The Earpiece of the Community

Give Ear is an organization born out of the heart and practice of listening. We often see social media become an avenue for isolation, comparison, and loud opinions. Give Ear will provide a space to celebrate important work being done in the community, as well as a place for ideas and stories to be shared. Everyone has dreams, experiences… a story.

Join us.

Give Ear.

Journal

Our journal will consist of stories and ideas that highlight the heart behind Give Ear. In our journal we will include personal entries as well as from contributors. They will highlight ideas of social media use, listening, storytelling, and more. Please reach out if you would like to contribute!

Mosaic

We are all part of one story bigger than ourselves. This is a collection of people living great stories and impacting their community. We're celebrating their work. Let us know if someone in your community is making a difference and would like their work shared!

 

Mosaic

We are all part of one story bigger than ourselves. This is a collection of people living great stories and impacting their community. We're celebrating their work.

 

BHB & Transit Arts (July 2017 feature)

If you are looking to become a local leader, hero, or champion of a community, I think the first thing I would do is advise you to sit in on one of BHB’s weekly hip hop dance classes. Or, just meet the guy and shake his hand.

It was a little over a year ago when I first saw BHB perform with his dance group, Transit Arts, at a local art museum in Columbus. To say my jaw was dropped the entire time would be an understatement. I have often heard people describe good art as having the ability to move one to tears. I have to say, I never understood that concept until that day, when I watched Transit Arts perform.

There was something about the incredible talent on display, mixed with the undeniable brotherhood and camaraderie, topped off with the never-ceasing smiles of the dance team that simply moved me to tears beyond my control. So when my friends and I were thinking about starting a project in which we would seek out local heroes, BHB was the very next thought in mind. I had to go meet him.

Fast forward almost one year to the day of seeing Transit Arts perform and I’m walking into the community center on East Main Street just hoping to show my face and exchange some information with BHB. Honestly, I wanted to do some sort of feature story on him specifically, but BHB himself was getting in my way. Let me explain.

BHB stands for Brothers Helping Brothers. It was so apparent to me within seconds of meeting him that he was much more interested in celebrating the young people around him in that community center than he was having a camera on himself. I thought I was going to interview someone I found to be a local champion, and he flipped the definition on its head. He certainly is a community changer, so much so that he was praising, celebrating, and introducing me to the young people around him who were being raised up to do the exact same. That first day of meeting BHB… and I was only there for 10-15 minutes, he introduced me to 5-7 friends around him, enthusiastically pointing me to their areas of talent, the number of times they had been on the Dean’s List, and the upcoming events they would be performing in. BHB showed me the most imperative quality in a good leader and a world-changer that day: setting others above himself and showcasing their skills and hard work. I could tell immediately that he would much rather show off his friends than himself; he had not a shred of interest in that. This, my friends, is the mark of a community leader, a local hero, and a world-changer. The exact definition and heartbeat of Give Ear had already been living and breathing in BHB for many years. I hope that in this small glimpse of a local hero we can do a little justice to the impact he is having on Columbus’s youth. I know I have already been impacted myself. Don't just take my word for it though. You can go see them all throughout the summer and fall; here is a schedule of their upcoming events: http://www.transitarts.com/


Journal

 

Our journal will consist of stories and ideas that highlight the heart behind Give Ear. 

 

I Need Sean T, my Workout Video Instructor, and I Need you

(August 31, 2017)

 

Last winter I did a workout video series called T25. I was about to get married, so exercising climbed the ranks of priorities in those dreary cold months. T25 is glorious because each workout is only 25 minutes long. It is also brutal, fast-paced, and it required way too many squats and jumps for me to do in my tiny, dark basement I was living in at the time. I took a little break for a while and have returned to the world of intense at-home workouts lately because my wife is an excellent baker.

There’s a certain irony about Sean T., the high-energy, muscular guy who leads the workout series. While I am sweating and cursing at him in agony while I barely complete the moves he does effortlessly, I realize… I need this guy. Even if he does refer to himself in the 3rd person while motivating me to do “JUST FOUR MORE” ridiculous abdominal exercises. Without him, I’m an average neighborhood jogger at best and a tea-drinking, documentary-watching couch potato at worse… with a bowl of my wife’s cookies on my end-table. If there’s one thing I know for sure, there is absolutely no way I would push towards my physical potential without him. I have a gym membership collecting dust; when I do use it, there’s a better chance you’ll find me in the sauna listening to podcasts than you will pumping out reps bench-pressing.

I may scream at Sean T. while I complete his vicious workouts, but if it weren’t for him… there’s no way I’d get in shape. I need a motivator and a guide. I need somebody who knows what the heck they’re doing. I need a reference point.

This reminds me of so many other areas of life. I need help. I need other perspectives. I need you. We all do. If there’s anything we can collectively agree upon, maybe it’s that we are often wrong and misguided. This is why we need other voices, perspectives, and experiences.

Shitstorm would be a very generous description of our nation in the last year or so. My social media timelines scream “US VS. THEM!” Everyone wants to win… I worry the gap between “sides” is widening faster and deeper than ever.

