Interning for Teens Dream

Hello! My name is Hannah Jensen, and I am the fall intern for Teens Dream. My experience here at the Global Co Lab was not what I expected but in the best way possible. In high school, I learned about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); however, I did not realize at the time how much they would eventually change my perspective on the world. Working at the Co Lab has taught me that these goals are reachable, and after meeting all these incredibly passionate teens, I am confident that the next generation will make it their priority.

Because of this focus on the SDGs, the Co-Lab works with all areas of interests. Regardless of what I was working on, I felt that my interests were actively engaged. For instance, as a sophomore at Pepperdine University on the health tract, I was originally drawn to the Co Lab for its work with the UN SDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being. During my time here, I was given the opportunity to explore this passion in many ways. I attended a luncheon on the dangers of plastics towards health which made me much more cautious about plastic use. One of my most memorable experiences was attending a symposium entitled, “Implications of Conflict and Emergencies for Global Health” held by the Global Health Interest Group at the NIH. I heard fascinating talks ranging from the spread of disease to the need to train mental health specialists in war zones. In addition, one of our teen winners is working with her mentor from the National Alliance of Mental Illness to open up a dream hub on mental health. I am so excited to see what the mental health dream hub accomplishes and am truly grateful for being a part of it.

Each day at the Co-Lab is different. It teaches you to be flexible and proactive. The beginning of my time here was largely focused on the annual celebration. This meant making sure that the winners had travel to DC, had host families to stay with, and mentors to meet with. After that, I worked on getting the next video contest out and helped build the platform for the incoming dream hubs; however, my favorite part of this internship had to be working with teens committed to making the world a better place. I learned that teens have really great ideas on how to improve the world, but they do not often have the resources to do so. The focus of Teens Dream is to encourage teens to pursue their passions and make sure their voice is heard. I am really proud of what this organization is accomplishing.

Good Health & Well-Being SDG Hub Launched

Welcome to the new Teens Dream Colab Dream covering Good Health & Well-Being. This SDG Hub works to further the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being at all ages is essential to sustainable development.

Significant strides have been made in increasing life expectancy and reducing some of the common killers associated with child and maternal mortality, but working towards achieving the target of less than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030 would require improvements in skilled delivery care.

Achieving the target of reducing premature deaths due to incommunicable diseases by 1/3 by the year 2030 would also require more efficient technologies for clean fuel use during cooking and education on the risks of tobacco.

Many more efforts are needed to fully eradicate a wide range of diseases and address many different persistent and emerging health issues. By focusing on providing more efficient funding of health systems, improved sanitation and hygiene, increased access to physicians and more tips on ways to reduce ambient pollution, significant progress can be made in helping to save the lives of millions.

Teens Dream Winner Fighting for SDG #16 - Strong Institutions

My name is Victor Corja and I am a 17-year-old currently living in Virginia, USA and a winner in the 2017 Teens Dream video competition with on fighting corruption in Moldova. I was born in Moldova, a small country in Europe with a quarter the size and half the population of Virginia and my dream is to end the corruption that permeates every aspect of life in my home country. Half of my extended family continues to live in Moldova, and through them, I constantly hear more and more news about the horrible injustice, political instability, and corruption that exist in every single transaction, opportunity, and event. The most significant example of this is the 2014 theft of a billion dollars from the main banks of Moldova - by the Prime Minister and his helpers. To put this into perspective, a billion dollars is equal to one-eighth of Moldova's GDP, and the loss of this money affects hundreds of thousands of people that lost their life savings in a single moment. While the Prime Minister was jailed, the money was never recovered, and the culprits that aided him were never caught - and sadly, this was not a crime that is seen rarely in Moldova.

My dream is to reform the institutions of Moldova through the people, providing more transparency and accountability of government officials currently stealing from their own people, and increasing the security of the money and rights currently being denied to Moldovan citizens. While this dream is immense in scope, I believe it is achievable through the right legislation combined with educational and governmental reform aimed at educating the people on the dangers of and protection against corruption. With a nation-wide effort to resist the corruption of government officials, tax inspectors, police officers, and any other person with any measure of authority, I believe that Moldova can become a country where knowing or paying someone with authority is not a requirement for having basic rights.

Teens Dream is a wonderful organization that let me share my dream with the world, and connected me with a wonderful and knowledgeable mentor, Hurriyet Ok who recently retired from the World Bank.  Hurriyet helped me understand the various ways in which my dream can begin to be achieved and inspired me to pursue my dream through ways that I hadn't thought of previously. Teens Dream also connected me with other teens from around the world.  Seeing their dreams and their journeys to achieving them also helped me believe my dream could actually be achieved.

