Lila di Florio & Bracie Aston: High School Entrepreneurs and Changemakers
By Harper S.
A few weeks ago I sat down with Lila Di Florio and Bracie Aston, Co-Founders of the Youth for Health Organization. The Youth for Health Organization strives to “build a youth movement that amplifies initiatives addressing pressing healthcare issues threatening communities.
H: First, tell me a little bit about yourselves.
Hi my name is Lila Di Florio and I am a junior at the Spence School in New York City as well as the Co-Founder of the Youth for Health Organization. I have been really interested in science and healthcare all of high school!
I’m Bracie Aston and I am a Co-Founder of the Youth for Health Organization. I currently attend the Spence School in Manhattan, New York. I’m in the graduating class of 2023, and I hope to make a positive impact in our world as I grow and learn. I am extremely passionate about helping those in need, and how businesses can develop more equitable, sustainable, and humanitarian business models. I also love art, fashion, and sports, all of which play a big role in my creativity and work.
H: How did you come up with the idea and 'Mission for Youth and Health'?
LDF: Bracie and I started this social enterprise in response to the Covid crisis we were first faced with in 9th grade. We felt that many of our classmates and peers wanted to help the brave healthcare workers saving thousands of people in our city, but many of us didn’t know how. That is what inspired Youth for Health- we wanted to create a product that many people in our community would want, but that would also benefit the healthcare workers struggling every day. We thought what better than to create hoodies, as everyone is at home and in hoodies always!
The impact of the Coronavirus global pandemic inspired me to help others around me. As New York has been an epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, and because my father, Sherrell J Aston MD, works in the medical profession, the experience of being so exposed to the immediate effects and consequences of the virus is what originally inspired me to take action. As I watched the courageous efforts of those on the front lines fighting the virus, as well as the patients who struggled with symptoms, I was inspired to take action. Funny enough, Lila had the same thoughts.
H: What is the significance behind the name "Youth for Health"?
LDF: We chose the name Youth for Health because we wanted to energize the youth in our community to enact change in the healthcare field by buying our hoodies or reading our website.
BA: The name Youth for Health really means that our goal was to create a movement. We didn’t want it to be solely focused on fundraising but also on awareness about helping those in need access important materials and resources. By wearing a name and creating a brand, you encourage people to do more research and become more aware of the true mission of the charity and what is really going on in the world. I have struggled with aspects of my own personal health and felt that it was important to raise awareness about all aspects of health. I recognize that many people are unable to receive the healthcare they need, and I am eager to be able to provide assistance. I believe that joining together the youth of diverse communities is extremely important so that we may unify and aid one another. The youth of today is the future of tomorrow, and it is important that we work together to create a better world. Health is a central part of everyone’s lives, and I hope that by founding this organization, we can come to the assistance of those in need. I am extremely grateful for everyone who has helped Youth for Health launch, as well as everybody who continues to support our charity.
H: What is the creative process behind the sweatshirts?
Creating the hoodies was definitely a trial and error process! The team came up with a color palette we felt our friends would like the most, then Bracie got to work tinkering with the designs and I sought to find out what store would be the best option to order our hoodies from. We are so happy with how the final results came out!
BA: These sweatshirts were all designed with the intention of marketing directly to teenagers. The graphics were all digitally designed by myself, which certainly took lots of time and effort to create. Lila ensured that the quality of the fabrics and fit of the sweatshirts were perfect and helped to finalize all the designs.
There’s a lot of rock and roll inspiration in the design elements, paired with modern lines and neon flare. We honestly were hoping that these designs would appeal to our target market and be something that would genuinely sell and be worn. We also offered a Custom Tie Dye option to the white sweatshirts which was very on-trend during the Pandemic. Adding the Youth for Health logo was very important to bring more awareness to the brand.
H: What are your hopes for youth for health going forward?
LDF + BA: As the world opens back up into a “post-pandemic” world, there are still many without access to vaccines, masks, and more. We hope to provide funding to help those in need access these materials and to advocate for getting vaccinated which is critical to the safety of everybody.
For more information on Youth for Health or to make a purchase, visit HERE.