The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) announced its “Makers of Good Teen Summit” on June 20 in New York City. The one-day event will bring together teens from across the country to collaborate and develop strategies for overcoming social isolation in their communities.
Recent studies1 describe Gen Z (currently ages 13-23) as the “loneliest generation.” Despite much of their lives coinciding with the age of personal sharing online and in social media, members of Gen Z often feel they are lacking in meaningful, interpersonal connections. Loneliness and social isolation among this generation are considered an epidemic with health impacts as severe as those caused by smoking and obesity.
“Hershey has remained relevant with consumers for the past 125 years because of our commitment to making meaningful connections between people – a legacy dating back to our founder, Milton Hershey,” said Leigh Horner, Vice President, Corporate Communications and Sustainability, The Hershey Company. “There are pressing issues facing teens today, and we believe we can help make a positive difference with Gen Z in tackling social isolation and loneliness in a uniquely Hershey way.”
The Makers of Good Teen Summit is a program of The Heartwarming Project, Hershey’s initiative dedicated to helping teens, parents and teachers create more inclusive and empathetic communities. Beyond Differences, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Making Caring Common and WE are among the nonprofit collaborators for the teen summit. Beyond the summit, students across the country will have the opportunity to apply for grants from The Heartwarming Project to bring their social inclusion strategies to life in their hometowns.
Back to School Anxiety
While summer break will have just started for some of the summit attendees, it’s a critical time for teens. Many teachers report that students experience high levels of stress and anxiety, especially during back-to-school season. The timing of the summit will help equip students with resources and tools ahead of the following school year.
“The summit allows teens to identify ways they can increase empathy and connection in themselves and their schools, and then develop action plans to create community impact as they head into a new school year,” said Erin Blanding, Head of Global Program Innovation and Development at WE, which will facilitate action planning sessions during the Summit. “We’re helping to support young people to bring positive change to their communities.”
A Summit for Teens Designed by Teens
Hershey is inviting teens to co-create and help shape the conference itself by crowdsourcing the graphic identity of the event. Teens are invited to submit an original piece of artwork to inspire the look of the summit. Hershey will select one teen’s design to be brought to life in conference materials and attend the summit as a participant.
Contest details, entries and speaker information will be shared on the summit’s Instagram channel at: https://www.instagram.com/MakersofGood