By Audrey Willett:
Big Sister is all about sharing advice and being the big sibling so many people wish they had. They hope to share advice on everything from school to traveling or anything you could possibly think of. Big Sister has also reopened applications for writers/editors/social media marketers to join their team; you can apply here. Please enjoy our interview with Ananya Gollakota and Leen Attia.
AW: Tell us all about you and your organization!
AG&LA: Big Sister is a youth organization that hopes to unite, inspire, and guide individuals who lack a sibling figure in their lives. Founded by four Kode with Klossy scholars, we all hope to create a safe place on the internet where women and non-binary individuals can share and ask advice about topics from mental health to life lessons. Through our spotlight series, we highlight young women breaking barriers in STEAM, such as four-time TED speaker and activist Vivian Tan. We hope to promote inclusivity through our narrative articles and have even hosted coding workshops to create exposure to women of STEAM careers. Feel free to contact us at email@example.com, we are always here for you!
AW: Why do you think it’s important for your generation to let their voices be heard?
AG&LA: We believe that everyone has a story and invaluable insight to offer. It’s important to listen to others and their experiences because it can bring a new perspective to one’s life and give them a safe space to tell their story.
AW: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
AG&LA: Optimistic! While we think it’s easy to be fearful and worried about what the future holds, there are so many talented people, such as Krisha Khandelwal (founder of Let’s Defeat Bullying, a global campaign to educate and spread awareness about bullying) and Vivian Tan, who are fighting for what they believe in and using their voices for good.
AW: What are the most important issues facing our world right now? And in the future?
AG&LA: We think that several issues are facing our world right now: systematic racism, police brutality, food insecurity, climate change, vaccine availability, gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, Anti-Asian hate, Palestinian struggle/Israel apartheid. We believe that it’s crucial to keep educating ourselves and spreading awareness about inequalities around the world.
AW: What does your organization offer that helps the world be a better place?
AG&LA: We offer a safe place on the internet for women and non-binary individuals to share and ask for advice! We recognize that many don’t have a sibling figure in their life at all—or don’t have one that they feel comfortable reaching out to for advice—so we want to create a space for them to ask whatever they need and be their big sister.
AW: Will you be voting in the next election?
AG&LA: Yes, we will, and we encourage others to do the same!
AW: Please tell us all about your current campaigns, projects, and endeavors. Tell everyone where to find you online and on social platforms.
AG&LA: All out contact info can be found at https://mybigsister.carrd.co/
Some of our Projects: Sex Education 101: This series aims to educate women about feminine hygiene and health. Many girls aren't properly taught about the female body and its importance in our health and lives.
Women Spotlight Series: A series where we highlight young women who are breaking barriers! Our first guest, Vivian Tan, is a social entrepreneur and a public speaker who helps aspiring individuals create a personalized "drink" for well-being and success through creative and meaningful content. She has impacted over 15,000+ people through her content creation & public speaking, founded YOUth of BC, is a suicide survivor & mental health advocate, and a 4x TED speaker. More info can be found on our website!
Secret Buddy: Everyone (between the ages of 13–22) will be matched with a secret buddy they can exchange letters with by Big Sister. Big Sister sends an email with information about the buddy (interests, pronouns, age, name, etc.) and lets them get to know each other. Fill out this Google Form, if you’re interested!
AW: If there is anything else you would like to say, please do!
AG&LA: To anyone reading this, reach out to us! We’ll answer any questions you have to the best of our ability. From telling us about exciting news in your life to asking for book recommendations and other advice, Big Sister is here for you! Please don’t hesitate to contact us whether you need advice or just want someone to talk to :)
Audrey Willett is a southern California sophomore in high school. She is an activist and aspiring filmmaker, and the Social Media Outreach coordinator for The Gen Z Collective.