When Elise Neufville was a child she knew she wanted to change the world. Now 14, she hopes to start doing this with her website and the content she posts. Her website, The Golden Conversations, was created to offer a safe space for people to voice their experiences on social issues such as racism, sexism, or assault of any kind.
“It’s filled with tips on how to calm yourself down during an anxiety attack and other helpful tips for mental issues. There is also a section for articles, one for current issues and one for interviews.”
But, she told Newsday she is in the process of redesigning the website after she was forced to shut it down because she was being cyber-bullied through the e-mail address posted on it. It will be up and running by next month.
Neufville writes the articles posted on the website, all of which are critiqued by her trusted friends in case she misses something. She said her friends also help with the interviews.
The form three student of St Joseph’s Convent, Port of Spain, said the content usually revolves around the topics to which she wants to raise awareness. In addition to the website, she wants to create physical safe spaces with other secondary school students throughout the country where young people can get together and share their experiences.
“Right now, I’m working on speaking to the principals of different high schools and giving my proposal to get their thoughts.”
She said so far she has gathered 30 students who try to have virtual meetings at least once a month to discuss their plans and ways to materialise them.
“So far we have been discussing ideas the members have for what will work for the club, planning events we would like to have, and all that comes with it.”
She hopes to have monthly meetings with smaller numbers of members, and has been sending e-mails out to the members specifying which topics they are going to be focussing on for the month. This will also give members the option to choose what they want to work on as well as the projects they want to embark upon.
“We would try to have a passion project that we would try to work on for the year, and in between that we would hold fundraisers to help fund other projects and the charities.” She also wants to incorporate other things such as offering ways to encourage more recycling and educating people of the effects of pollution. She said members of her team will help in gathering information, writing articles and coming up with new ideas. With time and youth on her side, she believes her website can blossom into something that will bring change.
“I feel like we are the only people that can help the country and those in others, right now because adults are already set in their ways.”
Anyone interested in sharing their ideas, their stories or joining the club, e-mail Elise Neufville at email@example.com