Voice Your Passions
In the short amount of time I’ve considered myself a voiceover artist, I’ve already begun to grasp how easy it can be for VO to consume one’s life. As I’ve shared here before, there’s just so much to learn (it literally never ends), so many ways to improve (it literally never ends), and there’s always one more audition (you guessed it, it literally never ends). If we’re not intentional about how we manage our time, we VO folks could undoubtedly spend every waking moment doing something VO-related. I think we can all agree, as much as we love VO, that’s probably not the healthiest approach. What do they call that thing to shoot for? A work-life balance?
In addition to investing in our VO careers, it’s important to prioritize and protect time for the other significant things in our lives. Things like family and other meaningful relationships and maintaining physical and mental health certainly lead in this category, but I’m also referring to things we’re personally passionate about, things we enjoy simply because we enjoy them.
I doubt it’ll come as a surprise to anyone who knows me or follows this blog that I’m passionate about all things Nerd. More often than not, my spare time is spent reading hefty fantasy and/or sci-fi novels, watching (and re-watching (and re-re-watching)) the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing what some would consider overly complicated board games, or writing about my own fantastical worlds in which dragons, mages, and strange humanoid animal species run amok.
Accompanying my deeply ingrained nerdiness, I also have passions that are a little more rooted in the reality of the here and now. For nearly a decade, I’ve lived in Lesotho—a tiny landlocked country in southern Africa—where I’ve been a part of non-profit work seeking to care for and assist orphaned, abandoned, and otherwise vulnerable children. The bulk of my time here has been spent working at an orphanage that primarily cares for children between the ages of 0 and 5. Throughout the years, I was privileged to witness countless children become a part of a forever family, either through reunification or adoption. More recently, I’ve begun working for a different non-profit, also serving vulnerable children, but with a greater emphasis on a family-based care model.
Unlike the institutional care model (think traditional orphanages), family-based care attempts to approach orphan care more holistically. As the name suggests, it stands on the foundational principle that the best place for a child to live and grow is in the context of a family. Unsurprisingly, robust bodies of research show that nurturing family environments are correlated with positive outcomes for the development and overall well-being of children. Studies consistently find that children raised in a family structure (biological, foster, or adoptive) exhibit better physical, intellectual, and developmental growth than children living within an institution.
The underlying point of family-based care is to address the issues that cause children to be separated from their families in the first place—poverty, disability, abuse, etc.— and put in place programs and structures of support that help prevent it. The ultimate desire is to see children thriving, but instead of solely focusing on their most basic day-to-day needs (which, of course, still need to be met as well), this model seeks to strengthen entire families and whole communities to bring about change that lasts from generation to generation.
One of the neat things about VO is its incredible versatility; it’s not hard to find an overlap between our passions and VO. I’m not advocating that we have to find these overlaps—as I said, it’s also good to enjoy things for the sake of enjoyment—but it’s a cool perk all the same and something that can be incredibly rewarding and beneficial to others.
I have a heart for vulnerable children and their families. I’ve been gifted with the opportunity to participate firsthand in work that seeks to help them feel seen, safe, and supported. My time in Lesotho won’t last forever, though. In fact, my family and I anticipate moving back to the US in the next year or so. Regardless of where we live, our desire to see care reform for orphans progress will remain. I’ve seen and experienced too much to simply forget and move on. That said, it excites me to think of the ways I can continue to support this cause in the future through my VO endeavors. I look forward to partnering with more non-profits and other organizations who are doing good and important work in this arena. I’m eager to lend my voice to these groups and help them tell their stories, as well as educating others about the ways they can get involved and help make a difference in the lives of children, families, and communities around the world.
What are some of your personal passions? Have you found opportunities to pair them with VO?
Until next time, friends, keep telling stories!
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Voiceover Artist | Storyteller
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