October 17, 2018

Actress and youth advocate Monique Coleman is helping young people find their voice

Allstate Foundation's Good Starts Young Ambassador says there's room for everyone to make an impact

Monique Coleman spoke at the recent WE Day event at New York City’s Barclays Center. Photo courtesy of The Allstate Foundation

Every new generation produces its crop of young people who want to change the world. They’re in every city and town—in fact, they’re usually one of the most underutilized resources in our communities! But what makes this current generation so special is the unique access they have to organize, mobilize, and execute their vision, says actress, global youth advocate, and Allstate Foundation’s Good Starts Young Ambassador Monique Coleman.

But even with these new tools—technology and social media to name a few—young people still need a champion. That’s where the 37-year-old actress, best known for her character Taylor McKessie in Disney’s High School Musical films, lends her voice to help support young people in finding their own.

“It really starts from my own personal experience as a young person and feeling like there was so much that I wanted to do in the world and I didn’t know how,” she told us at a recent WE Day event at New York City’s Barclays Center. She said as a young person, she felt that adults had a tendency to talk down to her and her peers. Now as an adult, she’s dedicated her life to making sure that young people don’t feel that way.

As Allstate Foundation’s Good Starts Young Ambassador, she inspires youth to use their natural abilities to create a better world for themselves and their community. Who better than young people to lead the way?

“They have unlimited thinking,” she said. “There’s an infinite amount of compassion and empathy that they naturally possess, and curiosity. … They wonder and that to me is the most beautiful thing about young people, that sense of wonder.”

For her latest project with The Allstate Foundation, Coleman encourages young people to see themselves as the change-agents who will be tomorrow’s leaders. The exciting new campaign launched today on The National Mall in Washington, D.C.

There's a place for everybody when it comes to making an impact. — Monique Coleman

Coleman is also hard at work on a new series she produces and stars in for Discovery Life. GimmeMo, which premiered earlier this month, is a weekly docuseries that explores some of the social and emotional issues important to today’s young people. Some of the topics include learning how to combat bullying and the importance of physical and emotional well-being. In an upcoming episode, the TV star even opens up about her own struggles with self-esteem and treats a group of foster girls to a day of self-care.

The overarching message that comes from Coleman’s work for young people and in her professional life is to be your true self. “Who you are is enough. You don’t have to be the most outspoken,” she said, acknowledging that she herself is prone to shyness. “What you have to offer is exactly right. There’s a place for everybody when it comes to making an impact.”

Margaret Myers

Margaret Myers is the editor of The Renewal Project.