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Alex Aide: Making Kindness Cool, and Supporting Young People’s Mental Health

Alex Aide: Making Kindness Cool, and Supporting Young People’s Mental Health

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Hi friends, it’s Spiffy here on Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs making the world a more equitable place! I have one more interview for you this week. Today I’m excited to cruise around with Alex Aide from the Born This Way Foundation. Alex is the Director of Programs and Impact working towards SDG 3: Good Health & Well-Being. Are you ready to be inspired?

Spiffy: Great to have you with us, Alex! Let’s dive in. What challenge are you addressing through your work at the Born This Way Foundation?

Alex: Hi Spiffy! I'm excited to be here today. Born This Way Foundation, co-founded and led by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, supports the mental health of young people and works with them to build a kinder and braver world. Through high-impact programming, youth-led conversations, and strategic, cross-sectoral partnerships, the Foundation aims to make kindness cool, validate the emotions of young people, and eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health.

Spiffy: Making kindness cool. I love it! What motivates you to do this work, Alex?

Alex: Well, Spiffy, young people deserve free and easily accessible tools, resources, and educational materials to support their mental health.  Not only do they deserve them, but from our research and meeting directly with young people from around the world over the years, I know that they're enthusiastic to have access to these readily available programs to support themselves and each other. I'm driven every day to build, expand, and share with the world our programs to meet these urgent needs.

Spiffy: What would you say is the impact of your work?

Alex: Our work supports young people everywhere. Our Youth Advisory Board comprises 30 young people from every continent (except Antarctica - brrr!). Our Be There Certificate program invites young people to learn how to support themselves and each other when it comes to their mental health. It's totally free and available in English, French, and Spanish—and hopefully in more languages in the future! Channel Kindness is our storytelling program that welcomes young people to share their stories of kindness, resilience, and community, and to pledge to take action and inspire others to do the same. And #BeKind21 invites everyone to pledge to an act of kindness every day for 21 days to form a habit of kindness to last a lifetime!

Spiffy: Such awesome initiatives! Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience before we sign off?

Alex: We need you in this world, and we welcome each of you to join us in helping to make it a kinder and braver place. Learn more at BornThisWay.Foundation!

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Alex—it’s been an honor!

Before Alex Aide graduated from law school, he had already earned the reputation as a bold leader and visionary dedicated to social impact and positive change. Over the past decade, he has continued in this path, bringing breakthrough ideas to the forefront, building and mentoring highly collaborative teams, and operationalizing his drive for action. He proudly serves as the Director of Programs and Impact at Born This Way Foundation. (Nominated by Alexander Roque from the Ali Forney Center. First published on the Ladderworks website on January 20, 2023.)

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Anushree Nande. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.