HERE, TEENS CAN DARE TO SHARE WHAT IS TRUE TO THEM: Give Us The Floor is a unique safe and supportive place where we help each other. We can talk freely about our struggles and experiences with peers who are going through, or have gone through, the same challenges. We are a community of young people connected by our challenges, interests, and questions.

“Youth have the power to make a real difference in the lives of people around them. When young people have troubles, frustrations, concerns, worries, or life events that affect them, they often turn to peers rather than adults for help.”

Barbara B. Varenhorst, Ph.D.

Our Vision

If teenagers can share freely and safely with peers the difficulties they go through, if they can safely voice the challenges they face, there is no more stigma nor taboo and it allows them to believe in themselves and in their future.

Our Mission

To create and support a safe and trustworthy environment where we, as teenagers, know that whatever challenge we struggle with, Give Us The Floor is THE place where we will find peers that have faced or are facing the same challenges. This is a place where teens encourage, support each other, and share wisdom. A place where we understand that we share common challenges and that we are not alone.

It's proven

The “teen age” is a stage of life where the brain is still very malleable. Entering the first years of adulthood with self-confidence, comfort and optimism is critical to becoming balanced, healthy and civically engaged adults.

It is urgent to act to prevent a public health crisis

  • 50% of Americans will have a mental disorder*
  • 75% will have started by age 24*
  • Stigma is a major barrier to treatment
    *(Kessler RC et al., 2005, Harvard Medical School)
Teenage years are a difficult and unbalanced period of life. The challenges that youth struggle with and the ways they handle them or not can push them into anxiety, depression, eating disorder, self-harm, bullying, physical health issues or suicide.

Give Us The Floor Method

Knowing that a friend is going through the same emotion makes us feel better than we would if we experienced the situation alone. It is called the sharing effect. Teens need to be able to express themselves safely about their struggles, supported by people they trust, who understand them, and will not judge; other teens. When we stop feeling ashamed and different, we can ask for help.

Experiential & Social Learning 

The creative pieces that teens create to address their challenges use experiential and social learning methods to engage in:
● peer-to-peer support  ● self-reflection  ● critical analysis  ● interdisciplinary learning  ● leadership  ● civic engagement  ● career development  ● cultural awareness

Teens: 4 Ways to get involved

1- Subscribe to our newsletter to be invited to our online and in-person events + get updates of what teens publish HERE
2- Share with us videos, photos, graphics and other forms of art where you share your struggles and experiences HERE
3- Participate to a supportive peer to peer text group HERE
4- Become a teen member HERE

WHAT ADULTS DO

"It’s all controlled by us, all by the teenagers, all by the youth. And the adults are there, there are adults, but they are just over watching us; but we are the ones that actually control what we want to be done" ~ Paul

1. Support teens while they express themselves about their challenges using Experiential Learning and Creative Projects:  Teens can choose to be a part of the Creative Team (photographer, filmmaker, artist, blogger, designer etc.), STEAM team (Programmer), Social Media Team, Intern.

2. Train Teen Discussion Leaders for them to be better at supporting their peers during casual discussions, meet-ups or while creating projects.

3. Provide Workshops with Professionals to better express themselves about their struggles, fears, pressures.

Are you an adult? Subscribe to our newsletter for parents and adults HERE
You'd like to help? We ALWAYS need help, please reach out to us! Or you just have questions, Email info@giveusthefloor.org, and/or Click here to donate

WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW

TO ADD

A team of adults who really understand how little they understand.

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Valerie Grison-Alsop
Founder & Executive Director
Valerie is an expert in how to engage teenagers. Following her passion, she decided to create Give Us The Floor. She is an experienced advertising and television executive, founder and CEO of StoraLab, specialized in creating experiences for teens and tweens. Its main project, TBQE The Best Question Ever, was a curiosity-driven social app for young people.
Previously to founding StoraLab, Valerie enjoyed a successful career in the advertising industry in Europe. She was the Founder and Executive Producer of Tipitina Films, a production company specializing in award-winning television commercials. Valerie produced international films for advertisers including L’Oréal, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Kraft Foods, and Samsung. She has also held finance and operational leadership roles. Her business success led to the acquisition of Others, a B2B advertising agency by Gyro, a global firm headquartered in London.

