Introductory Piece by Selena Morse ~
To kick off the launch of the New Day Storytelling Advocates blog, this month’s theme is self-advocacy! As global issues like navigating exacerbated refugee crises, reducing poverty, implementing climate action plans, and responding to ongoing impacts of COVID continue to transpire across our planet, it can often feel overwhelming to keep up with it all. Here at New Day Storytelling Advocates, we believe that the most important step towards changing the world is firstly, to believe in yourself, and the uniqueness and power found in embracing your own identity. Our values and ideas are fluid and change often but knowing what you’re passionate about and how your hobbies, skills and talents can create an impact, creates the foundation of your journey in youth advocacy.
Advocacy and activism stem from your own sense of conviction and agency to act on an issue that you feel passionate about. Often, our passions are developed as a result of our experiences, observations, empathy, and interests. Once you identify a passion, it is important to channel your passion into productivity. This means being active with your passion, seeking ways to express it, and telling others about it! This approach not only allows you to practice self-advocacy by sharing your passion with the people around you but also provides an opportunity to tell others about a topic they might have not known about before. Furthermore, sharing your passions regarding self-advocacy helps to build a community of people who care about similar global issues and can support one another in their endeavors.
In my life, I have developed a deep passion for shark conservation because of my experiences and observations, scuba diving throughout the world. I started scuba diving at 10 years old, and I’ve felt very strongly about the health of marine ecosystems and habits since, but my journey in advocacy really started when I understood how to channel my passion into productivity. I sought out ways to protect the ocean through scuba diving research initiatives, getting involved with local social enterprises, organizing marine conservation presentations, and sharing my passion with my family and friends. Once I realized how much of an impact I could make, I became inspired to continue sharing my story and my interest with others, watching as they cultivated an interest in my passion and I was able to inspire them as well.
When you’re able to understand and share your own passions, communicating your experiences, observations, empathy, and interests come about more easily. By first sharing your ideas with family and friends, you’ll learn your personal advocacy strengths and how to use or leverage them. Oftentimes, storytelling is one of the most effective ways to engage empathy, understanding, support, and ultimately advocacy for a meaningful cause.
As we explore the theme of self-advocacy, I challenge YOU to join the #NewDayChangemakerChallenge and share a story of a passion that has connected you to a larger global issue.
So, are you ready for your challenge?
There are two ways to get involved:
Share an instagram story/post of something that is helping you to either develop an interest in a global issue or in a cause with the potential to create positive social or environmental impact! Tag us @newdaystorytellers for your story/post to be shared!
Submit your story to firstname.lastname@example.org in any media form with the subject line #NewDayChanegemakerChallenge and include one digital artifact, i.e. a photo, a scanned piece of artwork, a video, a write-up, etc. Please keep videos short.
Inspire and connect with other young advocates from around the world!
Here are some examples but don’t let these limit your creativity and imagination!
Name: Leila (age 9)
Passion: Brightening someone’s day with sidewalk chalk by displaying an artistic message.
Story: In late January, 2020, I created sidewalk messages from Auburn, WA to encourage my friends in Shanghai, China as COVID spread around the world.
Name: Selena (age 18)
Passion: Protecting the ocean
Story: In the spring of my junior year, I worked with professionals in the field of marine biology, scuba diving, and marine conservation to organize and host a marine conservation guest panel presentation night.
Never underestimate the power of a story and your ability to tell it. Remember, you are never too young to speak, write, create, dream and advocate!
University student and changemaker Selena Morse cares deeply about the environment and humanitarian rights. She hopes her narrative journeys will continue to inspire empathy, understanding, and positive social impact throughout our world.