Thu 17 Jun 21
University of Essex creative writing student, Joe Holmes, has been selected to join the Advisory Board of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.
The foundation was started in 2012 by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, and is committed to supporting the mental health of young people by working with them to build a kinder, braver world.
Joe is one of just 29 young people from around the world joining the advisory board after being picked out from hundreds of applicants.
Some of the core values of the foundation are making kindness cool, validating the emotions of all young people, and eliminating the stigma around mental health.
Joe said: “As a massive fan of Lady Gaga’s music and mission, I’ve followed the work of Born This Way Foundation for many years. I’ve witnessed their efforts towards eliminating mental health stigma, making kindness cool, validating the emotions of young people and encouraging us to thrive - not just survive."
“When I saw the opportunity to be a part of the first-ever global Advisory Board, I dropped everything to apply. Everything I had been doing, whether it be writing poetry or asking a musician about their mental health in an interview, aligned with the values of Born This Way Foundation.”
Joe realised that much of his work related closely to what Born This Way Foundation is aiming to achieve. Having suffered from mental health struggles in the past he has been an ambassador for kindness throughout his time at the university, including being involved with Rebel, the student media body; hosting TEDx University of Essex and discussing stories with peers. As well as hosting a radio show in his spare time.
In the past Joe has used Creative Writing to express emotion, encouraging others to do the same. This made him the perfect candidate to join the Advisory Board, his application stood out against hundreds of others.
As part of the foundation’s efforts to encourage young people to share their experiences, they created Channel Kindness, a digital safe space where anyone can upload their stories of kindness, resilience, and community. Part of Joe’s role will involve writing stories for this platform to inspire and create hope.
You can read more about Joe and his peers at the Advisory Board as well as share your story on Channel Kindness.