YCteen publishes true stories by teens, giving readers insight into the issues that matter most in young people's lives.
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Issue #1 (2020) issue cover
Teens Report on Their Lives

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Meagan sees code-switching as a necessary evil but resents having to do it. (full text)

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We pick more than the president, and we all need to vote. (full text)

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Jennifer struggled with the death of her grandmother for almost a year. She shares what helped her overcome the sadness in losing a loved one. (full text)

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Once my mom had him removed, life improved. Now I can redefine manhood for myself. (full text)

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My identity as an independent woman has widened since moving here from Tokyo. (full text)

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This gay writer questions the strict interpretation of Islam and tries to find a more accepting version to stay a Muslim. (full text)

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At a young age, Helen was relied on as a bridge to transcend two worlds—her family’s old life in China and their new life in America. As she matured, she learned the power of language and the daily struggles of the American immigrant experience. (full text)

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I’ve suffered abuse, bad foster homes, self-harm, and violent outbursts; thanks to therapy and medication, I’m feeling better and planning to re-enroll in college. (full text)

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The writer realizes that he crushed on a boy mainly because he saw him as a “full person and not just an orientation." (full text)

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Valentina talks to classmates at the International High School at LaGuardia about the difficult feelings associated with being separated from your parents. (full text)

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No matter how difficult and scary it seems, it’s worth it. (full text)

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Giving an assist to stop bullying. (full text)

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Although the writer’s parents think there is “something wrong” with him because he is gay, he knows that’s not true. He finds his own community and belonging by joining the GSA club at his school. (full text)

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Political unrest caused Laya’s family to flee Venezuela. She arrived in the U.S. knowing little English, but dedicated teachers and creative outlets helped her thrive. (full text)

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How I am trying to overcome my fear of being judged. (full text)

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The Nurse-Family Partnership brings care, advice, stability, and more to first-time mothers. (full text)

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I had to take care of my whole family as a teen, until CPS finally stepped up. (full text)

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Many men hurt me, but teachers, therapists, and my own courage have helped me heal and thrive. (full text)

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She helped me learn that even though people leave, I can still get close. (full text)

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As a child growing up in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Jahin observed other children begging on the streets, homeless. When he got older, he was determined to help them. (full text)

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Edwin learns there’s a different reality for immigrants during the coronavirus pandemic. Inspired by his mother’s efforts to keep his household going, Edwin becomes determined to overcome the disadvantages immigrants face in the U.S. (full text)

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As teens return to school during the pandemic, they offer teachers suggestions on how to support them. (full text)

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"Schools with mostly low-income students don’t get the same funding as schools with kids coming from higher income backgrounds,” Meagan writes. Here, she details how she struggles because of that. (full text)

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When SJ’s guidance counselor and doctor ignore her pleas for mental health help, she is hospitalized. She gets the help she needs and attends the school there with teachers who are supportive. (full text)

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Richi is passionate about physics and astrobiology but fears she won't be able to compete against kids with better resources for college admission. (full text)

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Konner's parents work for the MTA and at a jail. As calls to defund the police grow louder, Konner advocates for getting police out of schools and paying workers who risk their lives in the pandemic more. (full text)

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Stephanie's 8th grade history teacher makes racist remarks all year; she tells another teacher, who won't do anything. Finally, at graduation, she confronts the teacher, finding a new courage. (full text)

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Shelley, whose mom immigrated here from the DR, works hard to get herself into Brandeis. COVID-19 adds to the barriers blocking Shelley from greater opportunity than her mother had. (full text)

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After the wave of protests following George Floyd's murder, many organizations asserted that "Black Lives Matter" to them. Gabrielle asks the ACS Commissioner how deep that commitment goes. (full text)

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Rose and her family, who are from Canada, host a food drive at their house for those suffering during the pandemic. It feels good to help, but Rose also wonders why the U.S. government doesn't do more. (full text)

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While our teen writers miss their friends and learning in a classroom, most don't feel safe returning to school. (full text)

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Laya's anxiety got worse during the pandemic. She eased her fears with the help of her therapist, her family, meditation, and breathing exercises. She urges readers to talk about their feelings. (full text)

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Laya uses breathing exercises to calm her anxiety. She shares her techniques, visualizations, and apps that she uses. (full text)

