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Ari Sokolov, USA, 17

Project: Trill Project

Basic Human Needs: Health, Safety

As a result of her interest in the impact of social media on young people, specifically as it relates to the LGBTQ+ community, earlier this year Ari sent an anonymous poll to thousands of teens around the world via Tumblr. After receiving the results, she was saddened to find that social media was a place where many LGBTQ+ youth felt isolated and alone. To follow up, Ari and her friends conducted further interviews in their community and found that those feelings were exacerbated due to a lack of a supportive community. As a pro-active response, Ari coded Trill – a safe social network app that fosters tight-knit communities built on support rather than judgement. After releasing a beta version in April 2018, Ari found that Trill users, regardless of sexual identity, felt less alone when using the app. She and her team also developed a moderator system that provides support to users who post language suggesting potential harm to themselves or others. In addition, they have partnered with crisis organizations that offer valuable support resources. Trill was invited to Founders Bootcamp immediately after the beta release, where they placed fifth out of 1,100 teams. Shortly after that, Ari’s team was recognized as a Technovation North America Regional winner, placing in the top 20 out of 4,000 entrants. Trill reaches 30,000+ users in over 41 countries and continues to foster a supportive environment for those experiencing traumatic issues such as abuse, rape and mental illness. Ari’s ultimate goal is to make the internet a safe place where everyone feels that they belong.