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Second Stories

Author: Second Story

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Everyone dreams about how they want their life to look, but not everyone has the same level of opportunity to fulfill these dreams.
Some of us grow up in loving families with solid support systems, while some of us are born into hardship and trauma. None of us can choose the life we’re born into; none of us can write our own first story.
These situations might place us at a disadvantage, but they do not doom us. And sometimes a person or an experience helps bring the future we dreamed of into reach. It lets us pick up the pen and write our own second story.
17 Episodes
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In some of their most tender years, young people need stability and support at home. But this isn’t always possible, and the stakes can be high. Tina Seeley, Program Manager for Second Story for Teens in Crisis, Lucy, from our last episode, and Lucy’s mom, Penny, join us today to talk about family trauma -- what it can mean for young people, and the ways that families can work to create supportive and understanding places to thrive together.   Second Stories is created and produced by Second Story. Learn more about us at www.second-story.org
Lucy

Lucy

2019-11-1900:29:00

Lucy’s story is remarkably normal. In fact, statistics say that about half of us will find solidarity with Lucy in that about half of us are children of divorce.Lucy, in many ways, gives voice to our collective experience. She relives something that is familiar for many of us, and forces us not to write off our pain even if it’s “normalized.” She reminds us that pain doesn’t have to be unique or unusual or diagnosable to be valid.Second Stories is created and produced by Second Story. Learn more about us at www.second-story.org
To experience something traumatic can feel earth-shattering, but common wisdom says that when we experience trauma we should process, recuperate, and “keep calm and carry on.” But it’s actually much more complicated than that - trauma can become a sort of Kaleidoscope, keeping a person from processing or living as they could before. Cathy Benn, Second Story’s senior therapist, shares about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) while Chrystel talks about her personal experience.Second Stories is created and produced by Second Story. Learn more about us at www.second-story.org
Chrystel

Chrystel

2019-11-0500:33:43

Today’s story looks at something major, what came and went as a major news story for most of us, and zooms all the way in at one person’s experience. Because even when we talk about issues and epidemics, they are, at their core, a collection of stories and experiences, and they’re completely more personal than we often make them seem.Second Stories is created and produced by Second Story. Learn more about us at www.second-story.org
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that 10 million people a year are physically abused by an intimate partner, and young women, between the ages of 18 and 24, are the most common victims.  One of these young women is Bree, from our last episode. Angel, Program Manager for Second Story for Young Mothers, and one of Bree’s most important supporters during her time in the program, will be sharing some more information about how abuse affects specifically young women and their greater circle – their futures, dreams, children, and mental health, while Bree will be reflecting on how some of the broader stats and facts feel personal for her.Second Stories is created and produced by Second Story. Learn more about us at www.second-story.org
Bree

Bree

2019-10-2100:34:20

At a young age, Bree saw most of the things she thought could count on fall away. But rather than focusing on the present that betrayed her, Bree was brave enough to look to the future that she dreamt of. This is a story of how a young woman, in the midst of hardship, chose to keep going, full of tenacity and hope.Second Stories is created and produced by Second Story. Learn more about us at www.second-story.org
Season 2 Introduction

Season 2 Introduction

2019-10-0700:03:16

New episodes, more remarkable stories, available for listening this fall. We are thrilled to bring you season TWO of Second Stories! We produced season one with high hopes and the conviction that each story was worth telling, and we were so thankful for your responses. You, alongside us, were inspired by each person’s honesty and galvanized by their experiences. Your feedback touched us and each of the interviewees, thank you. We always hoped to tell more stories, and we’re really excited to do that in this new season.
Renée

Renée

2019-12-1000:31:37

Renée has a law degree, a master's degree, and a PhD. She also was born into poverty. She was a single parent. She was abused. She was a college dropout. We see in her a world changer as much as we see her early disadvantages, and in that we are hopeful, we are even more resolved that regardless of a young person’s challenges, with the right kind of intervention, they truly can do anythingIf you’ve been inspired by the stories this season and want to make a difference, we invite you to donate to Second Story. Visit www.second-story.org/give to contribute.
Amanda

Amanda

2018-12-0500:34:22

Amanda's family dynamic might sound familiar to many of us: things looked lovely on the outside but were actually challenging and dysfunctional. She remembers tension, addiction, financial pressure, and marital struggle that only worsened as she grew up. Amanda grew used to carrying this secret: that her family wasn't as intact as they appeared. It got harder, though, once her dad became abusive and her parents divorced.Years later, now a wife and mom, Amanda is pulling her family's experience from the shadows with the belief that her story isn't shameful, but rather a way to show others that hope and healing are possible.
Bonnie