Teens Dream Winner advocates for SDG #10 -- Reduced Inequality

Hi, my name is Cyril King and I’m a 16 year old Teens Dream winner from Connecticut.  I was thankful to be matched with a mentor and celebrated by Teens Dream for my video on LGTBQ equality.  My mentor Rebecca York is the Community Engagement & Youth Leadership Coordinator for SYMAL.  SYMAL is a great organization that opens many opportunities for LGBTQIA+ youth.  The mentorship allowed me the opportunity to discuss problems with the LGBTQIA+ community and how to solve those problems and more specifically to create a safe space in my community. One of the topics that we discussed was the lack comprehensive sexual education for LGBTQIA+ and how there needs to be a significant improvement in sexual education to establish that LGBTQIA+ youth have access to better health information and supportive environments. Another topic that we discussed is the organization of creating a safe space within my community where LGBTQIA+ teens can feel safe to be who they are without judgment or feeling disowned. Thanks to Rebecca York’s advice I already started to organize events for my GSA to create a safe space for LGBTQIA+ youth within my community to talk about sexual education, gender and sexuality studies. In the future, I hope to start a Teens Dream Equality SDG Hub to work with other teens to reduce the disparities of injustice and inequality worldwide regardless of sex, ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, age, disability, origin, religion, economic or another status. If you are interested in this, please contact

Teen Art Addresses Gun Violence in Show

The Teens Dream Arts Hub hosted a public art show on October 5th to highlight teen artists work on gun violence.  The show, called "Triggered" brought together teen artists from Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, California, Mexico, and Romania to present their poetry, music, rap, dance, and paintings on gun violence.  The hour long show hosted by Arlington Independent Media was organized by the Teen Ambassadors of the Arts Hub, Sophia Alfred from Maryland and Pablo Guarneros of Mexico, with support from their mentor Almula Camdereli of Virginia. The Executive Producer, Nathan Bynum, interviews the artists after the show in the one hour production of Triggered as part of its program Youth Can Change the World.  The Teens Dream Arts Hub produced the show to call attention to gun violence which is a significant issue under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #16 on peace.  It plans to engage teen artists globally on other SDG topics and encourages interested teens to contact them at for more information.

Teens Dream Winner working in Romania on SDG #4: Quality Education

Hi, my name is Maria Dragoi and I am an 18 year old student in Bucharest Romania who won the Teens Dream video contest for my video on quality education, aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #4.  Teens Dream flew me to Washington DC to meet my mentor and celebrate my dream. How should I describe in a few words an experience of a lifetime? It was amazing! Meeting with my mentor, Kristine Kuhlman who teaches science in Fairfax County Virginia, was as if the Enlightenment Era came back exclusively to me in 2018. She made me believe that education can develop an innovative approach and she gave me the tools to make it happen. Now I am on my way in creating a web platform so teenagers from Romania can watch creative and fun videos about literary works to be studied for the Romanian Baccalaureate. I want quality education in Romania.  Kristine definitely made me believe in myself.  I am actually doing it and it is great!  See our Teens SDG Hub on Quality Education and connect with Maria and other teens working to make education more interesting!


Grand Prize Winner meets with NOAA to discuss SDG 14: Life Under Water

Hi, my name is Jacqueline Mendoza and I am the 2017 Grand Prize winner of Teens Dream.  I am a 13-year old girl from southern California in the USA. There are many unexpected things that may happen in my lifetime and winning the grand prize with Teens Dream Global video competition was definitely one of them! My entry was initially a school assignment given by my school teacher, Kari Milton, that turned into something much more. My winning dream video was on raising global awareness of the life below water, specifically pollution, focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #14, Life Under Water.

With the help of the Teens Dream CoLab Network, I was matched with a mentor that helped me turn my general vision, into a much more specific goal, i.e. plastic. It was thanks to my mentor, Bruce Moravchik of the US government National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to expand my research knowledge into a more practical and real life application. Prior to our face-to-face meeting, I was given the opportunity to FaceTime with Mr. Moravchik a few days before the actual gathering. Getting to know about Mr. Moravchik and what he does, helped break the ice. During my virtual communication with him, I was able to obtain a better understanding of his background as well as share my background, goal, and future plans. I was able to get insight of what would happen during our talk and who would be joining the conversation, allowing me to prepare questions for the other specialists joining us that morning. I was initially nervous meeting everyone but with Mr. Moravchik’s help, the atmosphere was friendly and inviting which made my nervousness go away.