Click here for Valerie's blog

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Rob Joyce
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Rob believes that we have a historic opportunity to design new ways for people and organizations to make the world a better place. His career includes experience in business development, communication design, and project management that spans the private, nonprofit, and civic sectors. In 2015, he led the development of the Founders Pledge program for Full Circle Fund, where he created programing and resources for a community of startup founders that have pledged company equity to nonprofits. Recent experience also includes marketing and communications for HealthRIGHT 360 during multiple mergers and the launch of a $15MM capital campaign. His civic engagement includes continued volunteer service as the director of Please Touch Garden, an interim use project in San Francisco that has transformed a blighted Civic Center lot into a thriving arts garden.

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Lindsay Cox
Executive Assistant & Team Coordinator
Lindsay studied education in college, and eventually found a career in project and team management. She enjoys finding new ways to streamline processes, organizing events, and keeping everyone on the same page. She believes that today’s youth hold the key to our world’s future, and she is passionate about helping them tap into their creativity and enjoys helping them find new ways to have their voices be heard.

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Cynthia Boris
Social Media Manager
Cynthia is a former teacher with a BA in Education. She left teaching to raise a family while embarking on a career as a writer. She's known for both her pop culture books and her articles on social media marketing. She's worked on a variety of teen-oriented projects including an interactive writing and video site for Disney Interactive and a fashion game aimed at helping teens learn how to run their own small business. Cynthia also ran social media marketing campaigns for littleBits, TakePart.com and Harper Collins Teen Publishing.

Board of Directors

Honorary Board

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Barbara B. Varenhorst
Barbara Varenhorst is a former secondary teacher, counselor and psychologist in the Palo Alto, CA School District.  She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Stanford in 1964.  In 1970 she founded the first Peer Counseling Program.  She is the co-founder of the National Peer Helpers Association and served as President of the California Association of Peer Programs.  Her teaching has included at Harvard, Stanford, Johns Hopkins and San Francisco State.  She has been on the Boards of St. Olaf College, The College Board and Search Institute.  Currently she serves on the non-profit Vesper Society and as Chair of the Corporate Members.  Her publications include, Curriculum Guide for Student Peer Counseling Training, Real Friends: Becoming the Friend You’d Like to Have; Peer Ministry Training: The Basic Training and Peer Helping Training.  She co-authored Deciding and Decisions and Outcomes for the College Board and from 1985-1995 she wrote a column “Youth Ask Barbara” for Group Magazine.  She continues to provide training and consultations to school Districts and colleges around the Country.

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Harriet Wolfe
Harriet is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst. National leader in her profession, she is the President-elect of the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) and the immediate Past Chair of APsaA’s Committee on Psychoanalytic Education.  She is a past President and immediate Past Chair of the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis where she is a Training and Supervising Analyst.  She also is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.  Harriet understands, teaches and advocates for the importance of interpersonal relationships and social support systems for optimal human development.  She is excited to join Give Us the Floor in offering teenagers a platform for both giving and receiving help within their peer group.

Board of Directors

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Marylene Delbourg-Delphis
Silicon Valley executive and serial tech entrepreneur and strategy consultant for both startups and more mature companies. A graduate from l'Ecole Normale Supérieure in France (doctorate in philosophy), Marylene started her career in France as the founder of ACI (now 4th Dimension) and launched the first bestselling relational database on Macintosh. One of the first European women to start a company in the Silicon Valley, she co-founded ACIUS with Guy Kawasaki in 1987. She then became the CEO of Exemplary Software (spin off from HPLabs), a lean supply chain management system acquired by Persistent Systems, of Brixlogic, a platform for the native implementation of XML Schemas acquired by Diebold, and co-founded TalentCircles of which she was the CEO for four years. She has helped about 30 companies as a board member or consultant. She has translated books by Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin and Hugh McLeod into French, as well as written prefaces for these books and others. Earlier in her career, she authored several books on the history of fashion and fragrance.

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Valerie Grison-Alsop
Founder & Executive Director
Valerie is an expert in how to engage teenagers. Following her passion, she decided to create Give Us The Floor. She is an experienced advertising and television executive, founder and CEO of StoraLab, specialized in creating experiences for teens and tweens. Its main project, TBQE The Best Question Ever, was a curiosity-driven social app for young people.
Previously to founding StoraLab, Valerie enjoyed a successful career in the advertising industry in Europe. She was the Founder and Executive Producer of Tipitina Films, a production company specializing in award-winning television commercials. Valerie produced international films for advertisers including L’Oréal, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Kraft Foods, and Samsung. She has also held finance and operational leadership roles. Her business success led to the acquisition of Others, a B2B advertising agency by Gyro, a global firm headquartered in London.

