Shape the Sky’s mission is to “create responsible kids on smartphones” (or devices). The heart of my career over the past twenty-five years has been helping kids succeed and improve their lives. When I am meeting one-on-one with a young person, it’s easy to connect, give advice, and push them towards success. Through my counseling career and working with students in schools, I build a connection and the ability to encourage them.

Once I started traveling the country talking about social media and mental health, the connection to youth was lost in my message to a certain degree. I was still developing and delivering training content that was a result of connecting with kids in schools, but the voice of the kids themselves started to fade.

Over the years, I’ve been trying to find great ways to have youth be a direct part of the mission. However, it has proven to be a difficult task. Finding the right way to have a youth voice hasn’t been easy. I’ve been able to share some stories of inspirational kiddos through the Youth Spotlight and showcase the wonderful things they have done. However, those kids were doing great things outside of my mission on their own. What I was looking for was a way to essentially have kids that are already “responsible kids on smartphones” create content and inspiration for other kids and adults in this ever changing digital world.

I’d like to introduce the Youth Projects page of the website. Here is where I will be able to host youth projects that align with the mission of Shape The Sky. I’m kicking off this section with two projects completed by a Montour High School CHS Cybersecurity and Law class led by the teacher Michael Waldron. Mr. Waldron approached me and asked if he could have one of his classes put together a project about technology and social media and “Absolutely!” was my response. I connected with his class and gave them some of my goals from Shape the Sky. These students then developed their own ideas and projects, and I’m now very proud to be able to bring them to you. Their two projects will hopefully be the kick off to many more student-led resources for adults and kids.

If you are the teacher of a class that would be interested in creating some resources for parents and/or students as a class project, send me a message, and let’s get it started!!

~ Ryan

Project: Digital Safety Tips From Teens

Our driving question for this project was whether or not children are safe and responsible enough to use social media in today’s society. The goal of “Digital Safety Tips From Teens” is to inform parents about the good and bad effects of technology. We want the parents to be aware that technology and social media are not just used to text friends and families nowadays, there is more to it. On the handout, there are opinions from our school administrators, there is a pros and cons list about the use of technology, and there are helpful resources that could possibly answer more questions parents have about this specific topic.

Class: Montour High School CHS Cybersecurity and the Law class led by Michael Waldron

Team Members: Cole Gasparovich & Kayla Coffield

Student Bios:

Cole:My name is Cole Gasparovich and I am a senior at Montour High school. I will be continuing my education at Slippery Rock University with a goal of getting my masters in business administration and management. I have worked at a retirement home called The Residence at Willow Lane since April of 2018. I chose to focus on this topic because I believe that parents deserve to know ways to know how to keep their kids safe on their devices with the way the world is shifting towards technology for such young ages.”

Kayla: “I am Kayla Coffield and I am a senior at Montour High School. I plan to further my education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where I will be majoring in Computer Science/Cyber Security. I am also in the Army National Guard so I also plan on entering into the ROTC program during college which will then lead me to an 8 year Active Duty contract right out of college. Until college starts, my main focus will be on graduating from my Advanced Individual Training (AIT) to become an Army Chemical, BIological, Radiological, and Nuclear Specialist this summer.”

Project: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of TikTok

Is TikTok a safe and educational platform for your children to be on? We’re here to answer that!

We will show you the best of the best of TikTok, and the worst of the worst on TikTok. We will explain what TikTok recommends for an appropriate age and overview the terms of service they apply on their app. We will also explain some useful tips and risks to look out for when using TikTok. As teenagers in high school we will give our overall opinion of the app and give an appropriate age for kids to be on the app.

Class: Montour High School CHS Cybersecurity and the Law class led by Michael Waldron

Team Members: Giovanna Nicolai,  Peyton Moffatt, Aaron Ebner, John Kashmer, and Giovanni Gigliotti

Student Bios:

Giovanna: “My name is Giovanna Nicolai. I am a junior at Montour High School. I am a varsity cheerleader and I enjoy participating in clubs such as Student Council, Future Business Leaders of America and Cure Finders. After High School, I plan on majoring in Information Science with a focus in Data Analytics or Computer Security.”

Peyton: “My name is Peyton Moffatt, and I am currently a senior at Montour High School. I am involved with many clubs in my schools, including Cure Finders, Math Team, and National Honors Society. I have always enjoyed using and learning about technology. After High School, I will be attending Carnegie Mellon University and majoring in Information Systems.”

Aaron: “My name is Aaron Ebner and I am a senior at Montour High School. I am a part of the Montour swim team and the track and field team. I am a part of clubs such as graphics and lost arts. I will be attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania and majoring in Computer Science.”

John: “My name is John Kashmer and I am a junior at Montour High School. I am involved in different clubs in Montour such as Future Business Leaders of America, Spartan Startups, and Spartan eSports. After High School, I plan on majoring in cyber security or data sciences.”

Giovanni: My name is Giovanni Gigliotti and I am a senior at Montour High School. After high school, I plan on attending a 4 year university where I will double major in Finance and Applied Mathematics. I then plan to attend graduate school for my MBA in Finance. I plan to enter the investment banking/hedge fund industry after my six years of college.”