The Power of Stories: It Gets Better Project

By , 09/30/2010

Have you seen the “It Gets Better Project” on YouTube? No? You might start with the video from the project’s creator, “It Gets Better: Dan and Terry.”

Dan is Dan Savage of “Savage Love,” a long-running column in Seattle’s The Stranger newspaper. He started the project after the tragic suicide of a gay teenager in rural Indiana led him to act. The project invites people to submit their own videos to tell and show LGBT teenagers that “it gets better,” that there’s hope beyond the pain and difficulties they may be experiencing in school.

In an interview in the New York Times, Savage said that he created the project because he “realized that with things like YouTube and social media, we can talk directly to these kids.” He also talked about the importance of hearing stories from gay adults who aren’t celebrities, because what “kids have a hard time picturing is a rewarding, good, average life for themselves.”

This project is such a moving and powerful example of using social media in times of crisis, and the growing number of suicides by gay teenagers is a crisis on more than a personal scale. There’s power if just one of these stories reaches just one teenager who’s struggling to hold onto hope. And I have hope it will reach many, many more.


Fall Means School

By , 09/08/2010

Even though I have a day job, this summer felt a bit like a summer break of sorts because of my break between teaching in the spring and fall semesters. The class I teach at NYU begins again this evening, and I’m looking forward to meeting a whole new group of students.

MN State Fair Butter Sculptures

So in between my regular work, including client activities and work travel, what did I do this summer?

  • I read a number of books for fun. In fact, more than I have in quite some time, thanks in large part to Karen Russell’s How Mysterious! project. I’ve always loved mysteries (my mom is a voracious reader, mostly of mysteries), but between work and teaching, and the large number of things I read online, I hadn’t been reading many fiction books. How Mysterious! served as both inspiration and recommendation source. I’m happy I did read so much this summer – it really helped clear my brain.
  • I took a lot of weekend trips. Between friends’ weddings (quite a few!) and family gatherings, I managed trips to Santa Barbara, CA; Chattanooga, TN; Mykonos, Greece (ok, that was more than a weekend); Cape Cod; a rural lake in upstate Maine; and my hometown of St. Paul, MN. All wonderful, and hard to pick a favorite. Although the butter sculptures of Princess Kay of the Milky Way at the Minnesota State Fair this past Labor Day weekend were pretty amazing.
  • And of course, all the usual summer things: friends, food, music, sun… It was a scorcher of a summer in NYC, but still summer.

Coming into work this morning, it definitely felt like fall was here. New York City public schools started today, and I passed a long line of families taking their kids to the first day of school at my local P.S. (primary school). Subways were packed like they haven’t been in months. Daylight’s getting shorter on both ends. Welcome back, fall.


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