Sometimes It’s Okay to be a Pretty Couch Potato
Sometimes It’s Okay to be a Pretty Couch Potato is a chronic illness blogger and advocate who has lived on daily IV nutrition for over a decade due to Chronic Intestinal Pseudo-Obstruction. While she is considered disabled, she lives a fulfilling life. She loves to share her story with others to educate and encourage empathy from those who may not be familiar with what it’s like to live with chronic illness. She also focuses on building a community among those with similar chronic illnesses. “Sometimes It’s Okay to be a Pretty Couch Potato” is a motto that she lives by and hopes to share its meaning with you!
The Good Fight
The Good Fight is driven by optimism and wants to spread it! This two person book wants to share that it is okay to get help. Megan learned this after needing a team of doctors, family and friends, like Lauren, to maintain in the darkest time. By sharing their stories, Lauren and Megan hope to encourage people to live and take care of themselves physically and emotionally. Megan could have never survived or continued to survive cancer without a positive attitude and mental state. She laughs at stress and herself and continues to fight the good fight!
The Awakening is the story of Debbie, a white female who came from a place of not recognizing her privilege and Kevin, who is biracial and played a major role in her journey. Over the last several years, Debbie has become an ally for racial equality, gender equality, disability rights, and overall inclusion. They would like to share their origins, a-ha moments, and impacts on their lives.
Becoming a Writer: Small Steps, Stumbles, and an Occasional Leaps
Becoming a Writer: Small Steps, Stumbles, and an Occasional Leaps believes in the power of the written word, the power of stories, and the power of individual lives. Next to horses and cats, books are her favorite things. She enjoys exploring experiences through actual people and through listening (REALLY listening) to enlarge her world. She looks forward to talking with a stranger about what we each do, common experiences, and the intersection of our lives.
The Way We Live Is Like the Way We Eat
The Way We Live Is Like the Way We Eat is a book with many chapters and many pages, including topics on life, well-being, cultures, and languages. He has written a novel focused on self-development. He enjoys discussing his Chinese background and how and where knowledge is used. He is excited to share his stories!
The Silent Servant
The Silent Servant wants to share the ways being a firefighter gives him joy and weighs on him. By sharing some of the challenges, some of the joys, and some of the expectations you experience as a public servant, he hopes to shine a positive life on firefighters and public servants while encouraging a fire safe lifestyle.
Dramatic Changes: The Growth of Theatre in Northwest Arkansas
Dramatic Changes: The Growth of Theatre in Northwest Arkansas is the director of theatre at Fayetteville High School and has over 41 years’ experience teaching theatre. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with both a Bachelor of Science in Education and Master of Arts in Communication. In 2014, he was named FHS Teacher of the Year, received Theatre Squared's 2015 Arts-in Education Innovator Award, and was named the 2016 University of Arkansas Outstanding Alumni for the College of Education and Health Professions. He would like to share his experiences with the growth of educational and community theatre in NWA over the past 35 years.
From the Hindukush Mountains to the Ozark Hills
From the Hindukush Mountains to the Ozark Hills is an immigrant who was born and raised in Afghanistan and spent most of his life in Kabul, the overpopulated capital of Afghanistan. In his last 8 years of living in North America, he has only heard the negative stories of Afghanistan: bombs, deaths, drugs, and corruption. While those are some of the realities on the ground, it does not represent the whole story of this proud nation. He would like to share stories that we do not hear about in our media outlets to counter those negative stories with stories of life, sacrifice, survival, home, family, and resilience.
The Missionary (Kid) Position
The Missionary (Kid) Position is a post-punk biracial transplant, without a hometown, fresh out of beauty school. A storyteller at heart, he has drafted a novel and a memoir about the funny (and sometimes cringeworthy) tales from his sheltered upbringing and his recovery from it. He grew up in three radically different regions of the U.S. before turning 18 and has lived abroad. The Missionary (Kid) Position will share lessons learned from his tumultuous twenties, observations as a wallflower, and the musings of someone who constantly seems to be in the wrong place at the right time.
Tania la Guerillera
Tania la Guerillera is a Mexican immigrant who came here illegally. After living most of her life undocumented, she earned her citizenship a few years ago. She is currently a 7th grade math teacher and is working on her masters in educational administration. Some of her family still struggle with being undocumented and her parents don’t speak English. Her husband is a police officer in Springdale who works to be a friendly face to the Hispanic and Marshallese community. Her and her husband struggle to maintain their culture while raising four children. She would like to share her story of breaking through barriers and stereotypes to be happy and successful without losing who she is.
After taking her mother to every medical appointment, scan and treatment and researching treatment options for years, Cancer Thoughts was diagnosed with breast cancer herself. She has learned from these experiences and would like to share what cancer patients need from friends, family and extended communities of support. It can be frustrating not to know what to say, but being honest and considerate in your communication helps during these times. She will discuss the specifics of her journey and answer questions that newly diagnosed patients or the simply curious have about her treatment and experiences.
