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Teen Innovators Provides More Students an Opportunity to Sign-up for The Chicago Student Invention Convention

Teen Innovators Provides More Students an Opportunity to Sign-up for The Chicago Student Invention Convention

CHICAGO – February 19, 2020

Teen Innovators, a company for teens by teens dedicated to fostering an innovative mindset in tomorrow’s leaders, announces a new collaboration with The Chicago Student Invention Convention. Teen Innovators will provide a wrap-around program to sponsor students who are not associated with a current sponsor program (such as a registered local school) and want to participate in the May 1st event. This is an example of how two local organizations are coming together to expand an offering to inspire curiosity and creative problem-solving in our youth.   


In the past, more than 45 participating schools have sponsored on average 1,000 students in K-8th grade to present in the Student Invention Convention. Teen Innovators has developed after-school programs to prepare fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students who would like to attend the Convention by offering free virtual workshops during the six weeks leading up to the May 1st event.


Beth Krasczewski, a parent of a 5th grader at a local catholic school, said, “I am thrilled to now have the opportunity for my 11-year-old to participate in the Student Invention Convention and to be sponsored by Teen Innovators.  My son is also excited to have access to one-on-one mentoring to prepare him for this event.”


“Teen Innovators launched in December and is already innovating how we deliver real-world educational opportunities in a virtual world by providing more access to programming that is fluid and flexible around the child’s academic needs and schedule.  Younger teens, older teens, and business leaders are all learning from each other,” says Julie Silverstein, advisor for Teen Innovators and a member of Chicago Innovation’s Women’s Mentoring Co-Op.


Chicago is a town with big ideas and an incredible innovative ecosystem.  Luke Tanen, Executive Director, Chicago Innovation, believes that “In times of crisis, there is usually mass amounts of innovation.” 


When Teen Innovators Founder Christine Hutchison looked for talent to build her company, she turned to Chicago Innovation and its inherent network.  She leveraged the strong relationships she built within the Women’s Mentoring Co-Op Networking community to develop her internal team and outside vendor resources. 


“The Women’s Cohort Mentoring Co-Op is about women supporting and empowering women.  We have our largest cohort to date this spring, which signifies how material our work is,” says Molly Matthias, manager Manager of Mentoring and Inclusion Programs for Chicago Innovation. “We are delighted that Christine Hutchison, one of our Mentors, is leveraging the programs of Chicago Innovation to create profound opportunities for today’s teens.”

Teen Innovators is now enrolling students age 11-16 in the after-school program on its website, TeenInnovators.com. Students interested in participating in the Convention on May 1st can signup online by visiting https://teeninnovators.hubspotpagebuilder.com/chicago-student-invention-convention.  Together with Chicago Innovation, this company will be on the frontline of making change happen, rather than reading about innovation after it has occurred..  



About Teen Innovators: Teen Innovators Teen Innovators is a company for teens by teens fostering an innovative mindset in the leaders of tomorrow. It provides a peer community experience where students practice creative and innovative thinking through flexible mentoring and leadership classes that are led by teens for teens.  Students, ages 11-16, in the after-school program, learn to think strategically, solve big world problems, and lead their peers with confidence.  TI Students and Peer Mentors grow alongside each other and learn life skills that provide a foundation for success as a purpose-driven leader of tomorrow.  The start-up is employing accomplished older teens to mentor younger peers on leadership and life skills and boost a sense of achievement. For more information, visit www.teeninnovators.com.

Three Ways to Stay Motivated During Online Learning

Three Ways to Stay Motivated During Online Learning

When Covid hit about a year ago, none of us could have predicted how long we would have to endure this remote learning experience. At first, it was novel, and for some, it may have even been a blessing to give up a dreaded daily commute, or have the option to wake up later. But the sacrifices, especially the lack of physical connection with others, and Covid learning loss, have taken a toll. As the months drag on, it’s important to recommit to doing your best during the remaining (hopefully few) months, in order to minimize the adverse impacts of remote learning, and make the most of this unprecedented school year.


Here are 3 simple ways to stay motivated during Covid:


1. Invest in a planner & create a weekly schedule

If you do not already have a planner, get one right now! When I tell you this is a game-changer, I am not kidding. Having a planner allows you to dictate and control your schedule. You can add in due dates for your assignments which will help you avoid procrastination. What I recommend you do, is to block out 30 minutes of your Sunday night to go ahead and glance at the upcoming week and see what is due for each class. Once you do that,  write in the days you need to have an assignment completed. For example, if you are looking at your English course and notice that you must complete a required reading by Wednesday, it’s a good idea to schedule that for Monday or Tuesday night (whichever night you are the least busy). Then do this with each class, and depending on the flexibility of your due dates, you can almost certainly create a balanced schedule. That way you will not be forced to do seven assignments in one night. It’s so much more peaceful to plan a schedule that works well for you, and then follow it. It is also satisfying to mark a task as complete in your planner; it gives you a feeling of self-accomplishment.


