J500 Media and the Environment

I don’t need a bottle to get intoxicated by cindyol
July 24, 2009, 11:31 pm
Filed under: J840 Week 6, Local Events + Action, Society + Media | Tags: , , , ,

Advocacy is intoxicating. The power of giving a voice to people and causes that don’t have a stage of their own through my words is better than drugs or booze.

I first started advocating for my faith when I was in college and the editor of the school paper was an aggressive athiest. I advocated for my daughter almost 20 years ago when she was diagnosed with a mental illness in elementary school. The Kansas City Star published a letter to the editor I sent in to advocate for my political beliefs. I advocated for my children in high school to raise money for their extra curricular activities by launching and writing the content for the booster club websites. I had the chance to advocate for wounded veterans by writing website content during a redesign of the Salute America’s Heroes site in my last job.  And now that I’m finally figuring out what i want to be when I grow up, I must admit that the rush of finding the perfect word to set an emotional hook for a reader is not just intoxicating, it’s borderline addictive.

The experience of digging into the issues surrounding the homeless that have arisen in Lawrence this spring and summer have fed the rush. Doing the interviews where I get to look into their eyes and see their pain, feel their passion, and watch them have the hope to overcome adversity is a payoff that nothing short of incredible. The skills I have honed as an adult – listening and quickly understanding a person’s issues and feelings – and my love of words have given me hope. Words can affect change. The question that remains in advocating for the homeless in Lawrence is how will we use our words? Will we use them to affect positive change, or keep the status quo?

Cindy Olsen


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