July 15, 2020
Compiled by Allison Hite
One night, Allison Hite, creator of Never, Ever Give Up – CLE got on stage to tell a room full of strangers about the hardest thing she ever had to do. She was terrified. She had never talked openly about losing her mom in a traffic accident. Navigating life without either parent, she was convinced that no one out there understood, and if she talked about it, she would just bum people out. But after she shared her story, there was a line of strangers waiting to talk to her. Someone did understand.
Moved by her experience, Allison designed a public installation in Cleveland where anyone in Northeast Ohio could share about their hardest thing. At Hart Crane Park she hung anonymous, handwritten stories, all answering the question: What is the hardest thing you ever had to do? In the middle of the stories stood a five-foot tall bright yellow mailbox to collect Letters of Hope; words of encouragement, support, and connection in response to the stories.
Never, Ever Give Up: Anonymous Stories from Northeast Ohio showcases a selection of these anonymous stories and Letters of Hope. Read stories about finding the strength to leave an abusive relationship, moving to a new country, asking for help, learning how to ride a bike, being a first-generation college student, and comforting a mom who just lost her son to suicide. In response, read Letters of Hope, encouraging the storyteller to never, ever give up. Learn more at NeverEverGiveUpCle.com.