Ford Motor Co is an ongoing partner of Los Tweens & Teens. As always, we present our own point of view.
By: Cristy Clavijo-Kish, Publisher & Creator, Los Tweens & Teens
This June I went on a super-fun girls-only 6-day road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles with my teen twin daughters, Sophia & Olivia, plus my best friend, Michelle, and her teen daugher, Gianna.
The hotel concierge mentioned that we needed at least a full minivan or large SUV for the five passengers and all of our gear. We said we wanted a mid-sized car and by sheer chance ended up with a 2015 Ford Fusion.
Did all the bags fit? YES! Five carry-on luggage in the trunk, a small wheelchair, crutches, six backpacks inside including 3 full-size teens and 2 crazy moms! Check out our photo BELOW to prove it!
During the trip, I was thrilled to attend this year’s 2015 Further with Ford Trends Conference in Palo Alto, CA, which was all about Smart Mobility to create efficiencies to get us all to where we need to go in a smarter way. And who was the focus of an entire panel session? Generation Z – our tweens and teens!
From watches armed with technology that helps drivers find open parking spaces to alleviate driving and fuel consumption to the MoDe Flex, a car that comes equipped with a motorized bicycle to help drivers in congested urban areas get out during major traffic times and arrive at their destination via bike- it was all shared with attendees so that collectively we work to reduce environmental impact today and into the future.
The event was held at the brand new Ford facility in Palo Alto that itself is modern and embraces the future today.
At first thought it seems an odd location for a car manufacturer but once we visited Ford’s neighbors in Palo Alto that include SAP, the world’s largest enterprise software company – we quickly realize the innovation Ford is embracing requires them to be in the heart of the tech world.
Aside from ‘tinkering’ with all of the upcoming products and feeling like I need to invent something tomorrow- my favorite discussion was of course about Generation Z. As the parents of Gen Z (Americans born roughly between 1995 – 2012) we have so much to learn from our children! But we have mucho guidance to provide them as well.
As Gen Z grows up in a highly diverse (culturally) and tech-focused learning environment the products and services created for them will have to touch on key points to attract them.
Ford research indicates that young Americans rank car rides second only to book lending as things they are most open to sharing pointing to ‘money savings’ as a key advantage for doing so.
But more importantly over 33% of Millennials (many Gen Z parents) and younger surveyed indicated that having access to more options is the driver for sharing resources.
And Ford, is paying attention to these trends by launching Peer-2-Peer Car Sharing– a pilot program for select customers in six U.S. cities and in London.
Among the many experts on hand and speakers, truly one of my favorites was Alexis Ohanian best known for co-founding the very popular social news website Reddit.
I asked him as parents how do we guide our kids to be the next social entrepreneurs while guarding them from all the malice online as well, and he said ‘let them explore and make mistakes.’
As a non-parent I loved his simple suggestion that as parents we worry about our kids’ failure. But Alexis said we should know that his best ideas followed his biggest failures and that’s so important to allow.
All in all I was motivated by so many stories to share. Of course we talked about the latest and future line-up of Ford vehicles that already have trends implemented into functions to make driving easier and more efficient. So the best part of trip actually came at the very end when we drove a Ford Fusion to Los Angeles. Ford already put into play an efficient family car with lots of storage and comfort- and it delivered.
As a mother of twin tweens in 2011 and an active Girl Scout Troop leader, Cristy realized there was a need to develop bilingual digital content and foster a community facing the challenges of raising kids after first grade. That year she founded and remains co-Publisher of Los Tweens & Teens, to support multicultural parents and mentors with content related to raising Gen Z- tweens & teens ages 7-18. Through the Los Tweens & Teens LIVE events such as Teens & Me – the growing team aims to provide our community with essential resources from chats with therapists to battle anxiety and bullying, to understanding social media and technology.
A New Jersey native of Cuban decent, Cristy is a board member of Amigos For Kids – a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse in the South Florida community. She is a teenage cancer survivor and speaks nationally at conferences and volunteers with cancer-awareness organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of South Florida.