Meet Andrew Charroux, he’s the recipient of The Above & Beyond Award at the 2019 Teen Line Food for Thought Brunch. This award recognizes the teen that has gone above and beyond expectation, generously giving of their time and energy to help Teen Line and their peers. They display creativity and demonstrate extra caring and compassion for others.
1. Why did you join Teen Line?
I first heard about Teen Line from my mom, who actually volunteered for the hotline when she was in high school in the ‘80s. I joined because it sounded like an amazing opportunity to provide a support system to teens who really need it. I thought it would be a great way to make an impact where it is needed most.
2. What have you learned about yourself from your Teen Line journey?
Volunteering at Teen Line for the past three years has opened my eyes to the pain felt throughout the country and has made me realize my potential to make life better for others. Countless phone calls and texts with teens have shown me just how impactful listening and supporting someone in their time of need can be. I’ve definitely become more aware of the diverse struggles that students face and am more empathetic, compassionate, and motivated. I’ve realized that I cannot stand idly by and that there is so much that can still be done.
3: What are your plans for after High School/Teen Line?
I plan to attend a college on the east coast where I will study the intersection of mental health and policy. I really want to learn how I can make large scale changes to support vulnerable populations and increase access to services for those who need it most.
4. Can you share an experience that you had at Teen Line where you felt you really made an impact or helped another teen?
I remember one specific example where I helped a suicidal teenager find motivation to keep going by discovering ways he could help out in his community. After talking to him about the struggles he was dealing with on a daily basis, he expressed that just having me there to listen really helped him and he wanted to figure out how he could help others. I ended up searching for community involvement opportunities in his area and found a local helpline that he could volunteer for. He became really excited to have the opportunity to help others and turn his pain into power. It was really an amazing feeling to help someone find the strength in themselves and develop a new outlook on their potential.
5. What is something that most people don’t know about you?
Most people don’t know that I really like music and have been playing guitar for many years. I really enjoy learning new songs and playing music in bands with friends from school. It is definitely a side interest, but it is something that has always excited me and has been a great outlet.
6. You always went above and beyond for Teen Line, while being an impressive high school student / champion for positive change. How did you do it?
I think what helped me manage everything in high school was the fact that all of my extra curricular involvements really were things I cared about. I would say finding activities or passions that really mean something to you can naturally create the motivation to keep going. I think a lot of high school students feel pressure to get involved in a whole bunch of activities, but I would say that focusing on what means something to you makes everything feel a lot more manageable and exciting.
7. As you end your journey with Teen Line, do you have any messages for new teens or for Teen Line as a whole?
I would tell new teens to take what you learn from Teen Line and bring it back into your community. The skills we gain through training and on the hotline can extend far beyond our phone calls– they can really change so many lives around you. Whether it is using the tools to start new programs to support at-risk students or remembering your listening and empathy skills to be a better friend for your peers, each action can have significant impacts on those around you. Also, remember to enjoy your time at Teen Line because it goes by really quickly!!
For Michelle, Cheryl, and Teen Line as a whole, I would just want to thank everyone for such a transformative experience throughout my time in high school! I truly think it set my life in a direction that I would not otherwise be on and has inspired me to do all that I can. I couldn’t imagine a more meaningful way to have spent my time in high school.
“It has been wonderful to work with Andrew and watch him grow as a listener. He has a natural empathy that allows him to be a helpful resource to our callers, as well as to those who work with him.”Danny Haloossim, Resource Associate
The Teen Line Food for Thought Brunch will be on Sunday, May 5, 2019 at the UCLA Meyer & Renee Luskin Conference Center. We will be honoring Andrew as well as other admirable teen volunteers. For event and ticket info, click here.