Teens Dream Video Competition Participants Set to Make a Difference

By Yonca Poyraz Dogan

It all started with a dream and then came action. Answering our questions, they tell us how it all came about and what they are doing to make a difference by taking part in the competition.

The History Teacher Gamze Emeksiz and Her Students

Gülçin Eroğlu, who leads her team, explained that their history teacher, Gamze Emeksiz talked about the Teens Dream Competition at their school, and she and her friends loved the idea of being a part of it. “So we were inspired by being a little voice to a big problem,” Eroğlu said.

Why did they choose the goal of zero hunger?

Competition participant Elif Sıla Erdem said that since too many people die of hunger every day unnecessarily, it was a natural choice.

Her teammate Gülşah Bal added that it was all about raising awareness. “Maybe we can’t solve the whole problem, but we can be the light of somebody’s life. Even if we can reach one person, our dream will come true,” she said. Another team member, Yağmur Uğur said that with the support of TATV, they found an opportunity to make the world hear their voices. “As a world citizen, I do have some responsibilities due to damage that has been made to planet Earth by our kind. And it is on us to fix it,” she said. According to Elif Kumlu, finding solutions to the world’s problems should be permanent. And one of the greatest ways of doing this is to participate in the Model United Nations (MUN) conferences. She reminded that “zero hunger” is one of the sustainable development goals of the UN, and as an active participant, she finds participating the MUN is a great platform to end hunger by finding solutions.

Global Co Lab Network notes:  Elif Sila Erdem has joined the Global Co Lab Network's Hunger Hub, a virtual room led by teens working on hunger in their communities.  We invite all teens globally to join our Hubs!

Arts Hub’s Global Youth Upcycling Challenge

By Annabel Williams, Teen Ambassador of the Global Co Lab Network Arts Hub

The Eco-Teen Action Network’s (ETANs) Arts Hub just launched its 2020 Global Youth Upcycling Challenge.  In partnership with ETAN’s Plastics Hub, Globart, the Global Co-Lab Network's Arts Hub challenges teens globally to submit photos of upcycled artwork creations to showcase on the Co Lab's social media platforms and the Global website. The challenge urges teens (ages 13-18) to create things from jewelry, fashion, home decor, to artwork using recycled materials such as plastic bottles, old wood, plastic bags, glass, newspaper, etc. 

With 14 billion pounds of trash being dumped into the ocean each year, overflowing landfills, and incinerators burning trash while releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, it is abundantly clear that our world has a problem with waste, part of which can be attributed to the single-use culture. There are numerous problems contributing to our waste and many solutions to better manage that waste as well, but it is apparent that we need to change our habits and our thinking around consumerism to transition to a circular economy. This is the only way to actually reduce the amount of trash we put out and we do so by the well-known, but very accurate, saying reduce, reuse, recycle! Upcycling, by definition, means to “reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.” We are calling young people to action to create new items and beautiful artwork to bring awareness to the world’s single waste issue, reduce trash and pollution in their own communities, help people internalize the principles of reuse, and challenge students’ creativity and ability to work with new materials. 

To participate in the Global Youth Upcycling Challenge, you must be between 13 and 18 years of age and have photos of your work submitted before our deadline of September 15th to this submission form. We are anticipating to see things such as multimedia sculptures or collages, fashion items, rugs or baskets, jewelry, flower pots, and so much more. To learn more about the challenge guidelines and submission process, check out our infographic. We can’t wait to see what teens create!

Teen Reflection on Article: Paying for healthcare with Trees

By Marieka Staheli and Alex Trapanese, Climate Hub, Eco Teen Action Network

Orangutan habitats are disappearing due to widespread deforestation. ASRI and health and Harmony partnered in an effort to stop this in the Bornean forests. Affordable health care and organic farming were what Bornean people needed in order to support themselves without the profit earned from deforestation. With affordable health care and education on sustainable farming, the community could drastically reduce their deforestation and save orangutans in the Bornean region.

