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HARNESSING THE POWER OF STORIES TO CULTIVATE EMPATHY & UNDERSTANDING, INSPIRE MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS, AND HELP PEOPLE FEEL LESS LONELY.

I KNOW LONELY PROJECT

Weaving its way through our stories, loneliness is a shared human experience. These experiences form the narratives we share. And listening to the stories of others forms connection. Neuroscience has found that our brains are shaped by stories. Stories move us toward empathy. Stories connect us together. 

Stories remind us that we are not as alone as we may feel.

As a young athlete, Abbi struggled with a severe eating disorder. As she shares her story, she hopes to shed a light on the loneliness of eating disorders and remind others that there is hope and healing even when things feel dark.

this month's story

Abbi Hamlin

story Themes:

Loneliness, disordered eating (anorexia), athlete mental health, friendship, hope, therapy, physical health & nutrition 

View her story >

Coming from a childhood of adversity, Chris shares how he began striving for success by pursuing money, position, and relationships. But it was only when he gained understanding for the value of his story that he feels he was able to truly find success.

september's story

chris cruz

story Themes:

Loneliness, adverse childhood, success, single parent household, mindset, immigrant, resilience

View his story >

A near fatal car accident changed everything for 12 year old Kelly. After losing the use of her right arm, Kelly’s story shares how she’s continued to push through the impossible in order to pursue her dreams as a one-armed photographer and business woman.

October's Story

Kelly Lemon

story Themes:

Loneliness, physical disabilities, bullying, community, perseverance, chronic pain, mindset

View her story >

In his 100 years of life, Mike has a wealth of wisdom to share. Whether it was his time serving in World War II, his years as a farmer, or his career as an educator, Mike shares that generosity, friendship, and connection is what makes life rich.

NOVEMBER'S STORY

Mike Elavsky

story Themes:

Loneliness, veteran, friendship, generosity, grief and loss

View his story >

As an ambitious high school student, Apuroopa is a 5x self-published author and mental health advocate. She shares about her experience with friendships, being the “new kid” and how fostering connections and a positive mindset changes everything.

december's story:

Apuroopa Kavikondala

story Themes:

Loneliness, friendship, mental health, being a positive influence in the world, family, mindset 

View her story >

As a suicide attempt survivor and someone who has lived with depression, Kevin has taken his pain and now uses it for the purpose of helping others. As a suicide prevention advocate, he shares how one man changed his life by uttering the words “Hey, wait a minute” and standing with him for 92 minutes on the Golden Gate Bridge. 


JANUARY'S STORY

Kevin Berthia

story Themes:

Loneliness, suicide, mental health, depression, adoption, therapy,
self-awareness

View his story >

Understanding the deep hurt that comes from bullying and feeling unseen, Tyler shares his story of loneliness. His story explains how where we feel seen, where we feel accepted and where we feel belonging are often the places we can be the most authentic. 

february's story

Tyler bjork

story Themes:

Loneliness, bullying, LGBTQIA+, feeling unseen, finding belonging, serving others

View his story >

Coming from a Mexican-American family of ten, Samael (Sammy) shares how he's experienced loneliness as a high school student while embracing a society that is not tied to his culture of origin. He's realized his story is just beginning and he's determined to write a good one.

April's Story

sammy Vazquez

story Themes:

Loneliness, discovering your story, family, vulnerability, planning for the future, cultural differences

When her story took a different direction than she expected, Lorie found herself alone at the darkest point in her life. A friend reaching out during a moment of crisis ended up changing the trajectory for her. Her hope is that her story will give others hope that there is light even when you can’t see it.

may's Story

Lorie LeDoux

story Themes:

Loneliness, suicide, depression, divorce, military, being the strong friend

abbi hamlin

As a young athlete, Abbi struggled with a severe eating disorder. As she shares her story, she hopes to shed a light on the loneliness of eating disorders and remind others that there is hope and healing even when things feel dark.

