. Too many people who felt the pain that I did, died because they felt like they had no other way to escape the
bullying. My purpose is to save lives and be the voice for the unheard. That’s exactly what Teen Talk Hotline does.

What have you learned from creating it?
From launching it when I was 15 years old, I knew absolutely nothing about how to manage, launch, or run an organization. The last 4 years was a learning process full of failures and successes. I am self-taught on what I do and I have connected with others in the industry such as Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, Crisis Text Line, Find Your Anchor and many more organizations. I learned how to create digital marketing strategies, website design,
management, and outreach coordinating. Everyday, I learn something new that I could do and I learn what not to do. In order for a business to be successful, you have to take every risk imaginable and I do that. It’s about risk taking and not being scared to fail.

   Currently, we have over 20 people volunteering for the website. We accept submissions from anyone who wants to submit a story or article. We also do interview requests depending on if it
is right timing. Each writer publishes 2 articles a month. Our Outreach team is responsible for carrying out Teen Talk Hotline missions within their communities. February’s mission was to spread kindness. We also have YouTubers that will be making videos for our organization. This has not launched. If you want to volunteer for the platform, email [email protected]

What does the future hold for you and the site?
Just thinking about the future of Teen Talk Hotline is exciting for me. There is so much that I want to do with Teen Talk Hotline and so much already in the works. Some of the things, I cannot share since nothing is finalized but once they are or if they are, I will be sure to let everyone know on the TTH social media! However, there is one thing I can share and we are planning an anti-bullying campaign that is set to launch soon.

What do you hope to accomplish with the site?

One day, I hope to develop what my vision holds for Teen Talk Hotline and I want to save as many lives as I can.