Teen Spirit

Posted on: December 12th, 2017 by Carrie Young No Comments

San Francisco native Zoe Young is a senior in high school at Marin Academy in Northern California. Full disclosure here, she also happens to be my niece. Aside from having a beyond-proud-Auntie moment, I feel compelled to share her latest project which shines a light on the importance of female empowerment- especially in this environment these days. Zoe joined fellow high schooler Jasper Conacher co-founding Free the Zine, and turned her vision into reality by launching the first issue of the magazine. Jasper and Zoe created Free because of their own enthusiasm towards art and interest in poetry. Both girls have personally dealt with mental health and body image issues throughout high school, and through writing they have reflected on those issues, hoping it will act similarly for others. A poet, writer, and artist herself, Zoe believes that vulnerability and raw emotion will encourage a more empathetic society. The magazine will contain several themes, including self-expression, identity and freedom. In the future, issues will have more focused messages, such as gender, sexuality, racism and violence. There isn’t a specific bias or angle that the girls are trying to get with the magazine, more so it is a platform for the people to share whatever they want.

In their first edition they received over 100 submissions mostly from local students in Marin, but were only able to feature 50 contributors. Zoe wanted to create a space for authentic conversation about mental health, which she has her own personal connections to. “The responses from people have just been so positive. It just really brings me joy. I wouldn’t do this magazine if people didn’t want it. That’s the whole purpose of why I’m doing this,” she stated. At her school, Zoe is the leader of I Am That Girl: a community, support system, and movement inspiring young women to love, express, and be who they are. Zoe spent her junior fall semester in New York City, where she furthered her passion for reflective, exploratory, and creative writing. For the past two years, Zoe has worked as an intern at UCSF Youth and Family Center in their telemedicine department where she has written articles and content for UCSF Grit Magazine, as well as generated content for their own website featuring artificial intelligence therapy. Oh, and she’s also been published on Huffington Post. Next step for Zoe will be college next year, where she will undoubtably continue to spread her incredible girl power. www.freethezine.com

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