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A Journey of Self-Discovery & Storytelling
Anya Rose Speaks at Words2Action Event

In November, Anya Rose participated in the Words2Action storytelling symposium in Pasadena, where she and eight other students presented moving five-minute TED Talk-style speeches. Words2Action aims to "foster radical empathy by helping people craft and share emotionally resonant and universally relatable stories."
Anya's speech was a funny and touching description of how she chose to be the school mascot in order to further her and others' sense of belonging. "I also wanted to explore what leadership means outside of accolades and titles and how I was able to embody leadership without using my own outward facing persona."
To prepare for the event, participants attended workshops over six months where they learned about and discussed identity and the art of oral storytelling. While Anya expected to learn how to express her thoughts and personal discoveries already in her mind, she says, "I learned instead that writing itself is the process that can help us discover what we feel and what we believe."
One of the program goals is for the storytellers to inspire others to step up and take action. Anya says, "I attempted to convey the importance of belonging and being a leader in creating change as opposed to being complacent. I wanted to express the importance of not just being part of a community, but also of helping make it stronger."
In reflecting on this experience, Anya learned that effective storytelling isn't about using the biggest words or crafting the most professional sounding presentation, but about conveying something in the most broadly applicable way. She also says, "I told one story at the conclusion of the program, but to get to that point, all of us thought a lot about who we are and about meaningful moments in our lives. I have a greater appreciation for all of those experiences, not just the one that I formally wrote a story about."