One student’s hardship is
another’s inspiration

Facing life’s challenges and surviving – even thriving

“I turned something that caused emotional pain to myself and my family, I turned it into something better...” True Story contributor
True Stories are true video stories of people who have faced one of 700 life challenges covered in our program. Ripple Effects pays youth and educator storytellers, as well as producers, to create and use the videos in our programs. From bullying, to learning empathy, to overcoming addiction, these stories create an emotional connection with our program users and provide real-life examples for others facing similar problems.

Contribute or produce a first person True Story

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True Story Examples

Screen shots and transcripts of some True Stories from Ripple Effects for Teens


“I came to the US when I was 13 and for two years I watched kids going to school. And at age 15, I decided I needed an education, but in order to do that I needed a signature from a guardian, so I convinced an older friend to do that. One day a counselor was talking about Berkeley, and, since that day I wanted to go there. But the counselor said that I couldn’t go, that by the time I finished high school I, my English wouldn’t be good enough. But, inside me I knew that I, I could do it, so I started studying hard to fulfill the requirements.

By my junior year I applied to UC Berkeley and I got accepted and you know what? I got 24,000 dollars of scholarship and, I graduated.”

Cause and Effect

“I was eighteen years old, I was full of too much vigor and spunk to worry about anything happening to me. Guns used to make me feel powerful. Make me feel unstoppable. We were coming back from a club and we ended up gettin’ into a verbal dispute. And we were drunk and smoking weed. And it escalated and we got out of the car, and when we got back to our turf, got into a fight. And I wupped his-you know-I beat him up. So, ah, he went and got his gun and came back and shot me nine times in the back. Well, what I would I have done differently? I woulda walked away from it, instead of staying there, trying to be brave-like I can’t run when my life is in danger, you know, cause that’s all it amounted to. I used to take walking for granted. Now, I think about it every day.”


“When I was twelve years old I remember having to translate English for my parents. And, I remember feeling really embarrassed-following them around thinking they should be able to do these things, what does a twelve year old know? But a turning point for me was when we took a family vacation to Korea. I remember feeling very helpless not being able to communicate my ideas and not being able to understand people around me. And, I realized and started understanding the difficulties that they have to face every day in a foreign country. So, as I grew older, I began to feel more comfortable with helping them out. And I realized that family should support each other. And this is my way of helping out.”


“I contracted HIV through a partner that I had been sleeping with when I was fourteen, fifteen years old. And through Harvard U. SDT clinic, they gave me a bunch of pamphlets and I picked out the pamphlet that was like the hot pink pamphlet. It was research on how HIV affects the body. The doctor who ran that research, she become my health care provider. She was there if I needed her, called her if I got sick, anything was wrong. I’m taking Combivir, AZT. and 3TC mix, which is helping. Pretty soon I’ll start triple therapy. It’s important that I stick with it and complete all the medication and continuously take it so my body doesn’t become immune to it.” I turned something that caused emotional pain to myself and my family, I turned it into something better by going out and speaking to youth at risk and letting them know it’s out there and it’s affecting them.”

“I turned something that caused emotional pain to myself and my family, I turned it into something better...” True Story contributor