The approach ASRI and Health and Harmony took to the problem of deforestation and destruction of Bornean orangutan habitats was to ask the local community what it would take for illegal logging to stop. This tactic referred to in the article as “radical listening”, proved to be a success. Through listening to the local community's explanation that the solution would need to include new education and resources for organic farming and better healthcare, the two organizations executed a plan that included the opening of an affordable health clinic and training in organic farming.

The creation of this solution emphasizes listening and providing education, much like that of the solutions to environmental issues created by the Eco Teen Action Network. ETAN adult leaders listen to teens in the SDG Hubs of the Global Co Lab Network and provide information and connections to solve issues teens are passionate about.  Join our teen-led Hub on Climate Change!

See article here for more info!


TATV Staff Picks

TATV Staff Picked 2019 Teens Dream Young Producers

Fairfax, VA, April 23, 2020 – Teens Dream Collaborative 2019 Annual Video Competition provided teens with a forum to share their solutions to problems facing humanity. Teens shared their dreams of change in areas ranging from ocean pollution to mental health.

130 teens globally submitted short videos related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Earth Optimism. The Global Co Lab Network and its collaborator this year, the Smithsonian Conservation Commons, selected nine winning videos to be showcased at the Smithsonian’s Digital Earth Optimism Summit this week, April 22-26.

TATV’s staff picks are video productions specifically selected by TATV staff for their outstanding video productions and positive universal messages. The staff-picked young producers were among the semi-finalists of the 2019 Teens Dream Video Competition. TATV is a partner and a sponsor of Teens Dream Collaborative.

These are the staff-picked young producers who were among the semi-finalists of the 2019 Teens Dream Video Competition:

Deniz Çöçelli – Istanbul, Turkey
Mehmet Deler – Kastamonu, Turkey
Marina Dixon, Emma Flaherty and Haley Wong – Madison, CT, USA
Gülçin Eroğlu, Elif Sıla Erdem, Elif Kumlu, Gülşah Bal, and Yağmur Uğur – Kayseri, Turkey
Kaitlyn Joyce – Lakewood, CA, USA
Teia Torrent Requena – Girona, Catalonia, Spain

A young producer and staff pick, Mehmet Deler, summed up his competition experience when he wrote:

“We truly appreciate our TATV Staff Pick award and all of your encouragement. You have increased our self-confidence and raised our spirits. I am deeply grateful to the whole TATV team.”

Teens Dream, a project of the Global Co Lab Network, partners with organizations across the world to educate, inspire, connect, and help teens act on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

TATV congratulates everyone who shared their uplifting dreams by submitting a video to the Teens Dream Collaborative 2019 Annual Competition.

Contact: info@turkishamericantv.org


Turkish American TV (TATV), the award winning voice of the Turkish-American community, was founded in September 2005 with the mission of delivering educational, engaging, and entertaining programs on art, culture, lifestyles, music, dance, health, wellbeing, science, and technology.

Happy Earth Day! Watch Positive Solutions for Saving our Planet

Arlington, VA, April 20, 2020 – The Global Co Lab Network has partnered with the Smithsonian Conservation Commons to empower teens, both in a global video contest on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in the creation of an Eco Teen Action Network. Both are highlighted at this week’s free digital Earth Optimism Summit on April 22-25. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day!

The Co Lab’s Teens Dream Collaborative 2019 Annual Video Competition provides teens ages 13-18 globally with a fun video contest to share their solutions to problems facing humanity with a focus on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Earth Optimism. 130 teens globally shared their dreams of change in areas ranging from ocean pollution to mental health and many other areas related to the SDGs and Earth Optimism. Nine videos were selected as winners and three of those will be showcased at the Earth Optimism Summit on Thursday, April 23 at 6:40. In addition, the Co Lab’s media partner Turkish American TV announced their own staff picks.

The Eco Teen Action Network (ETAN) created by the Co-Lab and Smithsonian Conservation Commons, has engaged teens from across the USA and world to address the SDGs in weekly video conferences over the past 18 months focused on building a network of teens to create action to fight climate change, plastics, and hunger and linking them to adult mentors. Teen ETAN Ambassadors from these three hubs will be interviewed on Friday, April 24th at 11:30 am at the Summit. Their videos for highlighting their hub work can be viewed here: plastics, hunger, and climate change. Co-Lab Teens Dream 2015 grand prizewinner teen rapper JAYO made a video for the summit as well.