2. Reward Yourself

In addition to scheduling school-related tasks, take the time to schedule activities within your planner. Each day should include a healthy balance of “work” and “play.” Perhaps when you finish your math homework, you reward yourself with an episode of your favorite show. After you finish watching that episode, you get right back to your other tasks. These activities should be brief, and range from 20-30 minutes. Some common ones are: getting a snack, playing a video game, scrolling through social media, and watching tik toks. Sometimes you know exactly what you need to complete within the day, because you wrote them into your schedule. It would look something like this: 4 PM- Respond to three classmates’ discussion posts. 5-5:15 PM- Break time (but only if you completed the above task!)! 5:15-6 PM- Do math homework… By blocking out times for each individual task, you are slowly developing a mindset that is absolutely critical to success: time management.



3. Reach out for support

Finally, if all else fails and you are succumbing to the external pressures, turn to those you trust. According to a Stanford article titled “Stanford psychologists investigate COVID-19’s mental toll on teenagers:” “The researchers found that teenagers who showed greater connectivity, or interconnectedness, in a set of particular brain regions were less likely to experience pandemic-related depression and anxiety.” Whether it is a family member, a friend, or your roommate, find someone you can vent to. Someone who will encourage you to do your homework and stay active. These can also be the same people you study or do your homework with. We are social animals and thrive on human connections. Be sure to build and maintain those personal connections. Social distancing is the term many people use nowadays, however, I strongly believe it should be physical distancing, rather than social. It’s so much better for your health to stay in touch and communicate with your peers, either through social media outlets, on the phone or Zoom, or even hanging out while wearing masks.


Follow these 3 tips, and you’ll be on your way to getting the most out of your current Covid experience. Hopefully one day very soon, you’ll look back on this time as a blip on your educational journey that taught you to how to adapt and prioritize yourself, overcome challenges, and build the skills necessary to achieving your goals.


Thanks for reading! Let us know what you’re doing to stay motivated during Covid! Send a note to [email protected]


Christine Hutchison, Founder, Teen Innovators. We offer superb 1:1 mentorship and leadership classes, for teens by teens.

Why I Created a Business During COVID around Connection

Why I Created a Business During COVID around Connection

When COVID crept into our lives, life as we knew it was forever changed. We have all been affected by this pandemic as a collective. But we have also had very individual and unique personal experiences of it. Taking the ‘busy’ out of life allowed me to think, to look around, and experience life through the eyes of my teenage son. 

Our family was spending quality time together, however, I realized that during this time of remote learning when teens can’t physically be together, connection and a sense of purpose are more important than ever. They are key to feeling a sense of hope and inspiration for all of us, but especially teens, for whom peer relationships are so important.

That is when I knew I needed to think big and create something that had a lasting impact.

Start with ‘What If?’

Know your Why

Surround Yourself with Big Thinkers

Chicago is a town with big ideas and an incredible innovative ecosystem. Luke Tanen, Executive Director, Chicago Innovation, believes that ”In times of crisis, there is usually mass amounts of innovation.” Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder of Chicago Innovation states in a Chicago Tribune article that the key to beating the coronavirus is innovation.

Ideas Turn Into Innovation

Advice from a Teen on How to Break the Bonds of Technology

Advice from a Teen on How to Break the Bonds of Technology

High School Grad Offers Sage Advice for Breaking the Bonds of Technology

I was admittedly addicted to video-gaming throughout my freshman year of high school, and I know first-hand how challenging it can be to manage this and so many other technology distractions. While realizing the fun and value that can come from taking a break with games and technology, I also know how much of our lives these screens can actually rob from us. Balancing these distractions and prioritizing the things I want to do, like starting my own business, were key to my finding more happiness. When I broke the tech habit, I used my spare
time to take online coding courses, live a more active lifestyle, and start an entrepreneurial venture.


Breaking these habits

Spending too much time playing video games or on social media destroys your productivity and makes you unhappy. Yet, breaking these habits can be a challenging feat. Start by:

  • Completing all of your necessary activities (homework, exercise, cleaning your room, etc.) before you let yourself enjoy technology.
  • Managing the time you spend playing video games and/or social media to a reasonable time each day…say 30 minutes to 1 hour per day. Once I managed my technology time better, I found I was much happier and more productive.
  • Finding alternative, enjoyable ways to spend your free time. I have found motivation by connecting with people with similar interests, mentoring younger peers, and consuming motivational content like Shark Tank during my downtime.
  • Leveraging your vacations and getaways as technology-free. By doing this, I was able to get a jump start on being technology-free, which helped me break my habits more easily. After returning home from technology-free family vacations, I noticed a drastic increase in my productivity and happiness, as my urge to play video games faded.

