20 Years of Words Alive

Change the Story of Your Life: Bijan Nowroozian

This post is part of our series in celebration of Words Alive’s 20th anniversary and our new brand promise: Change the Story of Your Life. Whether you are a donor, volunteer, participant, or all the above, Words Alive has a meaningful impact on your life story. Follow this link to get involved in the next 20 years of Words Alive.

An image of Bijan teaching fellow volunteers about a strategy he uses in ABG sessions.

An image of Bijan teaching fellow volunteers about a strategy he uses in ABG sessions.

After graduating from college with a Bachelors in English Education, I pursued my education in Graduate School while working for the public library. As time went by, I felt that all of the skills I learned were waning. Furthermore, I had always wanted to work with children who came from tough backgrounds, as a way to give back to those who helped me throughout my childhood.

You see, a major reason I have earned 3 college degrees, have a 4.0 GPA in graduate school, and plan to earn a PhD afterwards, is due to all the teachers and volunteers at my school who never let me think less of what I can achieve. I grew up in one of the lowest income and highest gang-ridden neighborhoods of East County San Diego. Throughout my youth, I was beaten up for "talking too smart," robbed of the little lunch money I had, witnessed friends be shot/killed, and had guns put to my head more times than helmets were. No matter what my situation was, it was the teachers, school volunteers, and librarians around me that instilled a belief that where I came from would never define who I was as a person.

This belief holds steadfast in everything I do as an adult today. Every time I have the honor of entering a classroom full of amazing and brilliant children who are eager to learn, it fills me with so much joy. Through Words Alive, I've been able to use a variety of amazing literary works to guide the next generation in literary, social, and personal development. Furthermore, I've been able to learn more about myself and my own passion for helping others. If I can make any impact on these children's lives, however small, everything will have been worth it. 

Words Alive in many ways has given me a new voice to connect with children who may have shared similarly hard upbringings as my own. And with Words Alive, I'll be able to show these children that they have their own voice, and the world is eager to hear it.