Happy Birthday, VoiceBox Media!

Today VoiceBox Media is one year old, and what a difference a year makes.

Some of you have been supporters from day one, others have joined us later in the journey, so I thought I’d highlight for you some of our successes over the past year.

Speaking of success … that’s a funny word. I’ve been asked a lot over the course of the past year: “Has VoiceBox Media been successful?”

Webster defines success as (and I paraphrase):  achieving what you intend to achieve.

When VoiceBox Media launched one year ago, our objective was, and remains, to tell the untold stories of people who are working tirelessly to achieve social change and bring hope to the most forgotten of the world.

Our first assignment was in Cherangany, Kenya, where we brought you the stories of the Kenyan Kids Foundation, of Wesley and Tarah Korir, and the hope they’re bringing to Wesley’s native Kenya by providing educational scholarships, farming resources, and medical support to Cherangany. We gave the opportunity for Kenyans to have their voices be heard and they spoke from their hearts.

Next, VoiceBox Media went to Dessalines, Haiti, with a team of Americans with the E412 Foundation. We brought you back their stories of triumph, of burden and of sorrow. We were with them every step of their journey as they walked through villages to pray for people, distributed juice and rice to gravel makers on the side of the road, played with children at orphanages, and comforted those sick in the hospital. They grasped the hands of their fellow man and lent them the biggest portions of their hearts.

Later in the year, we went to Bora, Ethiopia, with Doma International and a team of 12 American medical and support personnel and five Ethiopians. I just returned from that trip about 10 days ago and can’t wait to introduce you to these incredible world-changers who are willing to love on people by allowing their gifts of medicine, organization, cleaning and cooking skills to be used on top of a mountain.

Your lives will be enriched when you meet all of these people, and I hope you are stirred to social action.

When I look at the stories we’ve told, and I survey the inbetween time  – the planning, the board meetings, the fundraising, the brainstorming, the conversing, the evangelizing – and I hold them up against our mission and against the rubric for success, I have only one answer:

VoiceBox Media is successful.

To our donors and financial supporters: thank you for pitching in and contributing in big ways to put legs under this mission.

To the journalists waiting in the wings: thanks for your encouragement and for being ready to tell stories. We have a lot of work to do and I’m going to need your help.

To the people all around the world who have embraced us: I thank you for the honor you’ve given me to tell your stories. Your transparency and authentic grit will keep changing the world. The people who are pessimistic about the world we live in have not met you. You are all forces to be reckoned with.

To our board of directors: thank you for getting up early on Saturday mornings for board meetings, and for keeping the wheels spinning.

To my friends (including my mom): thank you for loving me through this process, for your text messages, emails, phone calls, Facebook messages and tweets at just the right times. Thank you for your advice, your expertise and the knowledge I’ve syphoned from you (Linda and website design. :). I could not live my best life without you.

To you all who are reading this: thank you. Don’t underestimate your ability to be part of this storytelling movement. Spread the word, share the stories, get involved with us.

I am exhilarated when I peek into 2014 and imagine what’s in store.

Y’all, we are just getting started.

To see a photo gallery of this year’s journeys, click here.

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