story Themes:

Loneliness, disordered eating (anorexia), athlete mental health, friendship, hope, therapy, physical health & nutrition 

view abbi's story

chris cruz

Coming from a childhood of adversity, Chris shares how he began striving for success by pursuing money, position, and relationships. But it was only when he gained understanding for the value of his story that he feels he was able to truly find success.

story Themes:

Loneliness, adverse childhood, success, single parent household, mindset, immigrant, resilience

view chris' story

kelly lemon

A near fatal car accident changed everything for 12 year old Kelly. After losing the use of her right arm, Kelly’s story shares how she’s continued to push through the impossible in order to pursue her dreams as a one-armed photographer and business woman.

story Themes:

Loneliness, physical disabilities, bullying, community, perseverance, chronic pain, mindset

view kelly's story

mike Elavsky

In his 100 years of life, Mike has a wealth of wisdom to share. Whether it was his time serving in the World War II, his years as a farmer, or his career as an educator, Mike shares that generosity, friendship, and connection is what makes life rich.

story Themes:

Loneliness, war/veteran, friendship, generosity, grief/loss

view mike's story

Apuroopa Kavikondala

As an ambitious high school student, Apuroopa is a 5x self-published author and mental health advocate. She shares about her experience with friendships, being the “new kid” and how fostering connections and a positive mindset changes everything.

story Themes:

Loneliness, friendship, mental health, being a positive influence in the world, family culture, mindset 

view APUROOPA's story

kevin berthia

As a suicide attempt survivor and someone who has lived with depression, Kevin has taken his pain and now uses it for the purpose of helping others. As a suicide prevention advocate, he shares how one man changed his life by uttering the words “Hey, wait a minute” and standing with him for 92 minutes on the Golden Gate Bridge. 

story Themes:

Loneliness, suicide, mental health, depression, adoption, self-awareness

view kevin's story

tyler bjork

Understanding the deep hurt that comes from bullying and feeling unseen, Tyler shares his story of loneliness. His story explains how where we feel seen, where we feel accepted and where we feel belonging are often the places we can be the most authentic. 

story Themes:

Loneliness, bullying, LGBTQIA+, feeling unseen, finding belonging, serving others

view tyler's story

sammy vasquez

Coming from a Mexican-American family of ten, Samael (Sammy) shares how he's experienced loneliness as a high school student while embracing a society that is not tied to his culture of origin. He's realized his story is just beginning and he's determined to write a good one.

story Themes:

Loneliness, discovering your story, family, vulnerability, motivation, planning for the future, cultural differences

Lorie ledoux

When her story took a different direction than she expected, Lorie found herself alone at the darkest point in her life. A friend reaching out during a moment of crisis ended up changing the trajectory for her. Her hope is that her story will give others hope that there is light even when you can’t see it.

story Themes:

Loneliness, suicide, depression, divorce, military, being the strong friend

KEA YAMAMOTO

Meet Kealani Yamamoto. Kea’s story shares about her experience being diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a young teenager and learning to thrive on the other side of her diagnosis. She was a superstar athlete and runner in high school and college. Now she runs a small business, where she shares her love for the outdoors and art through custom jewelry pieces.


story Themes:

Bipolar disorder, friendship, in-patient treatment

View her story >

Mario Gonzalez

Meet Mario Gonzalez. He is a creative who loves photography, filmmaking, and documenting people and stories. Losing one of his parents at 13 years old deeply impacted his life, but he has learned the importance of seeking out community and mentorship. Now as a first generation high school graduate and a senior in college, Mario reflects on the decisions— and more importantly, the people— that shaped him into who he is today.

story Themes:

Drugs, grief, anxiety, depression, mentorship

View his story >

VIK CHOPRA

My name is Vik! I am a gay and formerly incarcerated film-maker. I believe that connection is essential for grounding into our true, authentic selves. There was a time in the not so distant past that I almost lost my life to addiction. But today, my life is a blessing, as I am deeply connected with some of the most amazing people who inspire me and make me...me!

