by Dagne Furth ~
We are committed to offering youth a different kind of storytelling opportunity that packs service, community, and heart into every story and every story behind the story.
A New Day has dawned indeed and it’s high time to capture stories that spread the light.
I rarely watch the news. Mainly, because it leaves me feeling fatigued, frustrated, despondent, and helpless.
Few broadcasts today seek to encourage, uplift, redeem, heal, or celebrate messages of hope, love, and solidarity in our world. I have often thought about the psychological and social ripple effect that might ensue if our collective media became less gratuitous, less polarizing, less abrasive, less angry.
What would that even look like?
How might that shift in perspective subtly change our own?
Can you imagine?
Don’t get me wrong. There is a time to scream, a time to stand, a time to say NO MORE, THAT’S ENOUGH. And in those moments, when we don’t respond in community, as a community, we fail our brothers and sisters. When we offer heaping helpings of apathy and silence in lieu of authentic support, we fail everyone, especially ourselves.
“We must remember that no action is too small. Just because we can’t do everything, doesn’t mean we can’t do something.”
As Jordan and I write in “Turning Compassion into Action” in the back of Dear Tariq, “We must remember that no action is too small. Just because we can’t do everything, doesn’t mean we can’t do something.” And “something” in this regard means offering our gifts, talents, and energy not only in service to our local and global community but also to our planet. Serving and being an active community member involves degrees of sacrifice, discomfort, vulnerability, transparency, commitment, intention, inconvenience, discipline, risk-taking, creativity, hospitality, grace, and love! Anyone can start a journey of advocacy and service by taking a small step.
The humanitarian crisis unfolding right now in Turkey and Syria is one such poignant example of an opportunity where each of us can do something and New Day in tandem with Help4Refugees is actively garnering support via this GoFundMe Campaign.
Thus, when I think about New Day Storytelling Advocates and its potential to promote so many different positive storytelling advocacy endeavors, I see an inspiring accumulative impact on the horizon. As more young creators come aboard to capture important and inspiring stories in tandem with community partners, we will undoubtedly promote a positive and generative mindset through storytelling. In choosing to invest in and celebrate stories of togetherness and our rally spirit, we can write about the necessary, we can write about the hard, and we can do it with integrity, grace, and social responsibility.
In tandem with celebrating stories of togetherness, this late January, we launched our New Day storytelling website and our first physical and live book launch of Dear Tariq, a collaborative advocacy effort on behalf of an international team of young people at Green River College.
Both of these efforts were indicative of many community members’ support and solidarity. Alaina Tobin of Creative Day Design, Caitlyn P. Jones of Artist Madrid Books, Jordan Hattar of Help4Refugees.org, LeeAnne Lavender and Selena Morse, are just a handful of these wonderful trailblazers who helped ensure the successful debut of these storytelling firsts.
Additionally, we were indebted to those that supported us online from Canada, China, Qatar, Jordan, and the United States as well as to our guests on the ground, including team members and new friends from Washington’s IRC office, SCM Medical Missions, Tanoor Restaurant, Green River College, Boeing, and Auburn Riverside High School.
THANK YOU for supporting our endeavors in giving young people inspiring and meaningful work.
In closing, if I had a dollar for every time someone has said in this last year that New Day is too idealistic, too naïve, too ambitious, too confusing, that Dear Tariq is too long, it will never sell, people aren’t going to read it, people don’t want to read a book about refugees, schools are never going to buy it … (all true by the way) well, we would be well toward our fundraising goal. Ha!
I think it is no small thing that I am person of faith, a middle and high school teacher, and a mom of three with a rescue dog in tow, who was forced to check her ego and pride at the door, decades ago. I am not in this thing to be served but to serve and find ways to help those that truly benefit from this invigorating work. My mission is to equip young people with the skills and tools they need to begin their own advocacy journeys and see doors open. So, while I appreciate constructive criticism like any good educator, I am going to keep pressing on towards that which I have been called to do with humor, grit, and faith.
Thank you for believing in our work and for partnering with us. We cannot do this work without your generous prayers and support.
As a passionate international English and social science educator, mother, forensics-speaking coach, and defender of student advocacy, I strive to embody and model the qualities of an empathetic, humble yet resilient global citizen. My fervent goals, inspired by years of teaching, writing, mentoring, tutoring, and coaching, are to empower youth and curate an inclusive and collaborative publishing platform for young people around the world.