Advice to My Thirteen Year Old SADVICE TO MY THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD SELF (“The Advice Project”) helps empower and inspire teen girls around the world as they enter womanhood. The project includes an anthology of letters written by fifty powerful women to their teen selves, an online community where women and teens can submit their own writing and a series of writing and global citizenship workshops and classes in New York City at programs such as Fahari Academy Charter School, The ROC and Women for Afghan Women.

In addition to providing empowerment services in New York, The Advice Project has partnered with a Cameroonian-based organization called Gender Danger (founded by Advice contributor Chi Yvonne Leina) to offer an eight-week series of online classes to twelve teen girls in Bamenda, Cameroon. At the end of the eight-week series, the Advice Project will lead an on-site, two-week-long, intensive workshop for all of the teens.

The Advice Project will lead a group of over 16 teen girls and youth leaders to Peru in 2015 for the Advice Project Global Leadership and Empowerment Summit. Through classes, trainings, writing and adventures, participants will live for two weeks at a gorgeous eco-lodge in the Amazonian River Basin and will learn how to partner global problems such as rapid climate change and the rights of indigenous women with solutions. Join us!

Have a story you’d like to share? Please read our submissions guidelines. 

Also, join us on The Huffington Post! 


(photo by Bruno Navarro)

ABOUT THE EDITOR: Melissa Banigan is a fiction writer, editor and marketer serving clients in the arts, finance and education such as Scholastic Inc. and NYU-Polytechnic School of Engineering. Melissa has spent many years developing and leading programs that have empowered teens in New York City inner-city schools, and has led workshops that have helped parents become more powerful partners in their children’s educations. She loves leading Advice Project workshops and classes for teen girls and parents and is OVER THE MOON over international Advice Project summits (the first ever being in Peru in 2015).

Melissa attended Columbia University for Art History, is a current faculty member of the Wandering Educators Youth Blogging Program and a past volunteer at Still Waters in a Storm, a literacy program for kids in Bushwick, Brooklyn (New York). She is also a single mom of a teen daughter. Believing that raising a daughter to be a strong, independent, world-changing girl is as simple as finding her powerful women mentors, Melissa travels the world for many months at a time with her daughter, Anevay, so that they can broaden their horizons and become better global citizens. Finally, Melissa is funny – really funny (well, at least she thinks so). She feels that humor and happiness make the world go ’round.

ABOUT THE ONLINE TEEN CONTENT EDITOR: Anevay Darlington is a 13-year-old homeschooled student, cellist, Doctor Who and Sherlock fan, and writer living in Brooklyn, New York. She travels with her mom, Melissa, and is also an avid hiker, having most recently hiked a portion of the Appalachian Trail, and before that, trails through the Swiss Alps, Iceland and Peru. The types of stories Anevay likes to read are by other teens who also believe in partnering problems with solutions. Among Anevay’s (emerging) responsibilities as the Online Teen Content Editor for The Advice Project are managing the Teen Readers’ Stories section of the website, writing op-ed pieces and seeking great stories written by other teens about the issues they find most important. Below are a couple of examples of teen op-ed pieces, including one by Anevay:

Growing Mango Trees to Educate Girls – by Julia Reaves

Media, Quit Marketing “Ideal Beauty” to Teens – by Anevay Darlington


Melissa, age 13

Melissa, age 13


Melissa and one of her best friends, age 13

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