story Themes:

Addiction, crime & illegal acts, incarceration

View his story >

MAC & HAILEY POTTS

Meet Mac and Hailey Potts. Mac & Hailey Potts grew up as musicians and music connected them. They ended up getting married and now they both do music full time. Mac is a blind recording artist and Hailey is a music teacher. While they have started a family and now have three kids, they still love to connect with each other and others through music!

story Themes:

Physical disability, fitting in, interests and hobbies

View their story >

Danny Rigsby

I'm Danny Rigsby! Ever since I was a little kid, I have played basketball and I currently play basketball in college. From the outside, I sometimes looked like I had it all together, but there have been plenty of times I felt lonely. Everyone at times is lonely. But you have to reach out to people you trust and they will give you support. Life is a marathon and you have to keep on running until the end.

story Themes:

Adoption, Racism, Overcoming Adversity, Suicide Loss

View his story >

Mariah Paz

I am Mariah! I am a high school junior and used to be a mean girl. Since then, I have learned to see people for who they really are and build relationships with them. I have experienced some difficult times in my life, but finding connection with others has helped me through those hard times. I love wrestling for school. And I enjoy connecting with my community while working at my Aunt’s coffee shop! 

story Themes:

Bullying, suicide, abuse, fitting in, runaway

View her story >

Ethan wall

Meet Ethan Wall. Ethan is a pianist and high school basketball player currently pursuing a college degree in music. Growing up in a small town, he learned not to judge a book by its cover and connect with people that were outside of his normal friendship circles.

story Themes:

Loneliness, isolation, physical health challenges, mental health challenges, depression

View his story >

Izzy Boring is mental health advocate and college basketball player and student. A hard piece of her story has been losing her boyfriend to suicide during her senior year of high school, her journey since has been learning to pick up the pieces while leaning on her support system. She believes in seeking out little joys in life and wants to remind others that it's okay not to be okay.

Izzy Boring

story Themes:

Loneliness, suicide loss, mental health, grief

View her story >

LYNDSEY SPRINKLE

I am Lyndsey. I am a recovery addict and ex-convict. I have gone from a life of active addiction, a prison sense, ego and pride to a life of recovery, redemption, and a fulfilling career. I enjoy traveling throughout the states and sharing my experience, strength and hope to show individuals anything is possible if you reach out and connect with those around you. 

story Themes:

Loneliness, physical injury, isolation, drugs and substance abuse, incarceration, recovery

View her story >

KEA YAMAMOTO

Meet Kealani Yamamoto. Kea’s story shares about her experience being diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a young teenager and learning to thrive on the other side of her diagnosis. She was a superstar athlete and runner in high school and college. Now she runs a small business, where she shares her love for the outdoors and art through custom jewelry pieces.

story Themes:

Bipolar disorder, friendship, in-patient treatment

view kea's story

Mario Gonzalez

Meet Mario Gonzalez. He is a creative who loves photography, filmmaking, and documenting people and stories. Losing one of his parents at 13 years old deeply impacted his life, but he has learned the importance of seeking out community and mentorship. Now as a first generation high school graduate and a senior in college, Mario reflects on the decisions— and more importantly, the people— that shaped him into who he is today.

story Themes:

Drugs, alcohol, grief, loss of parent, anxiety, depression, mentorship

view mario's story

VIK CHOPRA

My name is Vik! I am a gay and formerly incarcerated film-maker. I believe that connection is essential for grounding into our true, authentic selves. There was a time in the not so distant past that I almost lost my life to addiction. But today, my life is a blessing, as I am deeply connected with some of the most amazing people who inspire me and make me...me!

story Themes:

