A Bunch of (Almost) Strangers…
I’m currently heading across the country, in a cramped bus, with 7 people I met less than a month ago.
What in the world have I gotten myself into? The answer is simple. LiveDifferent.
This all started last year, when I walked out of my Grade 12 chemistry class and into the gym for, what I had assumed to be, another boring presentation. Instead of that, I was greeted by a concert-style set-up that promised an experience unlike any other. And it delivered. I watched videos, listened to speakers that inspired me to “Own My Story”, freaked out over some amazing live music, and for the first time in the history of my schooling, got inspired. All I could think of is how much I would have benefited from seeing this presentation at a younger age. These people genuinely cared about us and wanted to connect with us by sharing their own personal stories. As I sat there in the wake of this awesome event, my best friend leaned over to me and whispered, “You would be great at this”.
All I could think was, “Yeah…I…I really would!”
begged to differ with my fears. Soon I was on a video conference call, meeting the amazing people I was going
to be sharing the next chapter of my life with. It seemed so surreal. All my life I had been waiting for an opportunity to really make a difference in the lives of others and here it was, just around the corner. Day one of my LiveDifferent experience couldn’t come fast enough!
day. My parents now spend most of their free time worrying about me, but they’re so proud of what I’m doing and the group of people I’m on this journey with. I moved into the dorms at the head office and starting experiencing just about every “first” in the book. First time living away from my family, first time grocery shopping for myself, first time having roommates. It was…different, but the people at LiveDifferent made it a great experience. We instantly became this giant family. 2 bands, 5 interns, 3 road team leaders and whole bunch of other staff, all joined forces to create one of the best presentations this country has ever seen. I can’t believe I’m saying this already, I actually can’t imagine what my life would be like without these friends.
So, for the next three months, my half of this family will be touring the east coast, bringing our presentation on the power of empathy to thousands of Canadian students. We’re about three weeks in and we’re starting to get in the flow of things. Unloading, setting up, presenting, connecting, loading up, and starting again the next day. It can sound taxing, but I’ve already gotten so much out of being able to share my story. I’ve been able to come to peace with myself. I’ve turned my worst moments into something that can benefit others, a struggling teen who feels lost and alone, someone who just needs to connect.
Just the other day, a young girl came up to me and told me that she could really relate to my story. She had been struggling with similar issues and wasn’t sure what to do about them. I was able to talk to her and connect her with resources in her community. It was the best feeling. The best. In her, I saw my younger self; a girl feeling scared and confused and unsure of who to turn to. And if what I did made a difference, if hearing my story is the catalyst to her doing better, I feel like my struggles weren’t for nothing. They’re helping me make the difference I always wanted to make.
(LiveDifferent Road Team Intern – 2016/2017)