Joshua’s Road to Happiness

Joshua’s “Road to Happiness” is one of our submissions to Radio Diaries: Teen Diaries Contest. Two teens will be selected to be recorded and aired on NPR.

[divider] The deadline to submit is May 31st! You can submit your story on the storytelling site Cowbird. You could have the chance to be apart of a project that’s been helping youth tell their stories for almost 2o years.
You can find instructions for submissions at Radio Diaries website.

“I still want to live a life that makes me happy… I am who I am and no one can change that…”

Joshua Richardson- The kNOw Youth Media 

People have asked me all my life the same question that you hear in kindergarten. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I always told them that I wanted to be me, unlike my friends who wanted to be garbage collectors or astronauts, I told them that I want to be me and let nothing stand in the way of happiness.

Ever since then, the question has evolved not only for me but for everyone. We have had to change the question from who we want to be to who are we now. This is who I am. I was born in Fresno, California in 1997 and I moved to Joplin, Missouri when I was about 6 years old. I lived there most of my life but I moved back and had to make new friends and new connections with people I had never met before.

I went through most of school being bullied and tried for accusations that I, myself, didn’t know were true. Going through life living as a homosexual and being different from other people makes it harder for you to be friends with some people. Sure the world has become more accepting of the LGBTQ community, but it doesn’t change the fact that you still feel so far away from everyone else. Day after day the bullying got worse until one day it got so bad that I had to switch schools.

Towards the end of freshman year, I was diagnosed with Chronic Pancreatitis and spent all of the summer in the hospital and subsequently being hospitalized twice every month for a week or more. I ended up having to switch to homeschooling in order to keep up with my classes.

To this day, I still want to live a life that makes me happy and I still have my dream to be me when I grow up and to just be happy. I have my dreams of going to medical school to be a nurse. I find it hard to live in a life where not many people are like you or can accept who you are. I am who I am and no one can change that because I like who I am and it gets to a point that everything that has happened and will happen is another obstacle that can only make me stronger.

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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