This post comes from SB, aged 14, who wants to speak up for her fellow teenagers.
For years teens have been misunderstood and are almost always seen in a negative way. We are constantly being pushed down in the media because we are supposed to be grumpy, moody and disrespectful. Teenagers deserve more credit because being a teen isn’t easy. Everyone older should remember that. Everyone has school and home to deal with and some people have so much more.
Patrick Ness said it best when he said “ The worst thing our present government and in fact we as a culture do about teenagers is that we always think of them in negative terms”. I think that ever since the London riots teenagers have been downgraded more even though many of the people causing the riots turned out to be adults.
Teen Spirit is a group of teenagers who are affected by or living with HIV. It is a place where we can come and talk about how we feel and how HIV is affecting us and just basically make friends with other people who know what we’re going through. We also do different workshops that may include music, song-writing, dance, drama, or just something to make us active.
On the worst day of the London Riots in 2011, young people from across London and many members of Teen Spirit came together to make a film aimed at improving understanding and impressions of HIV. A group of teenagers working together for positive social change made UNDEFEATED which is now going out into schools and changing negative attitudes to HIV with the Life in my Shoes campaign.
Teen Spirit shows that many teenagers embody the opposite of negativity. Among us we have peer mentors, young people who talk to teens about problems they may be having and they show genuine understanding, respect and compassion because they’ve been where we are now and come out the other side. Volunteering as active members of our community, we can also do work experience here. Every Thursday there is a bubbly atmosphere and its all cheery and its even better because we are surrounded with friends and staff who show understanding. Not a negative stereotype in sight.