Mr. Moravchik introduced me to his many colleagues, each taking turn in giving me an insight into their field of specialty and how it tied to my vision. Each adult in the room put forth their utmost attention when I asked questions, wanting to give the best answer to help me. It was such a laid back meeting that I almost forgot it was a meeting at all. The time I had with my mentor and his colleagues flew by. I left NOAA with opportunities to take advantage of, such as, future contacts in California (should I want to pursue my plan in the future), advice I can build off of, and a parting gift which was really unexpected, but truly appreciated. Although, Mr. Moravchik was unable to physically attend the Teens Dream Celebration on Oct. 6th, I felt his support and I hope that I am able to convey my sincerest thank you and appreciation for him and his colleagues at NOAA.

Overall, this experience of being a part of Teens Dream was exceedingly impactful for me as a person. Being offered so many opportunities and meeting people just like me, wanting to get their voices heard, opened my eyes to see the bigger picture. I am not alone in this struggle. There are others who are fighting to solve the problems the world is facing today and are stepping up to the challenge. Although, my dream is far from simple, the steps to reach it can start with a simple act. For example, using one less plastic Ziploc at home means one less plastic item that could enter the ocean. To solve something, one must simply start. Problems won’t be solved if we all stand by and watch.

This experience with Teens Dream has led to a change of lifestyle for me and those around me. Teens Dream has allowed me to open my eyes and see what others may not see. Without meeting the Teens Dream CoLab Network, I would not have had the courage or the voice to share my dream.



Teens Dream Winner to Launch Mental Health SDG Hub!

My name is Ryann Chalmers and I am a 14 year old teen female from California in the USA. I produced a video for a class led by my teacher Kari Milton to submit to the Teens Dream video competition - focused on spreading awareness on Mental Illness and how we can contribute to helping others who may be dealing with it, which addresses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #3 of Good Health and Well-Being.

In our communities and even around the world, human beings need to work more to de-stigmatize this issue and help one another. This dream is very important to me, so being a winner of the Teens Dream Video Competition and getting the chance to fly out to Washington DC was such an amazing opportunity. I love too the fact that I got to express my love for videography with my winning video which you can view here.

With Teens Dream, I was connected to a great mentor, Gustavo Guerrero at the National Alliance of Mental Illness, who I can further work with on this dream.  With Teens Dream and my mentor, I want to work with other teens and mental health organizations to engage teens to work collaboratively to reach this dream - one step at a time.  We are launching a new Teens Dream Mental Health SDG Hub shortly and we hope you can join us!   Let us know of your interest at

Teens Dream Celebrates its Teens in Washington DC!

Teens Dream recently honored the 125 submitters and 9 winners of our 2017 Teens Dream Video Competition in a Oct 6th celebration of amazing teens who express their dreams as they relate to one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Watch the livestream thanks to Turkish American TV!  See photos here!

We honored Pramudito from Indonesia on addressing poverty through education, Ryann from California on mental health, Victor from Virginia on fighting corruption, Porter from Utah on storytelling and the arts for the SDGs, Cyril from Connecticut on LGBTQ equality, Maria from Romania on quality eduction, Mar and Laia from Spain on responsible consumption, Jonathan from Connecticut on preserving oceans and finally Cade - our grand prize winner from California - also on ocean preservation. 

Our celebration was led and moderated by our teen co creators who did a fabulous job once again celebrating our winners who received cash prizes, were flown into Washington, DC and linked with mentors from the World Bank, National Alliance of Mental Illness, NOAA, Earth Day Network, SMYAL, Fairfax Public Schools, Mind and Media, and Turkish American TV. They spent Friday with their mentors and learned about the importance of service learning and social entrepreneurship on the SDGs from the Presidents of Youth Service America and LearnServe International. They met our teen co creators in a welcome reception at Arlington Independent Media, learned about the power of film as a medium for change making, and attended the Teens Dream Arts SDG Hub's first showcase on gun control.

We are working to scale action on each of the SDG dreams in virtual rooms led by teens with adult mentors.  See our newest virtual "SDG Hub" on gender equality here.  Read blog on poverty by Pramudito here.  Listen to previous winners JAYO and Sophia's rap song on Teens Dream here.  We celebrate our hundreds of submitters and winners over the past four years in our gallery.

Please support our efforts to link teens globally in virtual real time collaborations via our SDG Hubs, by introducing us to funders, foundations, corporations or contribute to our non governmental organization the Global Co Lab Network that manages Teens Dream here:  simple, safe, and all contributions are tax deductible!

Finally, please help us spread the word about Teens Dream and our global competition that launched October 6:  teens have until January 13th 2019 to submit a 2 minute video on their dream.  Encourage teens to connect here. Download a one page flyer to circulate to your network here!

We thank everyone who helped us make our 4th celebration a huge success!

The Teens Dream Co Creators

2018 Teens Dream Celebration Live Feed

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