The Hershey Company is applying its founder’s 125-year-old commitment to “doing well and doing good” to the modern phenomenon of teenage isolation by hosting a one-day summit dedicated to alleviating the problem.
Hershey will invite teens from across the US to come together in New York City to develop strategies for overcoming social isolation in their communities on 20 June.
The brand has brought the charity We on-board to facilitate sessions, which will ask students to identify ways they can increase empathy and connection in themselves and their schools. The teens will also be asked to create personal action plans to tackle social isolation ready for the new school year.
Non-profits Beyond Differences, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Making Caring Common have also signed up as summit collaborators, while prospective attendees have been invited to co-create the graphic identity of the summit via an Instagram competition. One winning teen’s design will be produced as conference materials, and the young designer will be invited to the event.
The Makers of Good Teen Summit forms part of Hershey’s Heartwarming Project – a purpose-driven initiative that looks to help teens, parents and teachers create more inclusive and empathetic communities. Launching in fall 2018, the project is still relatively new for the 125-year-old chocolatier, although the subjects it hopes to tackle are not.
The brand believes it has the right to take on such a weighty social cause, given its history in “making meaningful connections between people”, said Leigh Horner, The Hershey Company’s vice-president for corporate communications and sustainability.
“The Makers of Good Teen Summit is an example of how we are honoring Milton Hershey’s legacy of ‘doing well and doing good’,” she said. “There are pressing issues facing teens today, and we believe we can help make a positive difference with Gen Z in tackling social isolation and loneliness in a uniquely Hershey way.
"The summit is one of many upcoming ways we’ll be making meaningful connections with this audience."
Post-event, the brand plans to follow up with attendees on their action plans and offer grants to help them bring their social inclusion strategies to life in their hometowns.
The brand would not comment on how much money it plans to distribute as part of the investment.