Thank You for 10 Years!

Thank You for 10 Years!

One of the best parts of working with a non-profit is the people who support your cause. Obviously, we love working with teenagers – serving them is why we got into this! But there is a whole other side of our organization that makes our jobs all that more enjoyable – our supporters.

One time a year, we all get together for an evening to celebrate what has happened with Teen Life over the past year and to fund what is to come. This last Tuesday we had our fourth annual Teen Life Dinner & Auction in Southlake, TX. Almost 200 of our advocates and new supporters gathered in a room to celebrate 10 years of Teen Life and dream about what is to come.

And, what a night it was – we raised almost $68,000 between sponsorships, auction items, and general donations. We were able to hear from some of our facilitators and counselors – we even had a trained facilitator at each table! We ate great food and enjoyed rich conversations. Really, it was an incredible evening. My head is still kind of spinning from it all!

If you were able to attend and donate to our dinner – Thank You! Your generosity will launch us into our next ten years with confidence that our students will have the support they need at their schools. And if you were new to the dinner – we are thrilled you know us and can talk about what we do to the people in your circles. We believe our organization is worth investing in because we are making a significant impact with such a simple service.

And if you were not able to attend the dinner but still would like to donate – we have an opportunity for you! We have set a stretch goal to get us to $75,000 raised by the end of the week! That’s only a little over $7000 to get us there – can you help? Check out our video and follow the donation button below. It is simple and secure to give – and goes a long way to make an impact.

So again from Teen Life – thank you! We are excited we get to continue this great work in our community – because of you!

Chris Robey, Teen Life’s CEO, has worked with teens for over a decade and strives to help students see the best in themselves.
2016 Reader Survey

2016 Reader Survey

This year, the Teen Lifeline staff made a goal to bring you more resources by posting on our blog at least once a week. We are excited about the content that we are able to provide and want to continue to improve! Below, you will see a link for the “Reader Survey.” Will you please take a few minutes to fill this out? By giving us feedback, you are helping us put out content and resources that are relevant to you!

Is there a topic you wish we would cover? Check out the survey.

Do you have a suggestion for how we can make this better? Tell us in the survey.

Are you so excited about the Teen Lifeline blog that you can barely stand it? We want to here from YOU in the survey!

Thank you in advance for subscribing and supporting the Teen Lifeline blog! We have an exciting announcement coming soon that will bring you even more resources – make sure you are subscribed so you won’t miss out!



Reader Survey


5 Ways to Misuse Hashtags

5 Ways to Misuse Hashtags


Hashtags have become a part of everyday life. Literally…




#WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday)

#TBT (Throwback Thursday)

#FlashbackFriday (Why do we need 2 of these, again?)

#Caturday (Apparently this is a thing?)


We use them, love them, and abuse them. But why do we use hastags? What is the point? And most importantly – how can we make abusive hashtagging stop??

Merriam-Webster defines “hashtag” as: a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet).


IMG_0136 Hashtags are GREAT, especially when you want to find videos from Taylor Swift’s latest concert, or pictures of really cute animals or children, or if you’re looking for funny/inspirational quotes.

     However, we also use hashtags for tons of things that don’t really make sense, like…

to let people know you are naturally good looking #nofilter

to humble-brag #blessed

to let people know you took a photo yourself (like we couldn’t tell) #selfie

to laugh at yourself #lolololol



Before I share the major ways hashtags are abused, please hear me say, if you do any of the following, I am not judging you (I have done most of these myself). And I am not even telling you to stop using hashtags – just please be smart/reasonable/intentional when you use hashtags.


5 Ways to Misuse #Hashtags

5. #PhotoOfTheDay #IAmCool



Let me just say, when you use hashtags to build yourself, your tweet, or your picture up, you make it not cool. Sorry, Mr. Pasta Man, but I do not think that your picture is going to be “Photo of the Day” for anyone besides your mom.

Don’t feel the need to #hashtag how great your material is; instead, let other people tell you how great/pretty/cute you are – it means more coming from them!


4. #This #is #not #a #sentence


Just because you can hashtag something, doesn’t mean that you should. Be intentional about the hashtags you use. If they have a purpose, great! If you use too many hashtags, it’s annoying.

Plus, if you buy into Merriam-Webster’s definition, hashtags are meant to categorize, and who wants to look up pictures of #the? Not me.


3. #TheEventHashtagFail



I love event and wedding hashtags (see my own wedding hashtag above)! I think they are fun and perfect for when you want to look back on an event or see the bride of a wedding you missed. However, bad event hashtags are a pet peeve of mine.

Don’t use forever long hashtags that no one can remember and therefore will not use like, #MrandMrsTieTheKnotandLiveHappilyEverAfter. No one will ever take the time to type that out.

Also, don’t use event hashtags that are unspecific and have been used 1,000,000 times already, it defeats the purpose! #Fundraiser #BeSpecific

Event hashtags are popular and useful, but don’t abuse your hashtag power or feel the need to create a hashtag when it won’t serve a purpose. Once again, be intentional.


2. #MyBabyisCuterThanYours


First of all, this is a real hashtag…that tens of thousands of people have used.

I might step on some toes with this one, but #please be careful when you create hashtags for you children!

Yes, they are cute and yes, creating individual hashtags makes it easier for you to find all of their pictures in one place, but you also just made it easy for me and Creepy-Joe-next-door to find those same pictures…

Post pictures of your kids (or pets) and make us all jealous of their cuteness, but remember that one day, they might have their own social media, and they might not want everyone to be able to access all of their childhood pictures with one click of a cleverly-crafted #hashtag.


