Below, Maria Mongiardo shares her story about how her year as a Channel Kindness reporter made her a better storyteller, writer, and person. With your help, even more young people can be a part of this transformative experience. Take a moment to donate here.
Photo of Channel Kindness Reporter Maria Mongiardo with Marisa Zeppieri, founder of LupusChick
Every day there are stories about people who are using generosity and compassion to power positive change. Unfortunately, some of these stories are left unheard. The goal of Channel Kindness, a project started by Born This Way Foundation, is to highlight these amazing stories. As a Channel Kindness reporter, you have the opportunity to connect with inspiring organizations and people from around the world. Since January 2016, I have shared stories about everyday heroic acts of kindness that shape our communities.
As someone who is working toward her master’s of public health at Boston University, this volunteer experience is the perfect fit for me. I can connect with organizations and individuals in my area that are doing incredible work, and that interest me. I am also driven to spread awareness about the important nonprofits with whom I am already connected. In a time where there is such ugliness and violence around the world, this volunteer experience has opened my eyes to all the selfless and inspiring people out there.
My Channel Kindness stories ranged from being about nonprofits like Lupus Chick, who help individuals living with Lupus all over the world, to trans activist/YouTuber Cameron Russo, who is a role model to so many in the LGBTQ community. I am very proud to say that these stories wonderfully highlighted all the inspiring work that these individuals and nonprofits do every day. With these stories, I have learned how important it is to give people a voice.
One of my favorite stories I had written was about my boss and friend Marisa Zeppieri. Marisa Zeppieri is a journalist, blogger, and founder of the non-profit Lupus Chick. Marisa works and runs the non-profit all while being sick with Lupus herself. I have worked with Mrs. Zeppieri for almost four years, and I am so happy to have been able to share her story. She has created an autoimmune community online where anyone from around the world can ask questions about their condition and get the help that they need.
Because of my role as a Channel Kindness reporter, I’ve become a better storyteller and writer. Being a part of this program is has connected me with professionals and other young storytellers from all around the country. The staff assists in connecting each of us with organizations doing incredible work and provides valuable feedback. As I move forward in my career, I will continue spreading stories of kindness to people in my community. There are so many extraordinary stories to be told, and all it takes is one person to start making this world a kinder, braver place.