I wake up every day pondering how behavioral research addresses social issues. How can we create socially-conscious leadership and bridge divided communities? Through my years working with at-risk kids in the Bay Area, I heard daily stories that revealed the heart behind smiles, the burden behind hard work, the trauma behind negligence. These stories were not unlike my own. The ones I never told anyone. This is why I created Listen for a Change: so that others have the support to face and the courage to tell their stories. But more importantly, so that we all have a space to listen.
I believe in the power of clear, honest, and open-minded communication--the kind that breaks down barriers and moves faraway mountains closer together. My journey with Listen for a Change began when I shared a life-defining story on its stage, and in opening my heart, I've found countless connections and seen the profound and immeasurable ripples that stories have in the world. Every day, I strive to create barrier-breaking, connection-building, mountain-moving work with this organization. I know it works. I have been the recipient of its magic.
Board of Directors
Jimmy Simpson Jr.
Board of Directors
San Francisco Story Hour Emcee
I believe that every single person has an important and powerful story to tell. Over the past decade, I have had the privilege of traveling the country to tell stories and to coach others in their storytelling. I have always known of the power of stories, but I had never seen it so clear until I attended my first Listen for a Change event. I was forever...wait for it...changed, and I knew that this was a movement that I needed to be a part of.
I am a lover of storytelling in all forms: writing, film, theatre... Listen for a Change, however, added a new love of storytelling that pushed me beyond characters, cinematic views, and dialogue. It just requires me and my truth. I am a Bay Area Native with roots in Pittsburg and a heartbeat in Oakland. I use writing and education to fight for social justice, so it would only makes sense that I am a part of this organization that uses storytelling as a form to ignite change.
Board of Directors
Oakland Story Hour Emcee
It wasn't until I left my beautiful, but liberal sanctuary hometown of Madison, Wisconsin that I realized I in fact had not been truly listening to, rather than just refraining from interrupting stories that differed from my own. Joining the Listen for a Change team has taught me the immense value in respecting another's experience, opinions, and vulnerability, for in such divided times we must bridge, rather than widen our gaps.
Being part of Listen for a Change has shifted my life. It's a magical experience to come together as a community and listen to each other share personal stories of struggle and triumph. Our live events allow me to pause, see life from another perspective, and be reminded that we aren't in this alone. I use marketing and content creation to translate the magic found at our events and express that into the digital space. Regardless of who you are or where you live, we can all be impacted by the stories we share.
As a photographer, I love exploring behind the camera; absorbed in seeing, creating and capturing stories. Documenting story hours for Listen for a Change is an enriching opportunity to make meaningful photos that can have an impact and help foster new, powerful and compassionate narratives.
I believe in the power of amplifying underrepresented voices. Working with youth journalists on the South Side of Chicago, I saw firsthand the value of having a platform to tell your own story. Now, as a recent Bay Area transplant, I get the chance to continue this same mission with Listen for a Change. I’m so glad to have this incredible opportunity to create change through the power of storytelling.
I am a photographer/videographer who grew up in Herndon, VA, a culturally diverse area which helped me develop a respect for people who are different from me from a young age. Through living in the Bay, I learned to not just sympathize with social issues and the challenges that many people face - I didn't want to be a bystander anymore. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to work with Listen for a Change, producing photo and video content to spread mission driven stories.
I am a firm believer in the power of photo and film to act as vehicles for social change, and I love Listen for a Change for bringing people together around that. I believe that everyone has a story to tell, and that their story has the potential to change someone else’s life. As the son of two immigrants, my multi-ethnic background drives my everyday life and is the lens through which I see and understand the world.
I am fascinated by people’s stories, particularly those that are right at the margin of public consciousness. I love consuming various storytelling podcasts like This American Life and Radiolab, because they feature relatable stories from distinct yet random places that demonstrate how connected we all are. After attending my first Listen for a Change event, I wanted to help the organization develop a podcast of its own to help amplify the storytellers’ voices and connect a wider audience to their powerful stories that can truly expand one’s perspective.
One day back in 2016, I was scrolling though Facebook and saw an event that read "Listen for A Change: Immigration, Black Lives Matter, Transgender Rights." I was inspired by an event that encompassed such important and controversial topics in one setting, and I knew I had be a part of it. I've grown with this amazing community that I continue to learn from, and I continue to promote the power of storytelling with everyone in my personal life.
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Throughout my childhood, stories took many forms: reading The Baby-Sitters Club with my mom in our living room or listening to my dad and titos animate stories loudly in Tagalog. I always felt connected as a storyteller and a listener. As an adult, I lead with this feeling in my professional life, engaging volunteers with mission-driven work in Chicago, NY, and now SF. Returning back to my roots and reconnecting with this community has been the most fulfilling part of being on the Listen for a Change team.