Pamela and Sophie’s stories

“I think part of me is doing it for me, for the kid I was. I wish I had this as a kid.” – Pam

“Having anxiety made me a better listener. When people spoke to me, I realized all the things I hated. Like, don’t tell me to relax. I never say that to anyone.” – Sophie

Pamela’s Story
Being a teen is tough. Mix that with anything that’s out of the ordinary, and it’s harder. I grew up as a teen with obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, and Tourette’s syndrome. When I’m working long hours to make Here.Now. the best program possible, I think part of me is doing it for me, for that kid I was.

I wish I had it as a kid. We all wish we did. I hear that so much.

This whole online community, the articles and social media we post, is by teens. Even the name Here.Now. came from the teens. Everyone’s always asking teens, “How are you doing with the college process?” and “What do you want to be?” But maybe what they need to be asking is, “Who are you are right now?”

Every teen should know that whoever they are in the moment is amazing. It’s okay you’re struggling. You can get help and love yourself at the same time.

Sophie’s story
Before Here.Now. I didn’t know anyone who related to my struggle. But hearing from other teens definitely makes you feel like you’re not alone — and that you can get through it, if they got through it. I don’t think adults really understand how much pressure is on us, the pressure to be perfect.

With Here.Now., it’s really nice to be able to say, “I’m having a bad day” and not have anyone ask what’s wrong. They just say, “Oh, you’re having a bad day? Let me cheer you up.”

I’m one of five teens in leadership positions who read everything we put online. We make sure it’s teen-friendly and the types of things we wish someone would say to us.

Pamela Schuller is program director and Sophie Riegel teen president of Here.Now., an online platform where teens can connect with each other about mental health, well-being, and resilience. UJA collaborated with our partner and beneficiary The Jewish Board to create and support Here.Now.

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