Lauren Coaxum, a 21-year-old medical student at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, is setting trends in digital citizenship! Natural flare, brains, and the boldness to stand up for others radiates from Coaxum as her efforts to promote positive self-esteem spread across this nation. She prides herself on being a family-oriented woman from Douglassville, PA. So, she has no issue acknowledging her parents’ many sacrifices while supporting her and her three siblings. And through her strong faith, Coaxum is bringing her five-year-old dream of becoming a doctor to life by entering her second year of medical school. Wait, there’s more!
TLC in partnership with Redbook magazine and PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center is honoring those who are making a difference in preventing bullying with its first annual Give a Little TLC award, and Coaxum was one of its first recipients! Coaxum is increasing cyber citizenship awareness in our ever-changing digital age through her nonprofit organization, Think Before You Type, Inc. (TBYT).
What’s even better is that she co-founded it with her sister, Victoria. Talk about sisters in action! Together, they conduct interviews with entertainers and other individuals or groups who support the anti-bullying initiative. They also challenge their followers with monthly dares that advocate using the Internet for good.
BGN: Okay, let’s get into TBYT. In 2012, you and your sister had an idea to create an anti-cyberbullying organization that focused on promoting positive self-esteem. What drove you to do this?
Coaxum: We saw people being cyberbullied on Twitter, and the negative impact it had on them. We knew something had to be done. So, we dove into educating ourselves and developing TBYT.
BGN: As an educator, some of my most unique and brightest students would tell me that they would experience bullying. Have you ever experienced bullying or felt like an outsider? How has your life shaped TBYT?
Coaxum: I have never been bullied, but my interests in learning and nonprofit work have made me feel outside of the norm for much of my life. Personally, TBYT’s self-esteem component is very close to my heart as I’ve struggled with self-esteem issues. It’s always helpful to see that there are others out there whose interests may be different from their peers. BGN and other programs like it are important for youth with unique interests. They are vital to those of us who stand out.
BGN: Now, TBYT is being recognized at the national level. How excited are you about receiving the Give a Little TLC award?
Coaxum: I’m ecstatic about receiving the award! We are in our fifth year of TBYT and it feels amazing to be able to open up our work to a wider audience.
The Coaxum sisters are very passionate about putting an end to cyberbullying and empowering youth. Lauren left us with this tidbit, “Take time for others, life is so much better when there’s love in the world.” BGN would like to extend its sincerest congratulations on this achievement.
Coaxum flew to Los Angeles and received her award on Wednesday, September 27, 2017. Want to know more about the award? Go to Give a Little TLC.
Connect with TBYT
By: Faith Underwood
Faith is an author, educator, self-awareness coach, and doggy mother from Georgia. She is an avid crystal collector, meditator, and sci-fi entertainment lover who enjoys reading feel-good news stories, gardening, and adding new stamps to her passport. When Faith isn’t teaching or working on her novels, TRIGGER and RECOIL, she is busy planning the development of her publishing company. Twitter: @uwoodhavefaith