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TeenCentral is a website powered by KidsPeace as a free and safe prevention and intervention resource for youth.  Designed by founders Dr. Julius Licata and Ginger Papp as an innovative use of the then-new World Wide Web technology, TeenCentral was unveiled at a Capitol Hill news conference in 1998.  In 2016 Dr. Licata retired, and Thespina Godshalk was named the new Director of TeenCentral.

For nearly twenty years KidsPeace has provided the TeenCentral service free of charge to teens seeking answers and support to meet the challenges they face.

TeenCentral supports youth in a capacity that is unique from the traditional array of behavioral health services. In fact, TeenCentral often bridges the gap between services, offering youth an immediate resource for safe information and support. Through TeenCentral, adolescents can create an anonymous account and find information on a variety of topics. Users of the site can also submit a story/post regarding any crisis, problem or situation they are struggling with and receive a therapeutic support response.  Adolescents receive this support from one of TeenCentral’s trained online counselors within 24-hours, safely, anonymously, and free of charge. TeenCentral online counselors are a group of trained interns and volunteers, overseen by two site administrators (master’s level mental health professionals), and the Director, a Licensed Professional Counselor. Users of TeenCentral can also provide peer support to each other by responding to stories that have been previously posted by other users.

Since the retirement of Dr. Licata as director in the Fall of 2016, we’ve embarked on an effort to revitalize the site and the service.

The new TeenCentral offers significant advancement over its predecessor in four main areas.

A contemporary look

The first change was a reimagining of the visual TeenCentral concept.  We’ve adopted a modern and streamlined website format, providing the user the ability to access content with ease. We updated the branding on the site, and consulted with several groups of adolescents for feedback on a new logo – the final version of which was determined by a social media contest. The new logo is representative of the new look and feel displayed throughout the new TeenCentral website.

A multifaceted and supportive response

The TeenCentral story submission and response process has always been the foundation of the service, and this process will remain at the center of what TeenCentral provides. , However, the response process has been streamlined and online counselors (now known as Team TeenCentral) will be trained on the issues that impact today’s youth, allowing them to provide a more comprehensive support response.

Clinically driven content

Youth access the internet in search of information to help them understand their problems, and TeenCentral will offer them a safe and clinically focused place to land. Through TeenCentral, users will be able to access a newly modified library of relevant content, on topics such as substance use, relationships and being LGBT, body image, anxiety, self-injury and depression among others.

TeenCentral ToolBox

A new feature for TeenCentral, the toolbox will offer users a variety of tools based upon specific issues they may be facing. These printable tools are intended to empower youth and give them concrete interventions to cope with their struggles.

These changes to the TeenCentral website are a continuation of the innovation that has fueled the concept since it was first presented to Congress in 1998. Please take a moment to explore the new TeenCentral site, and use the ”Contact Us” tab to let us know what you think of the changes.   And please be assured that although TeenCentral has been updated to be more relevant our mission remains the same – to continue to provide hope, help and healing to all of today’s youth.

Website Link: www.teencentral.com

Thespina Godshalk

Thespina Godshalk

Thespina Godshalk is the Director of TeenCentral and ParentCentral for KidsPeace. A Licensed Professional Counselor, she holds a bachelor’s degree in experimental psychology from Moravian College and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Chestnut Hill College. Prior to her current position, she worked for 15 years as a therapist, clinician and staff trainer at KidsPeace and several other organizations.