It is so tempting to join the outcry for justice and unity but not want the commitment that will come with listening to one another. To know how I ought to work out, I need Sean T. to show me. To know how to navigate the world, I need a variety of reference points. I need yours.

How freeing would it be to hold loosely enough to our personal convictions that we could have a civil conversation with someone we knew we disagreed with?

I will talk to anyone about anything” is probably the most powerful sign I have read in the last two years. Can we sit at each other’s tables again? Can we care more about togetherness than rightness? We may actually be able to talk about anything if that were the case. That’s what I want my table to look like. I’d love if there were lots and lots of open seats.

If I relied only on my immediate emotional response to events and ideas, I would create quite the inconsistent and confusing mess. My mind changes so much that I may not even agree with what I’m writing by the time this paragraph is over. Sometimes a new perspective challenges me and leads to discovery. Sometimes a new idea further confirms the place where I already was. My T25 workouts always leave me sore and aching.

The interesting thing is… these workouts don’t leave me feeling changed right away. I don’t complete “DYNAMIC CORE 2.0” and see much of anything, really. I guess we’re all still looking for that video series, huh? Maybe that’s the beauty in the whole process, though. It’s a process. And often… a painful one.

If I keep letting Sean T. lead the way, maybe I’ll feel stronger over time. Maybe I’ll see some results and feel healthier and more energetic. Maybe if we engage in the uncomfortable dinner conversations with our family members we disagree with… we’ll see some growth over time, too. I think we’ll at least see fewer empty chairs at our table. The tables that prioritize connection over rightness will begin to fill up faster and faster.

I hope you’ll sit with me.

cw


 

The Storytellers

Combining our passions of writing, video, photography, and design, we hope to tell the stories of people in our community. We hope to listen to, celebrate, and share the stories of others, and we hope this will change the community and the world.

What others are saying:

"These guys are three of the most attentive, compassionate, and curious people I know. My brother Chris has consistently been those things throughout his life, and even as a small kid he always suited up as a communicator and a peacemaker. Ever since meeting Zach and Andrew for the first time five/ish years ago, I have been struck by seeing those same qualities that I always adored in my brother growing up. In a politically polarized and often bleak-seeming world, I am given renewed hope that these three guys are endeavoring to pool their creative talents and establish a community-oriented platform focused on connection. Humans from all walks of life have valid experiences and worthy stories to tell. Give Ear will seek to illustrate the humanity in all of us."

Drew Williams, local musician: Deadwood Floats/ Fellow Hollow ---> http://deadwoodfloats.com/https://fellowhollow.bandcamp.com/

“In a world where most people are talking past each other, these guys are cultivating the sort of space that all of us long for…a safe place to be seen and heard as we really are.  I’m not sure there is any better starting point to bring more love into the world. I’m a big fan of Give Ear…especially because I trust the hearts of the guys behind it! They genuinely care about hearing people’s real perspectives on life and are passionate about changing the world for good.  I learn so much from hearing other people's stories and I’m guessing as you follow along with Give Ear, you will too.”

Jeff Blackburn, director: Fearless Questions, Inc. ---> http://fearlessquestions.org/

"This is a GORGEOUS website and a terrific idea! I can’t wait until these guys start sharing more of this—it’s something I so agree with and believe in. Three people with complementary talents... I love everything this stands for!”

- John Montesi, Freelance writer, world-traveler, father to everyone's favorite dog, Hank ---> https://johntesi.com/


CHRIS WILLIAMS

Chris is a 2nd grade Special Ed. Teacher living in Columbus, Ohio. He scares his loved ones with his amount of coffee intake, loves his wife like crazy, and wishes his cat's vet visits were cheaper. He has a tight-knit family with as consistent of a GroupMe chat as they come. Many would say he's a walking "dad joke." He is passionate about writing and putt putt golf. Chris would love to see the social media platform become a quieter, more engaged space of listening and sharing ideas rather than wanting to be first or "right." This is what led him to create Give Ear.

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ZACH GIBSON

Zach is a media designer living in Columbus, Ohio. He has the most epic night-terrors known to man and has the best childhood stories you've ever heard. It is safe to say he spent more time playing computer games in his bathtub as a kid than anybody reading this. He has a deep and loyal love for his big family. He is passionate about storytelling and capturing raw moments through video and photographs. He shoots weddings year-round and creates media for a local jewelry store. Zach would love to see people experience freedom in their expression and truly be heard. This is what led him to create Give Ear.

ANDREW SIDERS

Andrew is a jack of all trades. He could very well be living in Australia right now and nobody would be surprised. At the same time, he is an incredible, loyal friend. He might have the best smile in the world. Every mother and grandmother loves him as if he's their own. He currently works about six jobs while going to school. He is passionate about landscape design, running at odd hours, and journaling. Andrew (or Andre, or Burt) would love to see people get in touch with their hearts and to ask tough questions about what they are really feeling/how they are doing. This is what led him to create Give Ear.