I Did Not Make This Up
I Did Not Make This Up adopted her daughter at the age of almost 50 after several failed adoption attempts. She would like to share her personal adoption struggles and encourage others facing the hardships of the adoption process. After finding a road through her grief, she sought to support birth mothers going through difficult times and making difficult decisions. She believes sharing can empower others.
Third Cultured Kid
Third Cultured Kid is an Asian American who was born and raised in Northwest Arkansas and is the daughter of a Laotian refugee and a Thai immigrant. She grew up struggling with her identity of Laotian, Thai, and American. Her identity was challenged further when she moved to Thailand in 2014 to live and work with a community where she looked like those around her, but felt disconnected because she was culturally American. She now works for a refugee resettlement agency in Fayetteville, Canopy NWA, where she helps families fleeing war, persecution, and natural disasters overcome adversity and find hope.
Advocating Rolodex went from a self-conscious student to a passionate advocate by surrounding herself with people more talented than her and learning from them. She is now involved in ten organizations in addition to having a job she loves. Her life began when she started volunteering and saying yes to new opportunities. Her passion to help other has paved an unforgettable path. She hopes to enlighten others and motivate her community to get involved.
Living the Dream
Living the Dream is a graduate of the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. After graduation, he opened Con Quesos even though he had no previous restaurant experience. He was inspired by other successful entrepreneurs, including immigrants and others who had no formal training or business experience. He managed to first lose and then regain control of Con Quesos. He will share his story of adversity, as well as backstories and passion from the other restaurants he created, Juice Palm and Plomo Quesadilla Bar. He hopes to inspire young entrepreneurs in Arkansas to take advantage of opportunities in the state.
Overcomer is a mother of two and a wife. She works at Mercy Hospital and Northwest Technical Institute as a surgical technologist. She has a passion for helping others and spends time volunteering for numerous nonprofits and organizations in Northwest Arkansas. Though her life has been challenging, she is never discouraged and finds support through her faith. Her family motto is "every cloud has a silver lining." She hopes that by sharing her story she can give encouragement, even for just one person.
Bounce Back Bella
Bounce Back Bella was raised on Air Force bases and is an Army veteran. She is a survivor of sexual assault, which she experienced while serving in the military. She repressed her experience for decades before finding help. Later in life, her husband developed paranoid schizophrenia and her son was born with severe developmental disorders. She is a life-long learner and put herself through law school. Although she has dealt with many challenges in her life, she keeps bouncing back and finding joy in her experiences.
Officer Kyle Jeney
Office Kyle Jeney is a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officer, meaning he specializes in mental health. He is interested in the community asking questions concerning mental health and law enforcement’s response. He is constantly educating himself on the expectations of the community and hopes to hear from those with a family history of mental illness and learn from their experiences.
I Can't See the Light, but I Am Not Lost
I Can’t See the Light, but I Am Not Lost is a Fulbright Scholar studying for her master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Arkansas. Education has changed her life, but the road to get there was not an easy one. Her life so far has included being orphaned, homeless, raped, having an abortion, being blinded, and starting school for the first time at age 17. She was able to overcome these obstacles to get where she is now. She hopes that sharing her story will motivate and encourage people to share their own stories.
I, the Worst of Them All
I, the Worst of Them All has made many mistakes in his life, but has learned from each of them. After working as a journalist in post war El Salvador, Korea, and Washington, DC and experiencing love and loss, he found a home in Northwest Arkansas. He currently works for Canopy where he people heal and navigate America. He is a learner, a writer, and a father. He wants to share that life is sometimes sad, but you only have one chance to live it.
Foreigner’s Journey is a Chinese descendant, born in Indonesia and living in Arkansas. The stories of her grandparents’ journeys emigrating from China and Indonesia have encouraged and inspired her. Their stories are a part of her own stories; their strength and perseverance are her support and comfort. She is eager to share and hopes to inspire someone to beat the odds and survive to success.
Navigating the White Man's World as a Person of Color Entrepreneur
Navigating the White Man’s World as a Person of Color Entrepreneur is an Indigenous person who presents as White. As a woman, she has learned to successfully navigate living and creating successful businesses in the White patriarchal paradigm. From the early 1980s to the present, she is living proof of what it takes to survive and thrive in a White man’s world, including successfully navigating going back to school as a non-traditional student at Smith College. She would like to share how she turned perceived deficits into assets to create successful businesses.
The Pretty Party Girl
The Pretty Party Girl was an alcoholic mother to three children and has been sober for almost 22 years. She hopes that sharing her story of struggling with alcoholism will plant a seed and will help change a life. Throughout her journey, she has found hope, forgiveness, and lots of love.