archives

Christa Avampato

I make a living in business and I make a life as a writer, artist, and yogi. I use my business and storytelling skills to build a better world. My first novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, will be published in the Fall of 2017 by Thumbkin Prints, a children's and YA imprint of Possibilities Publishing Co. My creative career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, and financial services. In every experience, I have used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, program, and events to help people live happier, healthier lives. A recovering multi-tasker, I am a proud alum of UPenn (BA) and the Darden School at UVA (MBA). When not in front of my Mac, I’m on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I am proud to New York City my home, and I've been called the happiest New Yorker by friends and strangers alike. They're right. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.
Christa Avampato has written 3833 posts for Christa Avampato

A year of yes: 7 books that inspired my life

Day #1 of books that influenced my life. This book came into my life at a critical point when I was very much trying to figure out what I would do with my life to make this world a better place. 6 months after finishing it, I went to South Africa w/ 30 of my Darden classmates. That trip changed me in ways that I am still discovering all these years later. It made me a writer & storyteller. On his 100th birthday, I am thinking of Nelson Mandela, grateful that we had him in this world. Grateful for his teaching, his wisdom, and his passion. And also sad because we could really use a man that great of heart now.

A Year of Yes: Helping young people who are newcomers to the US make a life here in NYC

What impact are current developments in immigration laws having on New Yorkers? How can we help NYC public high school students resolve their immigration status – and what are their stories?

Join the Immigration Project of Volunteers of Legal Service (VOLS) on Friday, July 27th at Caveat for a lively talk about the current legal landscape and its actual impacts on our clients, as well as a screening of the documentary _4 Stories for New York_. This 29 minute documentary features four clients of the VOLS Immigration Project sharing personal stories about their immigration trajectory, including the role legal assistance played in their lives. Elizabeta Markuci, Director of the Immigration Project at VOLS, will lead a discussion on immigration law developments, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) litigation and legislation.

The mission of the VOLS Immigration Project is to resolve immigration issues for New York City public high school students so that they can work, attend college and have an opportunity to achieve the American Dream. VOLS recruits, trains, and mentors pro bono lawyers to help these youth overcome their immigration issues and give them a chance to succeed. Proceeds of the event benefit the Immigration Project, allowing the Project to continue and augment our important work in securing the immigration status of vulnerable NYC youth.

Tickets available at:
https://volsimmigration.eventbrite.com

Doors 6pm, program 6:30pm. Friday, July 27th, 2018 at Caveat, 21A Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis – arrive at 6:00pm for best seating.

If you cannot attend, please consider making a donation by following the same link for tickets. More information on the Immigration Project is available at http://www.volsprobono.org/projects/immigration-project

A Year of Yes: Oh oh, I’m more than halfway there…

My year of yes is more than halfway done and I’ve got to say that saying yes to everything I possibly can has been both exhilarating and exhausting. It has led me down strange paths that I never would have explored, or would have explored eventually after spending many long hours of planning. In this year of yes, I’m just going for it, perfect or otherwise. (And it’s almost always otherwise.) But I’m also learning to let go of outcomes at breakneck speeds. I’m learning the power of staying present and doing what I can and want to do in the moment. It’s made me much more spontaneous. It’s making my curious brain and extroverted personality to try new things just for their own sake and value and not what they may lead to. And that has been a gift, albeit it a tiring one, that I’m very grateful to receive.

A Year of Yes: You can be the helper

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You’ll always find people who are helping.” -Fred Rogers

I keep coming back to this. I’m so glad we had Mister Rogers. I wish we still did. I’m so grateful for his example. The helpers help us to keep going. And we can follow their lead. No matter how bad things are, we will always feel better, be better, and make the world better if we decide to be the helpers we’re looking for. Nothing gets better unless we get better, and we have the power to do that. Right now, right where we are, with exactly what we have. There is always a way to help. So let’s find it.

A Year of Yes: Kareem Waris Olamilekan is an 11-year-old artist in Nigeria with immense talent

If you need some good news today, feast your eyes on this Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/waspa_art/

I think all of the social media and press circulating about Kareem Waris Olamilekan’s artwork is amazing. And I’d like to do more than just spread the word. How do we help support him as a working artist and help him continue his art education? I’m going to reach out to his school and teacher, and will share more information when I have it.

A Year of Yes: Hannah Gadsby is a role model for storytellers

Like everyone else I know, I am riveted and inspired by Hannah Gadsby’s show, Nanette. (If you haven’t seen it, go to Netflix immediately. I will not at all be offended that you stop reading this blog post because she is genius.) Her words about storytelling are the ones that really got me, and they are powerful advice and wisdom for all of us, and particularly those of us who tell stories in any way, shape, or form.

“I think I have to quit comedy. Because there’s a difference between stories and jokes. Stories have 3 parts: a beginning, middle, and end. Jokes have 2: beginning and middle. You learn from the part of the story you focus on. I need to tell my story. My story has value. I will not allow my story to be destroyed. Stories are our cure.”

