More Than My Skin
We're celebrating a summer of stories over at the Haven Center in Northern Iraq. We have 30 kids enrolled in an Writing and Illustrating Course for the summer and we couldn't be more thrilled.
Sometimes, I see other organizations or schools and the rigorous curriculum they are following, and it makes me wonder if we need more math, more science, if we need to get kids to grade level or ready for national exams. And then I think about what will make these kids truly successful in this world.
It's not a perfect GPA or post-graduate school; it's not even proficiency in geometry or chemistry or English. For our Haven Center kids, and for most kids that EDGE works with - real success is moving past what seemed like a world against them with dignity and extending respect to someone who hated them.
That's why we focus on art and stories. Because we are all more than our skin, but that fact can be lost or hidden in numbers and letters and academic capability. That reality can be lost when your skin got you driven out of your village or kidnapped or denied access to a program.
We press on that your story matters, whatever that story is. Whether it's one that's bound up in international headlines, or one that not even your closest friends know. It matters, and because of that you matter.
Stories are what make us more similar, rather than more different. We all have characters and conflict, tragedies and comedies. We all are on a trajectory. It's when we don't see the stories that we judge and attack and oppress. But when we hear the story, what was foreign and fearful to us becomes familiar.
We are on a mission to share more stories, to break down more barriers, to build more bridges. We believe that creativity is a crucial step towards peace.
What's your story? How are you the same as Jalila or Khaled or Christina - or Fatima or Aissatou or Hatab? How are you the same as the neighbor across the street, or the neighbor on the other side of town? What does your story share with the immigrants who shop at your grocery store, or the refugees who've been relocated to the next town over?
Be part of our story-telling summer! Share your stories with us through email, Facebook, or Instagram! Many thanks to those who have donated and to TentED for sponsoring our Writing & Illustrating Course this summer!!