Amelia Wissink lives the typical busy teen life - school, activities and socializing. She also manages multiple food allergies including peanuts and several outside of the top 8 including sesame and avocado. At 16 years old, she represents the legion of children entering teenagehood, navigating life and acquiring skills needed to self-advocate (in general) and particularly with food allergies.
She's hopeful, driven and committed to opening her world as wide as possible and she will lead Spokin's National Teen Ambassador Program. Dream big, Amelia.
Best advice for food allergic teens?
I surround myself with good, positive people. My best friend Emma is so helpful, she’s always texting me before we meet up to make sure I have my auto-injectors with me. Not everyone has an Emma but they should.
What are your squad goals?
Community is so important, particularly for teens navigating through high school. I want to create that sense of community for all teens with food allergies.
What are the goals of the Spokin Teen Ambassador Program and why do you want to lead it?
While we all have amazingly supportive parents, this isn't our parent's allergy. This is ours to manage, every day for the rest of our lives. We need to build this together. My dream is to recruit every food allergic high schooler - if there is even one at every school, that's 40,000 teens. You can start a movement with that amount of people which is really empowering.
Let's talk sesame...
It's my hardest allergy! It can be a seed or an oil and seems to be in so many food trends lately like poke bowls. I recently ate at local spot in my hometown of Chicago and even though I had asked, the server didn’t realize sesame oil was in the croutons in my salad and I had a reaction. I love the Spokin app feature that lets you share a hidden allergen which means that the next person who considers eating there can find that warning on the app especially if it isn’t called out on the menu.
You've shared over 200 reviews on the Spokin app, why?
Our whole lives are on our phones, we expect to manage our food allergies that way too. I share because I want to be part of building this resource. I'm a foodie and love to try new, hip places but I also need to make sure they are safe for me. To have a resource to check the places I want to go would be life-changing. I've also interned at Spokin for two summers and enjoy the healthy competition with the other interns!
What do you like most about Spokin's mission?
I trust people with food allergies, I just don't know them all! I love that everyone on the app has food allergies in common – there is such a large food allergy community out there, and Spokin connects us all. It's so powerful.
You recently traveled out of the country solo - how do you say impressive in French?
I've traveled internationally before, but this was the first time without my parents. I spent 3 weeks in France on a study program. I was the only one with food allergies.
How did you prepare to travel on your own?
I did a lot of research to see what foods are common in French cuisines, and thankfully none of my allergens are big there. As part of my tour group, all of the restaurants were pre-selected so I looked for something that was likely to be offered at most places and very likely to be safe for me so I’d always have a go-to - mine was vegetable quiche. My mom also packed four Auvi-Qs for me.
Best tips for during the trip?
I put a post-it on my hotel door that reminded me to bring the essentials every day - my phone, Auvi-Q and room key. I also shared 18 reviews across Paris on the app!
Favorite food finds on Spokin?
Hometown favorite place to eat?
Crosby's Kitchen for sure!
Hometown favorite place for a treat?
Favorite international place to eat?
Boulangerie Jean Noel Julien which was right across from my Paris hotel and so yummy!
Best New Spokin app feature?
Hands down, the Auto-Injector Manager. When I used it for the first time this summer, I realized I had gone my entire sophomore year carrying around an expired Auvi-Q! Like all teens, I'm just so busy, especially this year as I start looking at colleges, it's nice that Spokin does the work to remind me.
Tap the blue heart in your profile to access the Auto-Injector Manager!
You've given so much, what do you need help with?
I really want to go to Hawaii but it feels out of reach right now since I'm allergic to sesame, avocado, and pineapple. If anyone has my allergies and has been to Hawaii, please share your recommendations on the Spokin app! I know someone out there shares my allergies and has been to Hawaii, I just need that person to share on the Spokin App so I can make that dream come true!