In addition to publishing creative nonfiction about the world of social action, Beyond the Bracelet wants to spur you to take new action in response to the issues you care about.
So, we issue some simple challenges, each with a corresponding essay contest: write a personal narrative about the thing you did and what happened next and why it matters and who you met and why we should care too. These don’t have to be super-polished, so even if you don’t consider yourself a great writer, you should still enter the contest. Just think of it as a letter to the editor, only a bit longer and with some scenes and descriptions. Each quarter, we’ll choose a winner and publish it (and give $50 to the cause related to your essay). Some other finalists will be posted on our blog.
Or, you can always do the challenge without entering the essay contest. Just tell us how it went by leaving a comment on this page (or a link to your own blog post where you describe your experience).
Challenge #1 – Have Lunch
Okay, there’s more to it than that. Here it is:
1) Pick an issue you care about that people are struggling with in your city/neighborhood/school/whatever.
2) Seek out a person who is doing something in response to that struggle.
3) Take that person out to lunch, and ask them to share their story: motivations, anecdotes, ongoing challenges, future prospects.
4) During the conversation, see if you can think of a way to be a part of the action.
Example: lots of folks in your town can’t afford health insurance, but there’s a half-crazy ex-nun who started a free clinic. In the past year, she built a grassroots volunteer network that delivered quality care to over a thousand people. So guess who you’re spending an hour with over phad thai? Her. And guess who has the print communication skills to put together the clinic’s next newsletter, freeing up crazy-nun-lady to be off inspiring people rather than wrestling with Adobe InDesign? That’s right. You.
See what happens when you come face to face with the right person. To tell what happens, enter the essay contest. The winning essay will be published in our inaugural issue, and the community action you write about will get a $100 donation in your name. Enter using the form at the bottom of our submit page, and make sure to add [Challenge Essay Contest] before your essay title.
The Go Beyond Directory
Want to take part in the wide world of action-takers? Check out some links in our go beyond directory—and help us build a bigger, better list.