Written by Clara Stockburger
Edited by Abigail Jones
“Our goal as an organization is to educate people about such topics that may not be as mainstream,” says Allison Xu, the Co-Director of the Research and Writing Department for organization Gen Z Advertency. “We want to target issues that are typically ignored or marked as ‘taboo’ in the real world. So, topics such as toxic relationships or consent that are avoided by parents or the school curriculum. We want to talk about these things and inform young people who are seeking such information.”
Xu works with Justine Ho to lead the research and writing projects that their organization undertakes, such as writing articles. The two are passionate about ending the stigma around mental health. Members of the youth-led organization “Gen Z Advertency” aim to put an end to stigmatization by providing a reliable source for information on topics that many consider ‘taboo.’
Xu joined because she wanted to use her passion for writing to help other people learn. In general, she feels like teens learn many things in school while not gaining skills that are needed in adult life. Xu also describes the importance of teaching young people concepts such as financial literacy to prepare them for adult life. “When these concepts are pushed upon you in your adulthood, you don’t always have the proper time to adjust, so we just want to help others gain this knowledge before they are thrusted into adulthood.”
Ho similarly became a member in hopes of practicing her leadership skills and helping others. Ho is passionate about misconceptions about psychotherapy in society. She explains, “The purpose of psychotherapy is understanding yourself, your thoughts, patterns, and behaviors. It can also be beneficial in understanding other people as well as helping to boost your self-esteem.” She continues that it is also important to acknowledge that psychotherapy may not bring about a “quick change.” She says “We expect things to be done and fast. You have to understand that psychotherapy takes a lot of time because it takes time to understand yourself.” Ho hopes to bring our society to look at things closely before forming an opinion.
As leaders in a newly founded organization, Xu and Ho also encountered challenges like delegating work, recruiting new members, and staying on top of organizing everything. However, they manage them by breaking things down and sharing the work. Moreover, they recognized that as leaders they can rely on each other very well. “Since we are a newly started organization, recruiting people is a bit challenging,” says Xu, “But I think it has become great because Justine and I have become really close through becoming two directors of writing and research.” In the future, they hope to evolve by gaining many new members and carry out more educational work.