The Global Co Lab Network congratulates all teens globally who submitted videos on their dreams related to the SDGs and earth optimism/positive solutions to the Teens Dream Collaborative 2019 Annual Competition, where each submitter has their own page, which can be viewed by region or SDG.

2019 Teens Dream Global Winners on U.N. SDGs and Earth Optimism

The Global Co Lab Network and its collaborator this year, the Smithsonian Conservation Commons, are delighted to announce this year's winners of the 2019 Teens Dream Video Competition where 130 teens globally submitted short videos up to 2 minutes on their dreams as they relate to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Earth Optimism, specifically positive solutions to addressing our global sustainable challenges!  Our nine Winners came from Spain, Turkey, UAE, Uganda and across the USA, specifically Colorado, California, Washington, and Michigan.   See our winners and their dreams below and the winners' videos.  Each winner receives $100 and the opportunity to be matched with a mentor and honored at a celebration in Washington DC in the Fall and also showcased at the Smithsonian's Digital Earth Optimism Summit in late April.  We will later announce our Grand Prize Winner who will get $500 - stay tuned!  We hope winners will join with interested teens globally to engage on SDG action in virtual rooms  - our SDG Hubs!  Winners below and their videos here:

Laia Martinoy Batlle – Catalonia, Spain

My dream is to stop hunger by saving the food we are wasting now, which supports SDG #12 on Responsible Consumption and Production 

Ryan Song – Auburn, Washington, USA

My dream is that we all work together to have a big impact to save our planet, which supports SDG # 13 on Climate Action 

Kristina Smolianinova - Abu Dhabi, UAE

My dream is to provide valuable education for all children, critical for most humans to improve lifestyle, which supports SDG #4 on Quality Education

Samuel Parker Celico – Denver Colorado, USA

My dream is to see cities design tiny housing, aligning with SDG #11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities

Junya Tomonari - Oakland County, Michigan, USA

My dream is that all realize the importance of addressing mental health issues, which aligns with SDG #3 on Good Health and Well-being.

Ceren Nur Polat - Turkey

My dream is that we have a genderless society, in alignment with SDG #5 Gender Equality

Claire Cohen – Orange County, California, USA

My dream is to stop the pollution that is destroying the coral reefs which could lead to endangerment of all marine life, supporting SDG # 14 Life Below Water.

Muweera Joseph – Uganda

My dream is an education system based on project-based learning, in line with SDG #4 on Quality Education.

Magal Brunner - Girona, Catalonia, Spain

My dream is to erase loneliness of elders by bringing together the elderly with the young, relating to SDG #3, Good Health and Well-being.

Teens Help Organize Wellness Week in Long Beach

Hi, I'm Ryann Chalmers, Teen Ambassador of the Teens Dream Mental Health Hub.  The week of March 9th-13th was our 8th Annual Wellness Week in Long Beach Polytechnic Highschool, which I helped organize.  It included rallies during lunch, workshops after school in the library, and on Friday, a health fair during lunch that brought many organizations to come out and educate kids on mental and physical wellness. Through these activities, kids were educated on how to better themselves and their lifestyle.  Each day included different themes that surrounded wellness:  

Monday: Motivation

Tuesday: Teamwork 

Wednesday: Inspiration and Calmness

Thursday: Relaxation and Taking Time to Re-energize

Friday: Finding the Right Resources (improve your lifestyle)

Sadly, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school district had to cancel our health fair on Friday and the last workshop. But this week’s events on wellness has educated many kids at the school and brought fun to our campus.  I would love to talk with teens in other schools about how they can engage in a similar activity on their school campus. Join our Mental Health Hub with Teens Dream! For more info contact info@teensdreamcolab.org

Presentation on Food Waste

By Ashley Cheung and Sydney Rico, Co Ambassadors of Zero Hunger Hub with Eco Teen Action Network

On February 29th we had the opportunity of presenting a workshop called “Hungry for Change” at the annual LearnServe International Student Action Summit. We both taught students the importance of awareness surrounding food insecurity in our very own communities and gave them a hands-on experience of conducting a waste audit – a great way to create change in their very own schools. The experience didn't just give us the opportunity to teach others something new, it taught us how to better educate our peers as teen changemakers.  Here are the slides of our presentation!