Avoiding distractions

As Instagram, Netflix, and YouTube compete to win over our attention, these habits can easily repeat themselves. Keeping focused on what is truly important is a constant battle with the short-term satisfaction of these platforms. Here are some strategies that help:

  • Keep unproductive tabs closed on your laptop and turn off notifications on your phone. Draft a to-do list and dedicate yourself to that list.
  • Have planners for different periods, such as daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly, to help with short-term and long-term planning. As I learned from one of my mentors, if it’s not in the calendar, it’s a dead dream.
  • Understand how and when you are productive and adapt accordingly. For example, I have discovered that I am incredibly productive in the evening, and not so much in the morning. Understanding my work habits allows me to plan my day accordingly.
  • Eat healthily and stay active! It is scientifically proven that your brain functions better when you practice a healthy lifestyle.

I hope one or all of these strategies will help you find motivation to develop a more healthy & productive lifestyle. Being productive is something that takes time and effort to master, and like most people, I am still working at this. Staying focused on what is essential is key to becoming a leader, and going to bed knowing that you have given the day your all feels good. 

Danny Parks ’20, is a peer mentor with Teen Innovators , has competed in several business
competitions, and launched a business while in high school.


Why Teens Need Good Communication Skills

Why Teens Need Good Communication Skills

Sweaty palms, stuttering, and shaky legs. Oh no, you are about to deliver a speech in front of all your classmates and you have just fallen victim to a common enemy: the fear of public speaking. Many educational systems try to combat this by mandating teens to take one oral communications class, hopefully sometime early in their high school career. However, what happens to the teens who go to schools that do not offer public speaking classes? Fortunately, Teen Innovators is here to help.

With the mentorship that Teen Innovators offers, teens will be able to confidently pitch their big ideas in the business contest. The mentors validate, give helpful advice, and share their expertise in order to inspire the teens to be their best selves. Many of these mentors have a background in public speaking and what better way to learn how to master speaking than by learning from the masters themselves! To actually think that one day, instead of giving a pitch for a contest, these teens could be giving a real presentation of their own to future investors – that’s pretty exciting! Imagine how more convincing and persuasive they will appear to these investors with these amazing communication skills they acquired at such a young age.

Teen Innovators prepares teens for a lifetime of success. In order to be successful, you have to be able to advocate for yourself. By equipping these teens with speech skills, there will be a decline in the fear of speaking, participation in class will increase, and the students will be more likely to take on extracurriculars incorporating speech. Not to mention that most jobs consist of speaking — that is speaking effectively. By beginning early, teens will be more open to innovation and entrepreneurship.
There have been so many times that I stumbled upon someone who is extremely smart. The only problem is he or she lacks the necessary communication skills to relay that intelligence and knowledge to others. The art of speech is essential and crucial for future success.

No matter what career path you choose, speech will be utilized, so it is necessary that the youth become comfortable with public speaking at an early age. Thankfully, the mentors at Teen Innovators work to enhance the youth’s confidence – which will subsequently strengthen the leaders of tomorrow’s communication skills.

By Nellie G., Sr. Editor of her high school newspaper and class valedictorian.

Times of Crisis Spur Innovation

Times of Crisis Spur Innovation

April is usually the time to recognize the tulips and feel happy when you see the budding trees. COVID-19 has brought a dark cloud and heavy hearts.

Audrey Hepburn said it best, ‘To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.’  Now more than ever, we need to see the beauty in the May flowers.

So let us take time to hear the amazing stories that are popping up.

Start with ‘What If?’

Sometimes it starts with a ‘what if’ conversation.  Take, for example, the story of the couple ideating the problem with the N95 mask shortage.  She is a doctor and he is an engineer.  Together, they discussed the problem over dinner, pooled their collective experience, and figured out how to make a system that decontaminates N95 respirators so they can be used 20 times.

Then there is the Chicago teenager from Walter Peyton High School that founded Connect Chicago days after the Chicago Public School closure.  He connects students to seniors through a phone conversation to help combat loneliness. Koval Distillary saw the demand for hand sanitizer and within one week delivered 100 gallons of free hand sanitizer to Chicago Police and O’Hare air traffic controllers.

Chicago is a town with big ideas and an incredible innovative ecosystem.  Luke Tanen,  Executive Director, Chicago Innovation, believes that ”In times of crisis, there is usually mass amounts of innovation.”  Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder of Chicago Innovation states in a Chicago Tribune article that the key to beating the coronavirus is innovation.

Ideas Turn Into Innovation

It all starts with an idea. Will you be on the frontlines making it happen or reading the headlines after it has occurred?

Join us at Teen Innovators as we inspire young minds to pitch big ideas.