TEEN FORCE!

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This summer, thanks to a generous grant from The Allstate Foundation, the team at The Imagine Neighborhood  launched Teen Force!, a virtual summer fellowship that brought together high school students from across the country. Together with expert consultants and a team of our mentors, 15 teens with interests in storytelling, podcasting, and social-emotional learning crafted these five Teen Force! segments for listeners of The Imagine Neighborhood. These stories show that no matter how old you are, whether you're an alien in a spaceship, a curious panda, or a princess-in-training, you can practice seeing the world from others’ perspectives and make your neighborhood a kinder place.

The PandA Plunge!

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The time has come for the Panda Plunge! Every summer, all the pandas come together to jump into The Imagine Neighborhood Lake. Everyone is splashing, playing, and making panda puns, but Poppy the Panda is off on her own. It turns out, Poppy is autistic, and even though she’s having fun, big social activities can get a little loud and overwhelming. Disabilities can be visible to others, like when a friend is visually impaired or needs a wheelchair to get around. But sometimes disabilities are invisible, like autism. It’s important to try to see the world through others’ perspectives and support friends when they need some space. By encouraging all pandas to have fun in the ways that work for them, it makes the Panda Plunge inclusive for everyone!

(illustration by Sanika Phawde)

PandaPlungeTeenForce!
00:00 / 05:05

"The Panda Plunge" was created and performed by  Benji Gordon, Carolyn Neugarten, and Amelia Rowniewski

The Missing Piece

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Have you ever had a new student start at your school? Or have you been a new student in a school where you didn’t know anyone? When Emily joins a third-grade classroom as a brand-new student, she doesn’t know if the other kids will welcome or accept her. As they all work on a puzzle, Emily realizes she has the missing piece, but she can’t seem to get the other students’ attention. A lesson in inclusion will help everyone fit in—and help the puzzle come together!

(illustration by Sanika Phawde)

MissingPieceTeenForce!
00:00 / 04:54

"The Missing Piece" was created and performed by María Fernanda Marquez, Esther Chu, and Mutunga Lamin 

Brain Freeze!

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In the Kingdom of Dessert, Rocky Road has just been granted his dream job: Official Court Injester for Princess-in-Training Cherry Maraschino. Rocky is excited to test every ice cream in the land and help Princess Cherry determine which flavor is the tastiest. But quickly, Rocky realizes Princess Cherry’s expectations are pretty unreasonable . . . after trying all kinds of flavors, from strawberry to minced pies to rotten bananas, Rocky’s stomach is starting to hurt. Setting boundaries can be difficult, especially when you want to do well. But Rocky and Princess Cherry both need to communicate clearly and find a way to voice their needs!

(illustration by Sanika Phawde)

BrainFreezeTeenForce!
00:00 / 12:05

"Brainfreeze" was written and performed by Miranda Zanca, Maybelle Patterson, and Samarah Bentley

Pop your mind open

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On an alien spaceship, three alien kids overhear their parents’ plan to visit Earth and try the human delicacy, Pop Rocks. When the alien kids hear that they’ll be expected to be ‘open-minded,’ they start to get worried. What if this trip to Earth pops their minds open? The kids go to drastic measures to keep the ship from reaching Earth, but they’ll soon learn that Earth has a lot to offer and sometimes it’s worth being open-minded.

(illustration by Sanika Phawde)

PopYourMindOpenTeenForce!
00:00 / 04:56

"Pop Your Mind Open" was written and performed by Emmy Berger, Luke McCloskey, and Aja Gladden

TimeKicks

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Leo doesn’t understand why so many people are worried about littering. How could one little piece of trash be such a big deal? One day, he wakes up to find an old pair of shoes waiting on his doorstep. These shoes magically zoom Leo into the future—where he sees how that little piece of trash has joined all of the trash already floating in the ocean. Leo learns that every person has the power to make a difference. By throwing his trash away in the right place and finding other ways to support clean air and water, Leo realizes he can help protect our planet and show others how to care, too.

(illustration by Sanika Phawde)

TimeKicksTeenForce!
00:00 / 08:15

"Timekicks" was written and performed by Myles Brown, Eamon Ryan, and Natalia Romero