At the beginning of our journey as leaders of the Zero Hunger Hub, we never guessed we would be standing up and using our experiences to inspire other teens to create change. Furthermore, our experience leading a workshop was not only a transformative one but a rewarding one on virtually every front. Specifically, we loved being able to share what we are passionate about with others, and showing them how easy it is to do something about food insecurity; especially with the impeccable support that we’ve had from each other and the Zero Hunger Hub.

We are now excited to be launching a collaboration on behalf of our Hub and the Eco Teen Action Network with DC Food Project, to help reduce food waste in schools throughout the DC area.  We are looking for teens locally and globally to join us!  Email us at info@teensdreamcolab.org.

Eco Teen Action Network Intern Reflects

Working as an Intern for the Global Co Lab Network-  Sylvia Luceno, February 19th

One month ago yesterday, I moved from Missoula, Montana to Washington, D.C. to intern for Linda at the Global Co Lab Network. For the past few years, since my junior year of high school, I’ve worked on engaging young people in Montana in organizing events, rallies, and educating other young people on how to get involved; when I heard of the wonderful platform Linda has created to engage young people with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, I was sold. I bought my ticket and headed to D.C.

Reflecting on my first month, I’ve already learned so much and had previous beliefs affirmed. Here are just a few:

  1. Young People are a Force to be Reckoned With.  In the time I’ve worked with the teens in their respective hubs in the Eco Teen Action Network, I’ve been humbled by their tenacity and passion. Despite their extremely busy schedules, these teens have worked with their mentors to make great strides in pushing the use of a reusable ToGo box on National Landing, collaborating with DC Food Project to launch food waste audits and share tables in schools in DMV and release a PSA aimed at building urgency surrounding climate change. In times such as these, it’s easy to get swept up by the doom-and-gloom of recent happenings, but these teens and my partners in Montana give me much reason to be hopeful. They are not working to become leaders, they already are leaders. They have incredible drive and organizational skills, which in tandem with their passion makes them a total force for the future. I am thankful for individuals like Linda and Brian with the Smithsonian Conservation Commons and all of the hub mentors for recognizing this quality in today’s youth and working with them to ensure that their ideas reach the fullest possible potential.
  2. Give people the opportunity to say yes… you’d be amazed at what can be done if you just speak out. In light of issues such as climate change, world hunger and the harmful impacts of the use of single-use plastics, I believe we all have a part to play in their mitigation; civilians and corporations alike. Admittedly, it is not the average Joe’s responsibility alone to solve these issues, nor is that a realistic feat. However, we should hold corporations accountable where we can. We should not shy away from speaking out just because of the size or power of a given business. I’ve witnessed and been a part of engagements with a number of corporations/organizations with the Global Co Lab already, in which we encouraged partnerships in sustainability efforts. The Plastics Hub has recently presented reusable alternatives to disposable plastics to big players such as JBG Smith and soon Amazon and continue to make progress with this venture. These teens are incredibly busy as we all are, and haven’t even graduated from high school.  What excuses do we really have to not use our voices and power as consumers to promote sustainability? Let us be inspired by these teens to not remain comfortable within the paradigm that we are too small to make a change or that corporations will make these changes themselves.
  3. There is much to be done!  Working with the Global Co Lab Network has allowed me to become more familiar with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and reinforced the notion for me that there is so much we can do, no matter your age, discipline, or time budget. You can play a role in working towards a more sustainable future and have fun! The exposure to the endless engagement possibilities that working with the Global Co Lab has allowed has been exceedingly valuable. Co-Lab makes it easy for teens, in particular, to get in contact with the right people and to stay on track if they want to become change agents, and they want as many teens as they can get! If you are wondering how you can join a network of teens to get involved or gain support for an existing project of yours, the Global Co Lab Network is committed to providing you with the support you need. I would have loved to get involved with the Co-Lab when I was in high school and would encourage students to reach out!

Learn more here!: https://globalcolab.net/eco-teen-action-network/