Anne Marie Project aims to help teens with challenges

What began as a concept three years ago has turned into much more for Julie Gramlich.

Gramlich is the creator of the Anne Marie Project, an online ministry and coalition for young people who seek information and guidance on challenges they face in everyday life.

“It’s really a platform to serve as a resource,” Gramlich said.

The website, learntalklive.com, launched in January and is a redesign of a website Gramlich launched about three years ago, iwan2tlk.com.

Angela Woronick and Ken Hussey volunteer their time and resources to help with the Anne Marie Project. While they both help with issues that arise, Woronick serves as the project’s digital manager, managing social media.

“We do what we can to put our talents to use,” said Hussey, also community relations director at the Jefferson City Area YMCA.

Gramlich is a youth minister for the Cathedral of St. Joseph, ministering junior high and high school students. The idea for the Anne Marie Project came to her on the job.

There was a girl who was a junior in high school and she started befriending other kids who were in “trouble” and not on the right path. By becoming friends with the “troubled” teens, the girl became one of them.

“She was just too young to help,” Gramlich said.

So, Gramlich thought of the Anne Marie Project, and gave it a fictitious name in honor of the girl.

“I figured why not meet them (young people) online where they’re at and help them realize they’re not alone,” Gramlich said.

She said the Anne Marie Project not only offers resources for young people, but also hosts a blog with posts by various young people and how they deal with their problems.

“It’s really about how to live a healthier life,” Gramlich said. “Sometimes writing about it is the best way of healing.”

Hussey said the project humanizes youth and shares their stories.

The Anne Marie Project is a registered coalition through the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division and is in the process of becoming a not-for-profit. The project is currently funded by ACT Missouri and what Gramlich refers to as “two guardian angels.” Gramlich is currently applying for grants to fund the project’s future.

“My plan is to eventually do live chats with the website,” Gramlich said. “I also want to take it to small colleges, build communities and get college kids involved.”

She said most ministries work through kids.

“I love kids and I want to see them be happy, productive people,” Gramlich said. “This is great because kids go to each other before they go to an adult.”

Visit learntalklive.com to learn more about the Anne Marie Project or to see available resources, or visit www.facebook.com/LearnTalkLive.

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