Teen Girls Create Award-Winning App In Hopes Of Preventing School Shootings


By Taylor Pittman, Huffington Post



In October 2014, high school freshman Jaylen Fryberg shot five students and then himself in Washington state. To help cope with this tragedy in their community, a group of teenage girls jumped to action.

Chloe Westphal, Marina Stepanov, Stephanie Lopez, Genesis Saucedo and Amanda Arellano, who are all students at Tri-Tech Skills Center in Kennewick, Wash., designed an app to help teens manage stress and deal with depression as a result of the shooting. Called Safe and Sound, the app features a journal for users to express their thoughts and descriptions about different kinds of anxiety and depression and their corresponding symptoms.

In an email to The Huffington Post, one of the students explained that the idea for the app was in reaction to Fryberg’s actions.

The Seattle Times did an article on how he [Fryberg] had been posting his feelings to Twitter for months with no one really listening,” Chloe said. “This sad example of how serious the situation can get really motivated us to create an app that could prevent this kind of thing in the future.”

Safe and Sound went on to win the Verizon Innovative App Challenge, which means its designers will meet with Massachusetts Institute of Technology trainers in a few weeks to build the app.

Though the project started as a submission in a competition, the students have bigger plans for the finished product. Amanda said the team wants Safe and Sound to go beyond the typical apps teens use today.

“Our hope is that Safe and Sound will be more than just a stress management app, but a light in the darkness that is anxiety and depression.”