Drinking, drugs, addiction, homelessness, illegal acts, suicide

view vik's story

MAC & HAILEY POTTS

We are Mac and Hailey Potts! We both grew up as musicians and music connected us. We ended up getting married and now we both do music full time. Mac is a blind recording artist and Hailey is a music teacher. We started a family with two kids (and one on the way), but we still love to connect with each other and others through music!

story Themes:

Physical disability, fitting in, interests and hobbies

view their story

Danny Rigsby

My name is Danny. Ever since I was a little kid, I have played basketball and I currently play basketball in college. From the outside, I sometimes looked like I had it all together, but there have been plenty of times I felt lonely. Everyone at times is lonely. But you have to reach out to people you trust and they will give you support. Life is a marathon and you have to keep on running until the end.

story Themes:

Adoption, Race, Racism, Injuries, Suicide, Making someone proud

view danny's story

Mariah Paz

Meet Mariah Paz. Mariah identified as a mean girl in school. Since then, she has learned to see people for who they really are and build relationships with them. From losing a close friend to suicide to struggling with her own mental health to becoming a teen mom, her story hasn't been easy. However she has found finding connection with others has helped her through those hard times.

story Themes:

Bullying, suicide, abuse, fitting in, runaway

view Mariah's story

Ethan wall

Meet Ethan Wall. Ethan shares about the experience that led to inspire his mom, Kristin Wall to start Only7Seconds. Growing up in a small town, he's learned not to judge a book by its cover and how to connect with people that were outside of his normal friendship circles. Ethan is currently working as a graduate assistant as he pursues his master's degree at Northwest University.

story Themes:

Loneliness, friendships, physical and mental health challenges, depression

view ethan's story

LYNDSEY SPRINKLE

Lyndsey Sprinkle is a recovery addict and ex-convict. After experiencing a near-fatal car accident in high school, Lyndsey found herself caught up in a lifestyle of addition, Now with a career helping other addicts in recovery, Lyndsey has found hope on the other side of addiction. She wants to use her story and experiences to remind others that it's okay to ask for help.

story Themes:

Loneliness, physical injury, isolation, drugs and substance abuse, incarceration, recovery

view lyndsey's story

As part of the I Know Lonely Project, we release a monthly podcast featuring a candid conversation with each storyteller along with a bonus episode from a special guest. Hosted by executive director, Luke Wall.

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*Only7Seconds is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are 100% tax deductible. EIN: 87-1356736

there are so many more stories to tell.

shop the I know LONELY merch COLLECTION >

And you can help us share them with the world by supporting the I Know Lonely Project with a monthly gift. Your donation allows us to continue releasing each story, produce the podcast, and share resources.

Consider supporting this project and join us as we continue to share stories and create a world without loneliness.

+ Read More

Meet Abbi Hamlin, our season 2 storyteller for the I Know Lonely Project this month. As a middle school athlete, Abbi struggled with a severe eating disorder. Through her journey, she shares about the power of friendships in her story and how connecting with the right therapist changed her healing journey. Now, Abbi works as […]

Abbi’s Story: I Know Lonely

March 1, 2024

+ Read More

Meet Tyler Bjork, our season 2 storyteller for the I Know Lonely Project this month. Understanding the deep hurt that comes from bullying and feeling unseen, Tyler shares his story of loneliness. His story explains how where we feel seen, where we feel accepted and where we feel belonging are often the places we can […]

Tyler’s Story: I Know Lonely Project

February 1, 2024

I know lonely,
SO, WHAT's YOUR STORY?

share your story with us!

SHare your story

We know it takes courage to share about the life experiences you've walked through, especially the ones that are marked with difficulty and loneliness. Thank you for trusting us with your story. It matters, because you matter.

Thank you for bravely sharing your story with us.

Throughout each of our lives, we have all experienced trials, heartbreak, success and victories. One of the most powerful tools we posses is the ability to connect with others by sharing our experiences. We believe every person has a story that is worthy of being told. So here's your chance- what's your story?