She played Taylor McKessie in Disney’s High School Musical films and has acted in a handful of other movies. What many don’t realize about Monique Coleman, however, is her heart for philanthropy and the time she invests in it when she isn’t behind the big screen.
Read on to see what Monique had to say to us about her commitment to the youth.
DC Life Magazine: Does empowering the youth resonate with you in any special way?
Monique Coleman: It resonates with me in every way! I’ve always been passionate about young people and after High School Musical, I really had this moment when I realized I wanted to use my platform for more than my own career. I made a commitment to support the young people that really helped to propel me into success by helping to empower them, so they can reach their potential as well.
DC: What would you say are some of the challenges facing youth today?
MC: So many! Just look at the challenges facing our planet for the young people. Comparison is a huge issue many of us deal with. It’s a great tool for change but has spread a lot of judgement and impostor syndrome, so young people start feeling as though they cannot do certain things when it comes to social and emotional learning. I believe it is just so important to develop the emotional skills to manage what you want to help overcome these challenges.
DC: Why do you say social media can lead to an identity crisis?
MC: It has kept It a test to know what we think individually anymore! When we are bombarded by so many others’ opinions and perspectives, we find that social media can impact the thoughts of a young person to not know their own voice. However, if used for good, it can propel your own voice. It’s not the tool that’s damaging. We need to teach these young people how to use social media for their better emotional and lifetime good.
DC: Does your philanthropic heart have roots in your upbringing?
MC: Yes. I went to a school where I had to acquire 40 hours of community service per year to graduate. Plus, my mom still volunteers in the community and Instilled this in me at a young age. I’ve come back to my roots (of service) to give back, and with my High School Musical platform, I realized I could give back in a way to the community I care so much about which is the empowerment of young people.
DC: What do you work toward in your free time?
MC: I’m an inspiration junkie. I love connecting with people. I love the show “Glow”. I have chosen a life and career path that is so integrated into what I love and desire, so with my not-so-good work/life balance, I’ve come to realize that they end up being interchangeable because most of the things I do are driven by my passion.