Let me tell you about The Better Story Project.
Years from now, if someone asks, this is what I’ll say: it started on a Monday night in a Starbucks at the Fort.
To be honest, it started way before that. It started with a nagging idea at the back of my head, a beautiful book by Donald Miller, a blog entry and an espresso shot of courage to actually go ahead and do it.
But its official beginning, its manifestation from idea to reality, did indeed begin on a rainy night at the round table of a coffee shop with some very interesting semi-strangers.
I love the youth. I’ve written about them, talked about them and have currently made a career out of teaching them. I love how much promise their generation holds, how much potential they have to reverse all our terrible traditions and how much hope they bring to the table by simply being alive at this time in history. What I hate, on the other hand, is that they don’t know how much is riding on them.
They need to know that someone believes in them. That someone sees their capacity to do good. They need people to encourage them to be more, do more, create more and act as a catalyst for positive change. While I humbly understand that, in the real scheme of things, I am nobody important, here is my hypothesis: what if I tried? What if I made an attempt to be the person who would invite them into something better? What would happen then?
And so my social experiment began.
The Better Story Project is a mentorship program for teenage girls. Modeled after Donald Miller’s A Million Miles In A Thousand Years, it focuses on the concept of story. After all, your life is a story and your story matters. Here’s the problem, to quote Edna St. Vincent Millay: “Life isn’t just one damn thing after another…it’s the same damn thing over and over and over again.”
When we lose sight of the fact that it is within our power to flip the script, we end up settling for smaller stories. And when that happens, everyone loses. The world misses out on the possibility of something better.
It isn’t our goal to tell you who to be. We believe that finding your identity is a valuable part of your own personal journey. Nobody gets to dictate it for you. Our hope is to take you back to who you always will be: somebody significant.
Last Saturday, October 27, we held our very first workshop in Slice, Bonifacio High Street Extension.
It took us close to a month to put everything together but here’s what made it seem effortless: though we are 5 very different twenty-somethings with individual jobs of our own, we were all willing to share an adventure and move towards a single vision.
It is such an investment to live for something like this but I’d like to hang tight to my idealism and say, for the record, that our cause makes any sort of stress worth it.
If it seems like humble beginnings, that’s because it is. Since we wanted our very first event to be casual, intimate and personal, we only invited 8 participants. We were so honored to have such fun, dynamic, smart girls at our project launch.
I won’t go into detail about all the activities we did (what fun would it be if I spoiled it?) but I will say that most of the day’s agenda revolved around recognizing something simple: that when it comes to the story of your life, you are the hero.
I will also go out on a limb and say that I believe the girls had fun. But it wasn’t just them – we learned so much from their stories also. It is a shared hope that we will continue building a sense of community for young ladies for many years to come. As far as first tries go, I am humbly convinced that we’ve got something to be proud of.
We’ve stumbled onto a long winding path and I have absolutely no idea where we’ll end up. At the very least, this is what I hope: I hope that we got these girls to consider just how much they’re worth. I hope we got them to see that there are people who are rooting for them. I hope they got even just a glimpse of how loved they are. Lastly: I hope we inspired them enough to create better stories for themselves.
If we made even just one of these things happen then I’d like to think we would have already succeeded at making our vision real.
We are currently in the middle of planning our second workshop (slated for December). The next one, I’m sure, will be even better. If you are interested (either as a participant, sponsor, volunteer, etc.), please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. We are still in the process of working on our Facebook page + website but we’re slowly getting there.
In the meantime, if you’d like to know a little more about us, you can shoot us a message or watch this short video (created by Janelle, one of our awesome facilitators):
(In case the video does not appear, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PqmWGmIYr90)
When I jumped into all this, I had a question: “What would happen then?” And while it’s probably still being written, here’s what I think the answer is so far:
just about anything.