I believe that empathy lies at the core of both communications and social change. To communicate effectively, we need to truly understand where other people are coming from. The understanding that the world can and should be better for your fellow human – that drives change. Storytelling is a powerful tool that lifts people’s perspectives to bring folks together, and I use it to show what VPP does and why we do it.
When I’m not at work, I’m still communicating and creating content about my favorite stories, whether through crafting presentations, recording podcasts, drawing illustrations or bringing people together through online communities.
In school, I studied English literature and Fine Art, because I love to create – and perhaps, I also longed to connect with people. As I’ve grown, I still write and draw, but my interests have evolved to include what I like to call “tearing things apart and putting them back together.” I like to analyze what makes stories and art so effective, how the characters we love and hate mold us into who we become.
In my professional and personal life, I’m learning to embrace this saying: “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” I’m learning to chase after failure and embrace it, because failure means you’re taking risks and you’re growing.
My parents raised me to recognize the inequality in this world but also to have a spirit of service. Every person should have a fair shot at life – but when they’re starting out, too many people find doors preemptively closed. Education is just one of many tools that can help open these doors. I’ve spent a lot of time working with educators, from teaching street children in the Philippines to mentoring high school students to helping education nonprofits and foundations communicate better.
I admire that VPP strives to empower every young person with the resources they’ll need so they can write their own stories, instead of letting someone else tell it for them. I think we all deserve that.