Supporting teens online with the Online Academy

In response to the global pandemic, we wanted to find a way to hold a safe, nurturing and fun space for teens online to remain engaged and connected with each other. There are, of course, LOTS of spaces they can hang out online , but we wanted a space away from the judgement, noise and unpredictability of some of these spaces and somewhere that felt really safe and nurturing. We also wanted to find a way to support our incredible youth mentors all around the world who suddenly couldn’t do the thing they do best – be in person running events for teens.

And so, the Online Academy was born ~ A virtual community connecting teens with each other and with international experts and youth mentors to build confidence, life skills, creativity and more! It’s perfect for teens who might be struggling with:

  • Staying on track with goals
  • Feeling overwhelmed and unfocussed
  • Finding ways to move their body that work for them
  • Feeling like they haven’t quite found ‘their people’ yet and would love to connect with others

Or who actually aren’t ‘struggling’ at all but are just looking to upskill, expand their network and love personal development. What they get is a chance to: 

  • Learn tools and strategies for confidence, productivity, friendships and more
  • Connect with a LOVELY bunch of teens from different corners of the world
  • Be part of an inclusive and diverse community with accountability and support to keep growing and shining

Watch the video above to get a sense of how it works and see snippets of some of our live classes. 

How it works

Launching the Online Academy took some trial and error. We tried out individual classes first and then reviewed and relaunched it as a monthly membership with a free week of classes that we called, ‘O-WEEK’ (just like the open weeks they have here in Australia for universities). It went really well, with hundreds of students registering from all over the world. I was so excited afterwards that I recorded a podcast episode reviewing it and sharing the details. You can listen in on The Youth Mentor Podcast here. 

It’s continued since then, with membership growing slowly but steadily and heaps of incredible classes now in the Vault of on-demand classes. 

For AUD$25 a month, member’s get: 

  • New live classes each month on Zoom (creativity, productivity, activism, wellness, oh my!)
  • Facilitated by global experts (go from Stretching for Self-Compassion with Sarah in Canada one week to Combat Study Stress with Belinda in Australia the next!)
  • Weekly Sunday check-in group calls + challenges to set yourself up for the week ahead (yay community!)
  • Instant access to the vault of ON-DEMAND classes (hours and hours of inspo + tools)
  • All housed in our private online member’s portal
  • ++ a private forum to connect between classes (monitored by our youth mentors)
  • weekly co-study sessions to pop on and study together

It’s youth-led with a monthly Youth Advisory Board meeting, made up of some of our OG members, where they review how it’s going, decide on the next classes they’d like and brainstorm ways to make it even better. 

Support more teens to enjoy the Online Academy

This community is so special. The members are generous, supportive and kind to each other. The facilitators are amazing. And it’s our dream to make sure that we can support as many teens as possible who would like to join this community. There are a number of barriers to enjoying the Online Academy, especially:

  • Accessibility – internet access and a device is needed to engage in the Online Academy
  • The cost – AUD$25 a month is not possible for everyone, especially teens in countries where the exchange rate isn’t favourable

There’s not much we can do about internet access but we CAN do something about the cost. We need your help to do it though. Right now the Online Academy actually runs at a loss. We pay all our facilitators and teachers, and while most of the admin and back-end work is done in a volunteer capacity by our Founder, Amanda, we do still need some support with the organisation and maintenance of the Online Academy. It’s important to us to pay our youth mentors and contractors fairly, and by doing so, we’re getting to support women all over the world to support their families too. So we can’t bring the cost down any lower. 

BUT you can become a patron of Shine From Within and effectively sponsor a teen to join the Online Academy! For AUD$25 a month, you can support a teen to get access to the Online Academy. We have plenty of teens who enjoyed our free series but are not able to join as a permanent member. With each new patron, we can give them a spot. 

To do this, head over to our new Patreon account and select the VIP Teen Supporter option. 

We’re not a not-for-profit with DGR status so you can’t claim it as a tax deductible donation but I, personally, claim all my Patreon expenses each month as professional development. We will provide ‘patron-only’ content, information and trainings for our patrons so it will absolutely fit into this category. You could also make this part of your ‘give back’ commitment and social good marketing strategy. There’s lots of ways to support our teens AND make sure it also adds value to your business (if you have a business!). Let us know if we can help in any way with that too. 

And if you’d also like to learn how to take your teen programs online, check out the masterclass I created last year here – it’s free! 

Thanks for being part of our Shine From Within community. Growing, evolving and supporting our vision through all the ups and downs! You truly do mean the world to me. 

Amanda x