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Joanna suffers from PTSD stemming from childhood abuse. She had found ways to control it, but the pandemic retriggered flashbacks and panic attacks. Writing, therapy, and creating a new routine help her cope. (full text)

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Shocked by the murder of George Floyd, Gabbie goes to her first Black Lives Matter protest. She is moved by the shared sense of purpose and embarks on more activism. (full text)

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Josiah has studied the history of white violence against black people for several years. He thinks the country may be "awakening" in the wake of George Floyd's murder. (full text)

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Tayia’s PTSD, anxiety, and depression are aggravated by sheltering in place with her foster family. Separated from teachers and friends, she struggles with online classes and even her sense of self. (full text)

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Tayia interviews therapist Marina Stolerman about coping with the pandemic. Marina recommends making a routine that includes regular socializing and going outside, safely distanced. (full text)

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Layla’s mom works in a Bronx hospital, and going to work is scary and sad. Layla writes, “my jubilant mother is slowly unraveling into a traumatized and frightened being.” (full text)

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The writer is an unaccompanied minor from Africa, spending her lockdown with a loving foster family in the Bronx. U.S. immigration law forces her to move away from them during the pandemic. (full text)

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Gabrielle was in the middle of a photography course during her freshman year of college. She changed her photo project to these beautiful shots from her window. (full text)

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Marvin falls behind when his high school goes to remote learning. He rallies, though, with tactics like silencing his phone and writing down what he has to do on paper.
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Kevin describes the double fear of disease and racist violence that Asian Americans are experiencing during the pandemic. (full text)

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Claire and her family are shunned and insulted by xenophobic jerks in New York City. She questions her inclination to endure it without complaint, which is part of her Korean American upbringing. (full text)

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In the midst of the upheaval of the coronavirus pandemic, Jessica appreciates that her teachers are suffering too, even as they support and help their students. (full text)

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Kevin interviews Meera Venugopal of the Asian American Federation, and Joyce Moy of the Asian American/Asian Research Institute, about how Asian Americans and allies can fight back against hate. (full text)

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Christina has always felt invisible except as a “model minority.” After a classmate calls her “Corona” and she notices more xenophobia everywhere, she feels “seen” in a new and awful way. (full text)

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Alex Jimenez is 21 and healthy, but he wears a mask to protect others from the coronavirus. He models several different masks in this video. (full text)

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S.T. is in a group home for unaccompanied minors after fleeing violence in Guinea, Africa. He makes sense of the pandemic by painting. (full text)

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Gabrielle is in her first year at Hofstra University, and the pandemic spun her into anxiety. She figured out how to manage her responses and shares her methods for finding calm. (full text)

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Abdullah was counting on his Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) job, both for experience and to help him pay for college. When New York City canceled SYEP, Abdullah joined the movement to restore it. (full text)

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Amallia Orman is the New York City DOE’s first ever Student Voice Manager. She shares her plans to get students’ input into how schools are run.
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Layla and her friends use Google Slides to collaborate on their own Corona Diaries. They create a shared piece of art and boost each other’s spirits when they “meet” there. (full text)

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Joanna managed to secure housing, daycare for her son, a school for herself, and the services she needed as she left foster care. But coronavirus shut it all down. (full text)

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Marvin's brother worked in a grocery store as the coronavirus pandemic hit New York City. Everyone in their family had symptoms, but nobody could get tested. (full text)

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Four NYC high school students share their experience adjusting to remote learning after the schools are closed. (full text)

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New York City canceled its Summer Youth Employment Program, which gives jobs to 75,000 teens. Youth-led advocacy group Teens Take Charge is pushing the city to reverse that decision. (full text)

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Claire uses her time at home to craft a workout that will help her look more like the models she admires on Instagram. (full text)

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Matthew moved from denial to acceptance of the health crisis, drawing on his experience with depression. He took himself out of school before it closed, to protect others. (full text)

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In late March, foster youth in CUNY dorms were told, “Get out. You have two days.” Marcus alerted the media and elected officials, and many youth got to stay in the dorms. (full text)

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Layla turned her life around and made a dance about it. She was chosen to be the soloist in her school’s spring performance, and was crushed when everything got canceled. (full text)

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Bored with self-isolating at home, Atl dressed up and headed to a 1920s-themed party on Zoom (full text)