Voqal believes that creating a truly socially equitable world requires an educated population. Sadly, the U.S. education system does not provide everyone the same opportunity to obtain that education. This educational opportunity gap inspired us to create the Education Opportunity Project (EOP). The EOP seeks to measurably reduce educational opportunity gaps by providing capital and strategic advice to entrepreneurs and organizations working to improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged populations. This month, we highlight one of those organizations, Real Talk.
The Real Talk app addresses the extensive phenomenon of loneliness and disengagement that has been found to exist within Generation Z. The app provides a safe digital, mobile-oriented space for youth to share stories and access relevant, accurate resources to support their mental, physical, and sexual health and help teens understand that they are not alone. The organization does this by crowdsourcing and curating authentic stories from teens about important health and emotional topics and connecting teens with high-quality and teen-friendly online resources on those topics.
The app accomplishes provides this support in three key ways.
It provides an avenue for teens to read and empathize with the stories of others.
Teens can browse the story feed or search for specific topics to find relatable content. Real Talk stories are based on real experiences, helping to normalize sensitive topics, provide insight into how others deal with common teen issues, and build empathy for others.
It allows teens to share their stories in a supportive environment.
Teens can share their own stories on the app, providing them with a safe space to express themselves and share what they have experienced. Also, while Real Talk team members do not edit content, all stories are reviewed before they are posted in order to ensure Real Talk remains an authentic, supportive environment.
It provides teens with additional help if needed.
Real Talk provides high-quality, medically accurate, and teen-friendly resources for a range of needs. This includes valuable resources to recognize signs of anxiety, tips for having difficult conversations, and access to a support hotline.
Many members of Generation Z are faced with a burgeoning mental health crisis. Fortunately, Real Talk is uniquely situated to address this crisis. It sits at the intersection of health and education, providing teens with a safe space to hear from their peers through authentic stories. It also points teens to resources and supports that can build community and help them know they are not alone in their struggles.
We realize that addressing the educational opportunity gap will require sustained support for a number of innovative solutions. We believe the Real Talk and its approach to addressing the social-emotional side of learning is a great example of this and look forward to how it continues to help close opportunity gaps as it reaches more young learners.
You can learn more about the Education Opportunity project and the other amazing organizations it supports here.