This semester VOX ATL is highlighting teen activists making changes in Atlanta with our VOX Investigates: Youth Activism Revolution (#YAR) coverage. If you are a teen activist or know of any interested in having their voice heard, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would’ve never saw myself here today.
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, I was adopted at age three, not knowing why my parents gave me away and not knowing my purpose in my life. Many times I just wanted to give up and end it all right there. Growing up I struggled and continued to struggle in school. I struggled a lot of times with math and could not pass. I may not have been the smartest person out of the bunch, but I kept going.
As my junior and senior year came up, I messed up. I didn’t pass my math class junior year. As of now I am 18 and I won’t graduate until I’m 19. But I also saw how other people were down and made it out of their struggle and it made me want to try harder. Many times I went downtown for basketball games and outings in Atlanta and saw so many homeless people in the city. I don’t like seeing people suffer or in a horrible condition. It’s time to make a change. That is why I created Team 12. Team 12 is 12 people coming together every month saving our money as of now there is only eight of us. I made the name team 12 because there is going to be 12 of us and we work as a team
Our goal is to save our money and combine it all into one bank account. Our goal is to reach $30,000 by the end of July. Once we have reached about $850, we will start helping out the homeless one step at a time. I believe everyone on earth has a purpose and that purpose isn’t to be homeless or on the streets. Everyone should be happy with their life and not sad.
We might not be able to help everyone in the world but helping a few people could mean the world to them.
What inspired you to become an activist?
I believe that everyone has a purpose and that everyone is put on earth for a reason. Many times we see homelessness downtown and all around Atlanta. We may hear them asking for money and help, but most people just ignore them and walk away. I want to be the voice for people who have a voice but no one listens to them.
What advice would you give to other teens who want to become an activist, but feel scared to do so?
The advice I would give is don’t be afraid to speak up. There’s people out there that’s not going to like what you’re doing, but if you’re really passionate about your reason, don’t let the hate stop you. Yes there are going to be times when you feel like giving up but don’t. Just keep going.
What challenges have you faced as a teen activist and how did you beat them?
The challenges I have faced so far is the negativity and all the doubters. But I faced them by looking past them and focusing on my mission.
In the future, what changes do you hope to make in your community?
I hope by the year 2050 homelessness will not exist and I would like to continue to help those without jobs and without homes. I want to eventually have a company called Team 12 Homelessness Foundation and go worldwide and help the homeless.
If you could change any issue in the world, what would it be, why, and how?
The things I would change is poverty, homelessness, and joblessness. I want to help everyone out in every way and I believe that no one deserves to be living out in the world like nobody is there for them and everyone should be there for each other.
Are there any famous figures who inspired you to become an activist, or whose activism you admire?
I admire Hosea Williams.
What are the most rewarding parts of being an activist?
The most rewarding part of being an activist is getting support from so many people and seeing how you started from nothing and making your dreams and mission come true.
Written by Timeaus Hill, 18, Westlake High School