Examples of Impact
We often say Facing communities debut their stories at the book launches and LIVE theatrical events because we view the debuts as just the beginning; a jumping off point for the stories to spread and action to happen. We’ve seen stories turn into sleeping bags for the homeless, leverage dollars to be raised for nonprofits, and create advocates to change policies.
Below are just a few examples of spin-off projects that have occurred because of Facing Projects.
Organizers from Facing Sex Trafficking: Atlanta’s Dirty Little Secret were involved with the development of an awareness exhibit on sex trafficking in the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The exhibit, Freedom Expressions, was available in the domestic terminal atrium from May to July 2015—putting a face on sex trafficking for millions of travelers. As travelers passed through the terminal, they could stop by the kiosk-type display to put on head phones to hear recorded stories from Atlanta’s Facing Project, pick up information on how to spot sex/human trafficking, and learn more about how to get involved to put a stop to human trafficking.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
An attendee at the book launch and LIVE event for Facing Homelessness in Fort Wayne was so moved by the stories she heard on stage that she approached the project organizers to see how she could get involved in efforts to help the homeless. Through conversations with local nonprofits on the planning committee for Facing Homelessness, she learned there was a woman who handed sleeping bags out to the homeless who don’t seek shelter during inclement weather. The attendee, who belongs to a sewing circle, has now partnered with the woman to make sleeping bags for the homeless.
Mentioned earlier in the Toolkit, the first ever Facing Project—Facing Poverty in Delaware County—was led by TeamWork for Quality Living. Because of their stories, a local bank gifted $79,000 to the organization. TeamWork’s Executive Director Molly Flodder said:
We believe that community awareness of poverty is the first step to addressing it. Working with The Facing Project to produce ‘Facing Poverty in Delaware County’ helped raise the awareness of our work and bring people to the table who previously weren’t engaged with our mission. In the past 18 months we have gained a great deal of visibility in our mission to ’empower people in poverty toward self-sufficiency.’ To that end, our agency is now a United Way partner, and we were blessed to be the beneficiary of a $79,000 fundraiser conducted by Old National Bank. We are constantly amazed at the power of stories of struggle and hope to ignite the passion it takes to create change in the community.”
In addition, another Facing Project led in Muncie—Facing Autism—spread 6,000 copies of the book throughout their community. The book is in doctor’s offices, K-12 schools, college classrooms, and is used by the Indiana State Police for sensitivity training with officers. What’s been really unique with this particular project is that the stories were not anonymous. Families who shared their stories wanted their names and contact information available to create connections among those in the autism community. Kelsey’s wife, Annie, told her story in this particular project, and two years later she still receives emails from mothers who have a newly diagnosed child on the spectrum. She’s able to have conversations with these individuals, share her thoughts, feelings and her own journey, and connect them to area resources.
These are just a few examples of the impact that can happen because of Facing Project stories. Think big, dream big, and don’t be afraid to allow the stories to become more than a book.
Your stories are important and will change your community.