We had a chat with YLAA alumnus, Jasmine, who founded The Well-being Newspaper after having graduated from YLAA programs earlier this year. Jasmine has the aim of mental health and student wellbeing in her community and throughout the country, and is doing some great work to support young people and provide practical steps for shaping strong wellbeing habits. See what she had to say below.
Tell us a little about yourself - what’s your name, how old are you, what do you enjoy doing in your own time?
Hello! I am Jasmine, my pronouns are she/her, and I am the 15-year-old creator of The Well-being Newspaper! I would like to acknowledge that I am writing this in Wurundjeri country.
In my own time, other than studying, I love to be with my family and friends, be creative and read! I love to embrace the little things and practise gratitude – it is such a rewarding practise! Just do what you love, and that will help you be happy!
What YLAA event or program did you attend, and what did you gain from it?
A few months ago I attended YLAA’s Secondary Youth Leadership Conference as well as a 4-week online program (Virtual Young Leaders Academy). From this, I was reminded that my age doesn’t limit me, and that I can make a change in the world. I think often as young people we feel that our age restricts us from trying to create change, but if anything it gives us a reason to keep going. So if there is something that you want to achieve, this is your sign to make goals and take the first step to reach it! I just want you to know that you might not know where to start, and that is okay. I didn’t at first. Of course it will take time but you will only know if you take the first leap! Just know that there is so much support around you, whether it is with YLAA or even me!
What motivated you to start The Well-being Newspaper?
My motivation to start The Well-being Newspaper was that recently with COVID-19, and the lockdowns that followed, some of us fell into a spiral of constant stress whether it be from school or just the hardships of life. I know that I struggled and I wanted to use my writing to help others, and that is how I started. My advice for you would be to 1. Think of an issue and 2. Find its solution. My first “issue” was that I feel like well-being and mental health is often stigmatised. My “solution” for it was creating my first iteration to share an important message that it is okay to not be okay, and it is okay to be okay!
What’s been your journey from starting the newspaper to now?
My journey began in early July when I began to take my first steps to achieve my goal, starting off with brainstorming my topics, reaching out to others for interviews and discovering what resources I had.
With this, I curated three main topics to kick start my newspaper, these being mental health, study and journaling! I then jotted ideas from them, which then turned into words and from words into a newspaper! Along the way I had no idea what my end result would look like, but I knew what my motivation and ultimate goal was and this helped me to reach where I am now!
It was an overwhelming feeling to see my first iteration come together. I used Microsoft Word, and Adobe Fresco to write and draw it! Now my next two are amid the drafting and finalising stage and are soon to be released. I am so excited and I still have a long way to go!
What are your goals for the newspaper in the future?
My goal for my newspaper in the future is to keep releasing pieces, and introduce little segments like blogs! I’d then want to try to use this to create a community where you can be involved, and to try to empower other young people to write for change. I’d love to try to incorporate this concept in the education system one day! Whatever path my newspaper takes, I am so happy that I have the opportunity to share it and try to help others along the way!
What was a ‘winning’ moment you had from the process of creating the newspaper?
A ‘winning’ moment that I encountered from the process of creating my newspaper was making my website. Along the way I celebrated my little wins like when I made my first brainstorm, to when I began drafting. Yet my website was a stepping stone in my journey because I saw my vision begin to come together! I think along the way it has been so important to celebrate personal progress and even if you go one step back, use it to go one step forward! Before I go, I just want to remind you that you are beautiful, you are loved and you are worthy! If you ever need to chat I’m here!