Click here for Valerie's blog

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Rodger Kobayashi
Rodger has spent most of his 20+ year career working in entrepreneurial environments, most recently as a founding partner of R&K Consulting LLC, where he enjoys advising entrepreneurs and early stage companies.  Working closely with the founders and management teams of various startup companies, Rodger has been successful in assisting them in their fundraising, which includes both venture funding and venture debt.  He has worked with companies such as WhiteHat Security, Immunet (acquired by Sourcefire), Sigaba (acquired by Proofpoint), iSEC Partners (acquired by NCC Group), TargetX, StoraLab and 28msec. Rodger holds a B.S. Business Administration, from the University of California, Berkeley

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Kay Emerson
Kay has over 30 years of experience in helping for profit and non-profit organizations and governmental agencies achieve their goals and improve operations. She earned a BS in Engineering in hardware and software design from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from University of Hawaii. She also is CPA  (inactive). She has worked in small startups and well as large organizations such as Hewlett Packard, Coopers & Lybrand, City & County of San Francisco, and Florida DOT. Her primary responsibilities were in finance, human resources, quality improvement, performance monitoring, and facilities management. She also founded Zillio Foundation a 501 (c) (3) non profit focused on improving math education for K-8 students and teachers. Kay enjoys project management in all its forms. She maintains a small management consulting practice and volunteers for organizations focused on children, teens and women.

Board of Adult Advisors

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Ken Eklund
Ken is Writerguy, a creative director and consultant for innovative and socially relevant games and experiences. He has long been interested in the positive social effects of collaborative experiences and open-ended, creative play. He is the creator of the award-winning FutureCoast and Giskin Anomaly, co-creator of participatory works Zorop and Ruination, and the creator of the landmark collaborative narrative World Without Oil. He has designed games professionally for over 20 years.

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Matt Kursh
Matt is CEO and Founder of Oji Life Lab, which creates hands-on and online learning experiences that help employees gain vital skills for life and work. Oji Life Lab focuses on life literacy, the array of ideas and skills that allow us to thrive, from finding purpose to finding business opportunities, from managing teams to managing emotions. Matt’s career in high-tech companies includes starting and selling companies to Apple and Microsoft; running MSN.com and other businesses at Microsoft; and serving on the Board of Directors of public and private companies. He currently serves on the Board of Thrive Networks, a Bay Area non-profit and advises several tech startups. Matt lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.

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Scott B. Price, CPA
Scott is principal at Scott B. Price & Company Certified Public Accountants San Francisco. He manages a staff of twelve professionals in the tax and accounting departments, reviews and prepares tax returns, projections, and gives advice regarding tax matters for non-profit organizations, closely held corporations, partnerships, fiduciaries, and individuals. He does final reviews of audit, review, and compilation engagements for compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, Statements on Auditing Standards, and Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Engagements. Scott is the treasurer of Rainforest Action Network, Inc. and Perinatal Medical Associates, a board member of Cedars of Marin and a member of advisory council at Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco.

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Neil Sims
Neil is a Managing Partner in the San Francisco office of Boyden and leads the firm's Technology Practice Group in the Americas. Neil's career in executive search has historically focused on leading edge technology and innovation. His clients include Fortune 500 multinationals along with early-stage and mid-cap companies. He has worked closely with founders and venture investors on new business concepts as well as provided the leadership necessary to attract senior executives to global opportunities with large, multi-national companies.
Today, along with projects in online search and advertising, mobile devices and applications, big data, cloud computing and security, Neil is building a practice expertise in the emerging Cleantech category. He is leveraging the synergies of a career devoted to the rigors of scientific research and entrepreneurship. 
Neil has a well-established reputation for delivering key thought leadership and targeted skill sets to his clients.

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Dr. Peter Zandan
Global vice chair and worldwide research practice group leader at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, a leading WPP communications firm with 90 offices in 52 countries, Dr. Zandan founded IntelliQuest and served as its chairman and CEO for 15 years. The company provided brand, marketing, and media research to companies such as Apple, IBM, and HP, became the fastest growing market research company worldwide and was publicly-traded on the Nasdaq (IQST). He was the founder and CEO of Zilliant, a leading provider of price-optimization solutions, named one of the top 50 venture-backed companies by The Wall Street Journal. Dr Zandan was selected by Interactive Week as one of the “Unsung Heroes of the Internet,” awarded Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year,” and named to Holmes Report “Top 25 Innovators List” in 2013. He is a member of the Presidents’ Circle of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine in Washington D.C.