UPDATE: We did not end up winning the GOOD Maker contest. But we were certainly encouraged that we came in 6 out of 82! We will be pursuing crowd sourcing to help fund this project, so keep an eye out for the Our Reality Kickstarter to launch mid-August! In the meantime, stay up to date with Our Reality via our Twitter page. Thanks for your support!
Holyoke Massachusetts is a city known for many things. It’s considered the birthplace of volleyball, holds the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the nation, and has a mayor who was elected at the age of 22. It also, however, holds the distinction for having the highest teen pregnancy rate in the state – five years running.
And, for the last two years, I’ve had the privilege of working with many of these teen mothers as they work toward completing their GED or high school diploma at The Care Center. If you know me outside the magic box you’re reading this on, then you’ve probably heard me talk all about The Care Center a time or two. I also may have shared a story or two from there here, as well.
Now? I want to share even more stories. I’ve spoken with the young women, and they want to share their stories as well. They’re sick and tired of MTV’s “reality” shows being the face of teen pregnancy. Time and time again they’ve told me that Teen Mom is not their reality. These young moms have a much different story than ones we’re used to seeing in reality shows, but their stories are no less valid. Not only are they working toward acquiring an education, but they’re actively fighting against the stigma of teen pregnancy/parenthood – whether they realize it or not.
Our Reality (helmed by me and my friend Carrie Nelson) is a project that will help these young women share their stories – their realities. The goal is to create a website that would feature mini documentaries of some of the moms at The Care Center. The girls will write their own stories and narrate the videos, which will include images and clips from their daily lives. They are eager to lend their voices to the narrative of what it means to be a mother, a young woman, a person working toward something more – and we want to help them do so.
To get this project off the ground, we’ve signed up to win a $3,000 Storytellers award from GOOD Makers. You can read more about what we envision there, and vote for us if you feel inclined to do so. You can only vote once and the contest runs until July 3rd. Please consider lending your support to this project by voting and letting others know about our campaign.
Update: Check out this fabulous article that Jessica Pieklo wrote up about the project over at Care2.