Forty seconds into the first game of the soccer season, I took a hit and landed on the field. When I heard the snap, I knew it wasn’t good. An MRI confirmed my worst fear: a torn anterior cruciate ligament, better known in the sports world as a torn ACL. My soccer season was over before it had even started.
Not wanting to be stuck on the sideline for long, I took the initiative to try and research my injury and the best way to go about my recovery from reconstructive surgery; getting sound advice and tips was important to me. But when I took to the internet to begin, I quickly found that most of the good information I could find on the internet was geared toward adults. Even that information was sparse when compared to the abundance of websites and blogs dedicated to fad diets and quick fixes! Disappointed and frustrated, I decided that if I could not find good, reliable information, other teens were probably experiencing the same thing.
I had a lot of time on my hands during my ACL recovery, and I began to think about how I could be the one to provide good information on health and fitness geared toward teens. This was the beginning of bFITTEENS.com, a website and blog created for teens by teens that includes positive health, fitness, nutrition, financial and mental health advice. I didn’t just want “feel good” blogs — I wanted blogs with substance and truth. I wanted teens to be able to hear from other teens who would blog honestly about their fitness challenges and successes. I also sought out experts in the fields of health, fitness, and personal finance to add to the website’s credibility.
I recruited three Keith School classmates, Robert Raleigh, Sam Zammuto, and Ella Mawyer, to join me in blogging. Ella enjoys yoga and is a vegetarian, Sam is a competitive weightlifter who lost 60 pounds by eating healthy and exercising, and Robert enjoys competitive sports. Most recently, we added teen blogger Kate Foster, a nationally recognized gymnast who has overcome many challenges in life (including having her leg amputated due to complications while she was fighting cancer), and Wills Anderson as our videographer and photographer.
After bFIT was up and running for a few months, I started receiving emails from teens wanting advice on how to handle bullying, depression, and feelings of isolation and loneliness. Some of those emails I received were really personal. I understood the feeling of not knowing where to turn to since I didn’t have anywhere to turn when I was feeling depressed from my sports injury. I added a bSTRONG tab to my website and added blogs about mental health and coping skills for teens.
A lot of people ask me what has been the hardest part of keeping the website and blog up and running for just over a year. Creating and managing bFIT has taught me a lot about running a business, being organized, and being grateful to the people and organizations that have supported bFIT. Ultimately it is about keeping relevant and up-to-date health and fitness information on the site. To date there are more than 50 blog posts on bFIT, with topics ranging from Coping With Tragedy to Why Summer Jobs Are Important.
I want to continue to provide teens with a resource for getting information, and I want to encourage other teens to follow their interests or passion. I recently set up a bFIT college scholarship fund to provide scholarship money for teens looking to pursue a career in health and fitness. If someone is inspired by my story and looking to start their own project, I would recommend that they reach out and ask others for help or guidance. I have found that most people say yes and very few say no. And, if you are looking for some solid, good (oftentimes great) advice on health, fitness, finances and more, check out bFITTEENS.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.