THE ADVICE PROJECT: WEEK 1 OF 8
Today marks the completion of Week 1 of The Advice Project. I am bursting with both excitement and intrigue at what these next two months will bring!
I have always been passionate about education and exploring ways to create lifelong learning in the classroom. To see Free Advice Girl lead me back into the school to team-teach with innovative educators such as Meredith Towne-Devito, and to create curriculum that explores topics such as advice, communication, identity, advocacy, goals/dreams and storytelling, is a higher-level gift to which I am most grateful.
When Free Advice Girl, the documentary was released, I was hesitant to share such a personal story for fear of how others would judge me. But I was in good hands with Team Blink as they did a fabulous job in depicting a sensitive story in the most respectful and mindful of ways. In the past year, I have heard from numerous individuals about the positive and powerful results that have transpired from them watching the documentary, that my confidence has only strengthened. And today was one of those days…
Today was the first time a group of students watched the documentary. Talk about terrifying! Students are known for stating their opinions, loud and clear! I witnessed these 9th grade young women, who have been bubbly, talkative, and at times distracted, sit quietly and engaged for the duration of the film. Without being prompted, comments and dialogue filled with curiosity, honesty and openness transpired amongst the students…
-I like seeing you give free advice because you can tell it makes you happy.
-That happened to me…
- Yeah, I keep getting into that same situation with guys. I don’t know why it keeps happening.
- Did you press charges?
- Nah, she didn’t have to because they were able to resolve it from having a conversation about it.
- But if she couldn’t move on from it, then she may have wanted to press charges.
- It’s cool to see you took back your power and chose to leave.
This conversation confirmed that what Team Blink has created, is indeed a catalyst for powerful and transformative conversation. Students have so many stories to share and in the exploration and reflection of these stories, there is much to learn and discover about how they want to navigate through life. The goal: The Advice Project will be able to create an entry point for lifelong learning and do so in the classroom (while aligning with the Common Core!)
I can’t wait to see what unfolds in Week 2!
Dear Free Advice Girl,
I’m a painfully shy person, always have been. I’m almost 30 years old and have had two serious relationships. My ex was very dominant in our last relationship. He always told me what to do and how to act. In fact, intimacy turned into a set time and place. My current boyfriend, who I’ve been with for six months and who is absolutely amazing, has pointed out how shy I am around him. He wants me to feel more comfortable. The problem is, I don’t know what to do, what I’m ‘allowed’ to do because I honestly don’t know. I don’t want to be shy anymore, especially with this person that I love and trust. It’s time to get over it, seriously. However, I don’t know how.
Getting Past Shyness
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Dear Getting Past Shyness,
Thank you for sharing your story. It’s completely normal to feel shy in a relatively new relationship, especially when you’ve experienced something so dominant in the past. It sounds like you’re adjusting to being with someone who accepts and encourages you to be yourself. This is a wonderful shift that’s taking place!
It reminds me of when I stepped into my first acting class in college and the teacher said, “I want you to do whatever you want for the first ten minutes of class.” We all looked at each other, some with confusion, some with excitement and some with sheer panic! No one had ever given me that much freedom to choose what I wanted to do before. In school, we were often told what to do, and what rules to follow in the classroom. And now, here we were, being given the freedom of choice! Freedom is only so liberating, if we know how to utilize it and have the courage to embrace it.
So, the great new is, you have this newfound freedom. Now, how to use it! What will really help, is to take time to heal and break free from who you were in your past relationship, so you can get to a place where you love and accept yourself and then feel comfortable trusting and sharing that with others. But it starts with you first!
What’s your advice?
Dear Free Advice Girl,
I’m a full time student at a community college. It’s my final semester of college and I’m failing one of the subjects that I need to pass for my major, otherwise I’ll have to take the whole semester all over again. Should I take a break for a year or two from school then try to go back or should I push through and go for my career goal?
Girl who can’t sleep because she’s up studying
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Dear Girl who can’t sleep because she’s up studying,
A survivor of domestic violence finds solace in helping others by offering free advice in the heart of New York City in Washington Square Park.
"Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will." - James Stephens
A huge and hearty thank you to Daniel, an awesome guy who, along with his fun-loving sister, @chellyrae stopped by for free advice
and then stuck around to capture the fun in action! Just this morning, I was greeted by 5 very special photos in my inbox and this is the first one! Turns out Daniel is a brilliant and talented professional photographer! Feeling so grateful for the kindness of strangers. Check out Daniel’s stunning work at www.djbworldphotography.com/