Bonnie

2018-11-2800:31:23

Bonnie’s home was safe in the literal sense of the word. She had a roof over her head, food to eat everyday, and parents who cared about her.But she felt smothered. She was lacking something important: a sense of belonging, and a sense that her feelings mattered. So she found friends who accepted her for who she was, but they also introduced her to a variety of other things that put her in harm’s way. Everything Bonnie experienced, though, helped her far more than she could have imagined at the time. Until now, many of our stories have had a clear before and after, a clear first story and second story. Bonnie’s story is different, and because of this she teaches us grace, strength, and learning from your past even when things feel darkest.
Merrill

Merrill

2018-11-1300:36:01

This is part one of a two-part series from Johnny and his daughter, Merrill.When Merrill was 14 she started acting out. She wasn’t sure why, she just knew whatever she was doing made her feel better for a moment. The drinking, the drugs, the partying, all of it was covering up a darkness she was trying to shove away. Then a few years later she decided she’d had enough. She realized it wasn’t working. The darkness was still there. She reached out to someone she knew would keep her safe, her dad, and he knew exactly how to help. Merrill’s story feels familiar in context of the things we’re reading in the news and seeing on TV, but when we hear it like a story, from someone who feels like they’re sitting right beside us, it feels unique and personal in some very important ways.
Johnny

Johnny

2018-11-1300:32:33

This is part one of a two-part series from Johnny and his daughter, Merrill. Johnny visited Second Story’s teen shelter as a young person when he felt he had nowhere to go. It made a profound impact in his life then, but maybe even more so decades later when his daughter was struggling like he was. He remembered his experience and knew exactly where to take her -- back to the place that made him feel safest when he felt most vulnerable. There’s a moment of striking clarity in this story: a moment where a father says to his daughter, “You need help. We need help. And I know exactly where to find it.”
Carla

Carla

2018-11-0600:31:54

Growing up Carla loved bugs and books. “I was a dorky kid,” she remembers. She got teased a little bit, but she hardly cared as long as she was learning and reading. Then she got older and found herself in groups of people who disrespected her, even took advantage of her. Her mom tried to commit suicide. She started drinking. She got into an abusive relationship. She was coerced into having an abortion. The day Carla’s family found out she was pregnant with her son was a day that changed her life. “I didn’t even have any shoes on my feet -- I just ran.” Ran away from an abusive family, away from a life marked by alcohol and dangerous relationships, and also away from all the comfortable things she once knew. It was the best decision she could have made.
Manny and Chauncy

Manny and Chauncy

2018-10-3000:35:11

Manny and Chauncy are brothers, with stories reflecting each others’ in many ways. Both Liberian, both called Northern Virginia home for a time, and both with dreams that inspire them and keep them up at night. Chauncy had something unique, though: someone telling him he could do it. Someone reminding him that his dreams had value. Someone telling him to never give up. And this person changed everything for him.
Simron

Simron

2018-10-2200:32:04

Simron is a first generation immigrant, originally from South Asia. When she and her family moved to the U.S. she realized her new home had different expectations -- and opportunities -- for her than anything she’d ever known. Her family, though, didn’t see things the same way. Simron wanted to go to college and pursue her dreams, while her family wanted to arrange the sort of marriage that Simron had seen lead to abuse and injustice. So she made a choice. She said, “This cycle of oppression will continue, the cycle of being helpless. And that’s when I thought, ‘I don’t want a daughter who will go through what I’m going through…’ I thought, ‘If I can’t have what I want I won’t accept what’s given to me, either. I’ll fight.’” And fight she did.
Tina

Tina

2018-10-2200:32:40

For the most part, Tina Gordon thought she was a lot like any other kid. She went to school. She had siblings at home. She played outside. Sometimes, though, she sensed that things were...off. She didn’t always get dinner, for example, and her friends' families treated each other differently than hers' did. Then when she was seven years old, Tina and her siblings were removed from their home and placed in Child Protective Services. This is Tina’s story of being a foster child and later being adopted, dealing with rejection, and loving her biological mom even when she wasn’t the parent she should have been.
Introduction

Introduction

2018-08-0800:01:56

Everyone dreams about how they want their life to look, but not everyone has the same level of opportunity to fulfill these dreams. Some of us grow up in loving families with solid support systems, while some of us are born into hardship and trauma. None of us can choose the life we’re born into; none of us can write our own first story. These situations might place us at a disadvantage, but they do not doom us. And sometimes a person or an experience helps bring the future we dreamed of into reach. It lets us pick up the pen and write our own second story. This podcast is dedicated to telling these stories -- stories of people who were born into unimaginable circumstances and were able to rewrite the narrative of their own life. Second Stories is hosted by Abigail Brougher with production support by Franklin Vaughan. This podcast is brought to you by Second Story, a nonprofit that seeks to bring safety and opportunity to homeless youth and youth in crisis in the DC metro area.
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