Posts with Category Facing Project

What difference can a story make?


I sent my friend, Rozy, in Nairobi $200. She was able to enroll in college.

$200 = college

I sent my friend Collins in Kenya $15. He sent me a note that he’d be able to eat for the month and focus on his studies.

$15 = a month of food

I’ve spent the last two years working on a book project (Where Am I Giving?) researching how to responsibly give our time, talent, and money to make the largest impact. Our donations can save and improve lives, so we should make them wisely. Sometimes when we donate to effective causes in places like Kenya our gift can make 100 times the impact as it can in the United…

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Facing Project on Nightly News in Flint

Screenshot 2017-02-25 09.06.44

Mott Community College is running a Facing College project focusing on the stories of immigrant students. They recently received coverage on Flint’s ABC channel 12.

Everyone has an opinion of what should be done politically about immigrants, even people who don’t even know or have conversed with a single immigrant. MCC’s Facing Project seeks to correct that.

Read the story and watch the coverage of their project here.

Here’s a video of the writers and storytellers getting to know each other…

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Cancer can take, but it also can give

(Video from Facing Cancer in East Central Indiana)

Cancer doesn’t know race, religion, gender, or political ideology. Cancer has touched all of our lives. Maybe not our own bodies, but the bodies of someone we love.

That’s why the most recent Facing Project led by Dr. Adam Kuban’s Ball State class of Ingelhardt Scholars was so important. Students ran the project from start to finish along with their community partner Little Red Door.

From what I’ve seen and read, cancer can divide us, make us feel alone as we deal with our illness or mortality or that of a loved one. But cancer can also connect us. I’ve seen my mother-in-law become a one-woman cancer support group for an entire community after she survived breast…

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Take 3 minutes to learn about the storytelling project I co-founded

So far the Facing Project has reached 30 communities and hundreds of writers and storytellers. I co-founded the project with my friend J.R. Jamison in 2013. If you aren’t sure what the project is about, check out this story on the Indianapolis news about Ball State’s Facing Depression project.

Hope you’re having a great Saturday.  We went adventuring today with the family. By adventuring I mean that I got to carry a machete and chop away at thorn bushes while the family followed behind me. I also got to skip a rock. Any day you skip a rock is a good one.

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Creating together: A Confession of a Reluctant Collaborator

(If you are fan of my solo work, I’d love to collaborate with you on a Facing Project. Please visit or reach out to me for more info. This post originally appeared on the Facing Project’s blog. ) 

Kelsey JR W and L

 With J.R. (right) and the amazing organizers of Washington & Lee’s Facing Sexual Violence project)

A few years ago I roped a guy who I barely knew into participating in the very first Facing Project as a writer.

Today, he’s the co-founder of the Facing Project, who had the vision to see it was more than just a one-off project; he’s like my brother in that I spend more time with him than about anyone other than Annie and the kids;…

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How Bruce Jenner & a College Student Made Me Less of a Jackass on Transgender Issues

Over at the Facing Project blog, I shared my evolution in thinking about transgender issues. I really believe that many of us are just one powerful story away from growing in understanding and shedding ignorance around particular topics.

I don’t know anyone who is transgendered (that I know of) and I had never really closely paid attention to anyone’s story until I heard Bruce Jenner’s story and until a Ball State student shared his story.

You can read the entire piece, What’s in a Name? on the Facing Blog. For now here’s an excerpt:

Two years ago I didn’t know the difference between a crossdresser, a drag queen, or someone who is transgendered. In fact, if you would have engaged me in a conversation about the issue, I may have even…

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How to Talk About Suicide

In 2010 I traveled to Ireland to research suicides. The gap between the loveliness of the people and grimness of my topic was wider than the Atlantic. I had the world’s worst response to: “Welcome to Ireland! What brings you here?”

I’ve carried a lot of stories over the past twelve years I’ve been writing, but few have been as heavy as those stories from Ireland. They have been even heavier because the book never came into existence, and I’m not sure where you publish such stories. So for the first time, I’m sharing them on this blog and on the blog of the Facing Project.

I’m not an expert on suicides. I’ve never been personally touch by suicide. So one of the…

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Building Community Story by Story

I wrote this post for and it first appeared at I’m the co-founder of the Facing Project which seeks to connect people through stories to strengthen communities.  

A participant of Facing Homelessness in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, decided she wanted to do something to help homeless individuals sleep better at night. Now she makes and gives sleeping bags to Ft. Wayne’s homeless.

A students writer who participated in Facing Hope in Rome, Georgia, got a job at the magazine that published the books for the project.

Books from Ft. Wayne’s Facing Homelessness are being used in sociology classes in Florida.

TEAMwork for Quality Living, the community partner on the very first Facing Project, organized 15+ local nonprofits to share stories of those in Muncie Facing Poverty. Less than 6 months after…

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Ft. Wayne’s Facing Homelessness project

When J.R., the cofounder of the Facing Project hung up the phone after his call-in NPR interview about the Facing Project, I looked at him and said, “This just got real.”

And it had.

It’s one thing to have an idea in your head and it’s a whole other thing when others take that idea and run with it.  Ft. Wayne is our first Facing Community to complete a project (4 other communities have projects underway).  They’ve had art exhibits on Homelessness, this Thursday they’re reading monologues, and the Mayor of Ft. Wayne has even declared Thursday Facing Homelessness day.

Here’s the NPR interview and here’s a story on the project in Ft. Wayne’s newspaper.

I can’t wait to be a part of the event on Thursday.


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