A Year of Yes: NYC’s Secrets and Lies returns to Caveat in a month

I’m bonkers excited about the next performance of New York City’s Secrets and Lies on Wednesday, August 8th at 7pm at Caveat, a speakeasy on the lower east side made for intelligent nightlife (with a killer wine and beer list). John Bucher, Leslie Goshko, Ashley Semrick, Erin Hunkemoeller, and our special filmmaker guest are going to wow you with fantastical tales of our amazing city’s history. 3 are true. 1 is a lie. The audience separates fact from fiction.

I made you this trailer video to give you a peek at what it’s like to be at our show. Oh, and a few tips: we have an amazing audience prize from Untapped Cities and our special guest needs you for his new film project so come on down and learn what it’s all about! Tickets on sale now at http://caveat.nyc/event/new-york-citys-secrets-and-lies-8-8-18/.

A Year of Yes: Don’t just march; run for office

“Not everyone starts their work in politics by running for Congress. School & community boards have critical impacts on local communities. Run!” ~Vicki Eastus

My friend, Vicki, said this to me this week and it empowered me to consider running for a hyperlocal local office in my New York City community. If you’ve had similar thoughts, or you’re just curious about the whole election process on any level, there are so many resources available:

Run for Something
National Democratic Training Committee
Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Democracy for America
Wellstone
EMILY’s List
She Should Run

A Year of Yes: Think of yourself as a bow

A bow is made strong by being pulled back. I know many are worried about the state of our nation this 4th of July. I am, too. And I also believe that the immense challenges we now face will make us better, stronger, more resilient. The struggle may be long but I believe in us.

A Year of Yes: Writing my novel in 30 minute increments as soon as I wake up

To move my second novel along, I’m waking up 30 minutes early to immediately write whatever stories come to mind about Emerson Page. That means 1/2 an hour into my day, I already feel like I’ve gotten good work done. Here’s what happened Monday morning, in its completely raw, completely unedited form. It needs a lot of work; and that work begins by getting it down.

I think it’s important to show our work as writers, rough as it may be, so that we can understand and learn from each other’s process. It is a slog, but how lucky I am to be able to write freely. There are so many people in this world who live in places where that’s not possible.

Emerson was frantically digging in the rich, deep dirt. As luxurious as it felt in her hands, her heart was racing. They didn’t have much time. She could hear the group approaching from behind—snapping twigs underfoot, the brushing aside of the thick brush. The jungle was a frightening but beautiful place. The darkness often hid danger but it could also provide a place of protection for those who needed to be hidden. Their voices were growing louder and spoke in a language not her own but one she clearly understood.

“Get the girl and then find what she’s looking for.”

A shockwave of pain radiated through Emerson’s right pinky finger. She had jammed it on something hard in the ground where she was digging. Moving her hands so quickly they were nothing but a blur to her sore, tired eyes, a shiny gold surface caught what little light there was filtering through the tangle of vines.

“Here it is, here it is, here it is,” she thought, her mind reeling.

Quickly making her way around the small box, she could see it measured no more than the size of a loaf of bread. Made of a dark wood with a sheen and brass handles on each side, there was a metal plate neatly tacked to the top of it with one word etched on it in curly script: Erato.

Knowing she had very little time left, Emerson grabbed both of the brass handles and pulled as hard as she could. Heaving herself backward into a giant [name of species of tree in the jungle], her head knocked right into the trunk of the tree. Rubbing the back of her head, the box now squarely in her lap, she looked up to see a team of men looming over her, their smiles wicked and filled with broken, dirty teeth.

“So this is the girl, the girl we are supposed to fear so much? How pathetic she is.” The group sneered and laughed as if they had just corned a prize they hunted. Emerson’s eyes and belly burned.

“And look,” another one said. “She’s shaking.” The crowd of men roared with laughter again.

Emerson smiled. Slowly she let her grin expand across her lips. She felt wild and free, as if she knew a secret that none of them knew and were about to learn in a way that they would never forget. She let her body shake and her light flood into every part of her. It grew brighter with every second, making her glow with such force that the men had to shield their eyes with their arms. Like the blazing, burning sun, they could barely stand to look at her but they were so fascinated and stunned by her that they couldn’t look away either.

The light soothed the pain in the back of her head. Firmly holding the box handles in her two hands, she rose to her feet in one swift action. Standing at her full, though petite, height she walked toward the men. Now that they shook with fear, some falling to the ground, some hiding and cowering behind one another, the group parted neatly down the middle and Emerson walked straight threw the clearing the men had made with their machetes just moments before.

You see the jungle is a dark and dangerous place. It’s stuffed with mystery. It’s laced with fear for those who don’t understand it. But for those who realize and cherish its magic, the jungle possesses a wisdom that speaks directly to our souls. It holds treasures richer than we have ever dared to dream. As Emerson walked out into what was left of the light from the setting sun, she knew what she had, she understood the power of the treasure she now held in her hands.

%d bloggers like this: