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Rewrite Project Aims To Help Teens Boost Self-Esteem, Take Back Their Stories

Julia Garia
(Photo courtesy of Julia Garcia)
Julia Garia

High-school students often don’t know who to turn for help when they feel stuck in difficult situations.  Parents don’t seem to “get it,” and school relationships can be fraught.

The Rewrite Project in Phoenix is building a movement to try to change that. Julia Garcia is an author and founder of the startup.

When she was 18, her 19-year old a cousin died of a drug overdose. Garcia says she became a self-destructive “party girl,” and almost lost her college scholarship in the process.  She realized that she needed to take back her own story. That became a book called "Somewhere In Between: A TRU Journey Through Sex, Drugs, Alcohol & Everything In Between."

Garcia explains that so much of how we live our lives, our self-esteem, how we interact with the world, has a lot to do with the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, and who everyone else is.  And those stories often fail to see the positive strength and agency we all have.

Now, Garcia goes into schools, runs assemblies and workshops for students and also teachers. Using everything from performance arts to anonymous quizzes and story-sharing, she gets teenagers and especially teenage girls to rewrite, and take back their own stories.

We talk to Garcia about her background, work, and the students she's talked to.

Her startup recently worked with Seed Spot, a social entrepreneurship incubator in Phoenix, and, in December, the project won the Audience Impact Award at Seed Spot’s Demo Day.



Naomi Gingold was a host at KJZZ from 2016 to 2017.