I’m going to tell you a story. I’ve told it before. And it’s not life changing to anyone else but me. But it is important. It is how I developed compassion and humility. It is how I became me.

The Moment That Made The Millennial | Part 1

I’m going to tell you a story. I’ve told it before. And it’s not life changing to anyone else but me. It’s how I became the me that I call myself today. The one I refer to that will do anything for something she believes in. The one that timidly shares her problems of anxiety with a group of friends she first met over the internet. The one that’s always churning in the background, regardless of what me is showing at the front. It’s the me that makes my eyes tear up to think about.

 

Fall of 2011 I moved into a dorm on the beautiful campus of Virginia Tech. I had gotten credit already for most required core classes, but I still needed something for Area 7: Critical Issues in Global Context. I signed up for a class called World Regions. Now, history and social studies have never been my strong point. How am I supposed to remember the leader of every major country in the world if I can’t even remember what I ate for dinner last night, and I forget the word “strainer” when trying to tell my mom what I need from the cupboard?

 

True story, I actually forgot that word tonight just a couple hours before I wrote this.

 

But I signed up for the course because I heard it was easy, had 3,000 students in it, and the professor was a baffling mix of humor and offensiveness that drove around in plaid Scion xB. This is the girl I was. Normal. I had my own problems and quirks like anyone else. I was introverted, quiet, a little nerdy, and took art classes outside of school. Even on the weekends. But I had a normal middle and high school experience.

 

Life changed me towards the beginning of the end of my first semester in college. It was a movie. (If that’s not of sign of the millennial age, I don’t know what is). Professor Boyer of that very World Regions class convinced me (and probably at least 1,000 more of us) with extra points to come see a screening of a movie. He did this thing where he showed screenings of movies about other cultures and countries for extra points in the class if we attended, probably in an efforts to try and “globalize us” or something. Funny I’d be looking back at that four years later, teary-eyed and eternally grateful that he ruined my life in the best way possible. And to think I almost didn’t go.

 

IC Screening with Jason Russell | "The Moment That Made Me | Part 1" | by South Ranch Creative | www.southranchcreative.beccagrogan.com

 

The film shown that night was called “Tony,” and it was shown by a group of weird looking things… err I mean, people… called “roadies” that drove all the way from California (one from Uganda) for a nonprofit called Invisible Children. Invisible Children is a millennial generation nonprofit that exists to stop a rebel group in central Africa called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and their leader, Joseph Kony, from committing terrible atrocities and human rights abuses, which they have been doing now for over 20 years.

 

Please watch. If you’ve seen it before, watch. If you’ve never even heard of Invisible Children or Joseph Kony before, please. Watch. I can’t promise it won’t ruin you. And I can’t promise you’ll care. But I did and I did with such a fury and a passion that I can’t not use every opportunity I have to try and convince others to do the same.

 

TONY from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.

 

After the movie, there was a presentation about what Invisible Children was and a discussion with a young Ugandan who had been directly affected by the conflict. I can’t say I remember the words they said. I can’t remember the ones that struck my heart with such force, I was shaken and lost of strength. But I remember standing back up. It’s funny, actually. That I just kept standing up. Tears in my eyes, gripping the seat in front of me for balance, I just kept standing up in the middle of the room, while the roadies were still presenting. Good thing I was in the back, because I’m sure people were staring at me. The film, the talk, the staggering realization that this was going on in today’s world, that people weren’t stopping them, that people my age and younger were facing the worst human rights abuses imaginable was just more than my mind could bear. It’s like my body knew that I needed to do something that instance to help the cause, but my mind, in its utter astonishment, just hadn’t caught up yet.

 

Once the presentation ended, and I figured out how to move my legs again, I started to act. I immediately joined the Frontline, a campaign to raise $2 million in four months for Invisible Children’s Protection Plan. I organized a team in my dorm to raise even though there were only a couple of weeks of the tour left. I was a leader for the first time in my life, it was terrifying and humbling and exhausting. But I did because I wanted to, I needed to. Me, the definition of “that quiet art kid”, wanted to be a leader so that I could share a story that was bigger and more important than myself.  That sort of feeling only comes around a few times in a lifetime.

 

Young millennial repping the new IC@VT shirt | "The Moment That Made Me | Part 1" | by South Ranch Creative | www.southranchcreative.beccagrogan.com

 

This was only the beginning. It was a seed and a spark. A moment. I happened to be there and it changed me forever. But this was only the beginning.

 

Stay tuned for The Moment That Made Me: Part 2 to see how this spark brought me to life. In the meantime, I’ll be back there reliving all my best and hardest and most inspiring memories since then and trying to pretend I’m not crying at something ridiculous.

 

Keep taking action and stay true to yourself.

-B

Voice A Story is a different kind of magazine, with the goal of teaching, inspiring, and motivating people of all ages through stories of dedicated nonprofits, relevant current news and happenings, and passionate art, photography, and writing projects by young professionals and enthusiasts. It is not your typical news magazine.

What it Means to Voice A Story

This is the first of a series of posts on a magazine called Voice A Story that you will find under the “Act” category of South Ranch Creative’s blog. Act stands for activism. It stands for caring about more than just your own needs and desires. It stands for taking action on things you are passionate about, and not backing down when you face resistance.
Voice A Story magazine logo

Voice A Story magazine was developed by a good friend and fellow activist of mine, Ryan William Flynn. Voice A Story is a different kind of magazine, with the goal of teaching, inspiring, and motivating people of all ages through stories of dedicated nonprofits, relevant current news and happenings, and passionate art, photography, and writing projects by young professionals and enthusiasts. It is not your typical news magazine.

 

In today’s age, we have an issue in what is and is not news, what is considered journalism, what is considered “worth printing”. We have media with extreme bias, thrown easily by political ideology, prejudice to the usual “if it bleeds, it leads”, with a focus on what is easy to explain. This is what Voice A Story Magazine is not. -Ryan Flynn

 

I had the distinct honor of being invited to be Voice A Story magazine’s head Graphic Designer and Web Manager back in August 2015 when the magazine was just in infancy. Without hesitation I said yes. I had just graduated college in May, didn’t have a full time job, and accepted a position at an infant online magazine that didn’t have the means yet to pay any staff members. So why?

 

Sometimes supporting the thing that is right, the thing that means something, the thing that is bigger than you alone is the most important thing you can do, and the rest can wait. I believe that we all have an important story to tell, and this magazine has the potential to serve as the light to all of those voices. The voices that would otherwise go unheard.

 

Since August, I have watched us build a passionate and loving team of eight superstars that run every aspect of the magazine, create a brand, website, and various social media accounts, publish the first two issues of the magazine and cover operating costs in the process, and donate $1 of every sale made to a chosen charity for each issue. My heart is full of pride for what we have done, however small or large you may perceive those accomplishments.

 

Voice A Story is a different kind of magazine, with the goal of teaching, inspiring, and motivating people of all ages through stories of dedicated nonprofits, relevant current news and happenings, and passionate art, photography, and writing projects by young professionals and enthusiasts. It is not your typical news magazine.

 

Issue 02 was released today, and featured charity is an amazing organization called H2O for Life, which engages young people to become active global citizens by getting involved in service-learning opportunities relating to the global water crisis. If you’ve not yet heard of or read Voice A Story, I encourage you to give this magazine the benefit of the doubt and purchase an issue here this very instant. It could just change everything for you.

 

The magazine is only $5 and $1 of every purchase through the months of November and December go to the charity, H2O for Life. Issue 01 is also still available and can be purchased for $4, the featured interview with Jamie Tworkowski, founder of To Write Love on Her Arms.

 

Keep taking action.
-B