1. #LikeMe #FollowMe #Like4Like


This is a HUGE one. Don’t believe me?

As of right now on Instagram, #likeme has been used 7,762,513 times. #follow me has been used 262,561,542 times.

Yep. That is literally millions of posts asking people to like, follow, comment, and approve of their pictures.

In this social media driven culture, your success is sometimes based solely on how many twitter followers, instagram likes and comments you have. However, using these hashtags can be so self-deprecating. Wanting to gain a like or follower at any cost (even if it’s spam) doesn’t make you more popular, it makes you look desperate.

If you want some more insight into this particular subject, check out Sarah Brooks’ post, “Parents: A Word about Instagram”!


Let’s agree to hold our hashtags to higher standards and not fall into the trap culture sets when it tries to trick you into breaking the internet with excessive hashtag use!


Karlie Duke was in one of Teen Lifeline’s original support groups and now is our Communications Director. She is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories.
Happy Thanksgiving from Teen Lifeline!

Happy Thanksgiving from Teen Lifeline!

The holiday season has arrived at last, and we have so much to be thankful for. This Thanksgiving, we want to give you a peek into the lives of our Teen Lifeline staff and what we are thankful for this year!



Ricky Lewis – Executive Director


What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

I’m a sucker for the traditional turkey and dressing.


What’s your favorite holiday movie?

Classic: It’s a Wonderful Life, Comedy: ELF


What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

On Thanksgiving Day, dinner is any dessert you want!


What you are most thankful for?

I am thankful for many things but family is the biggest. Not just immediate family but also extended family and church family. There are so many things we have had to deal with the last few years, and I wouldn’t have made it without all of these groups of people.


What do you love most about working with students?

The most rewarding part for me is seeing a student realize a new perspective for the first time. Whether that is related to school, family, or their future, it gives me hope that they see the possibility of success in a new way.




Karlie Duke – Communications Director


What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

I have always loved my mom’s homemade apple pie – so yummy!


What’s your favorite holiday movie?

I love all Christmas movies, but White Christmas is a clear favorite.


What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

Every Christmas Eve, my dad reads us The Polar Express. Even though we have gotten too big to sit on his lap, it’s still my favorite part of the holidays.


What you are most thankful for?

I am thankful for the blessings we have living in America. After going to Haiti this summer, I am especially thankful for the house that keeps me warm and dry, the car that let’s me go to work, the health of my family and all the opportunities I have because of where I was born.


What do you love most about working with students?

I love being able to sit and just listen to the teenagers I work with. When I was in High School, the adults in my life were vital, and now I have the opportunity to listen and speak encouragement into the lives of other teenagers!





Chris Robey – Program Director


What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Mashed Potatoes. Hands down. It has become my job each year to boil, mash, and season the spuds.


What’s your favorite holiday movie?

Home Alone and Elf.


What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

Dinovember has become something fun in our family. Our toy dinos “come to life” and engage in shenanigans overnight and our boys discover the chaos when they get up in the morning. Also, I really enjoy anything engaging in Advent.


What you are most thankful for?

Definitely my family. Getting married a little later in life than most makes me remember the days I was single and didn’t have all of this. My wife and boys remind me daily how awesome things can be and how blessed I really am.


What do you love most about working with students?

I love playing a unique role in a student’s life. For so many, they don’t have anyone to help them think and reflect – which is a new skill set for an adolescent. I love not knowing what I am getting into when I meet a new student. Teenagers are in the “in between” time of life where they could be playful like a child or truly reflective and engaging like an adult.



At Teen Lifeline, we are especially thankful for YOU! Thank you for the support, encouragement and time poured into us and the lives of teenagers. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!



At the Core

I often get asked how our Teen Lifeline curriculum works. Do we have a curriculum focused on anger management, grief or alcohol? My answer is always longer then people expect because when I say “No,” it involves an explanation of why that is the case.

We had another successful training a couple of weeks ago that put our number of trained volunteers over 80 people. This is very exciting for me and I hope for you too because it means reaching more teenagers! In that training, we explain a lot about the strategy behind our approach and curriculum, and how and why we use volunteers. For this post, I just want to focus on the core of why we believe the approach we have chosen will work when facilitating support groups for teenagers. For more on the impact we believe our groups have, you can read about the importance of Facing the Storms that will inevitably pour down on each of us in our life time.


To go back and answer the question that I began with, no we do not have topical based curriculum. There is a reason for this and I will get that soon.


How Facing the Storm is Good for Your Teen

How Facing the Storm is Good for Your Teen

We often get asked to talk about what we do at Teen Lifeline. There are several ways to explain it and you can find some of them on our Support Groups or Teen Parents page. However, I find that people often want to know more practically what we are up to and for that I have found a story that I feel communicates well what our teen support groups are all about.

I was reading a book called Take the Stairs by Rory Vanden. In it he talks about being from Colorado and the he sees life lessons in nature.

In Colorado you have the beautiful Rocky Mountains. As majestic and amazing as they are they can also be terrifying and daunting at times. This is also for many of the animals that live on and around the mountains. One such case of majesty that comes with these mountains are storms. These storms are huge, they roll in and you can watch them as they form and come over the tops of the mountains then roll across the landscape or over your head as the case may be.

As beautiful as these may be animals must deal with these elements in their own way. Two such cases are the buffalo and cattle. Both live on the plains and, no doubt, enjoy the weather much of the time, they also face the storms that come but in very different ways.