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The Listening, Inc.: A Conversation with Keaira Reese

Written by Alyssa Wilson, University of Lynchburg Bonner Intern

Last week, SHARE Greater Lynchburg shared a conversation that we had the honor to have with The Listening, Inc.’s Co-Executive Director of Operations and Outreach, Angelina Randolph. This week we are sharing the conversation we had with Keaira Reese, Co-Executive Director of Development and Programs for The Listening, Inc. In this conversation you will hear more about Keaira herself, the mission of the organization, and upcoming events. 


SHARE: Tell me about yourself.

Keaira: I am currently Co-Executive Director of Development and Programs for The Listening. I am also currently a homebound teacher so I go around from home-to-home teaching kids from their houses. I have a lot of experience working with kids and teaching. I went to the University of Lynchburg and ended up with a degree in English with a minor in Secondary Education and Linguistics, because I felt like English and linguistics really aligned with my passions in life. My experience goes all over. 


SHARE: What is The Listening, Inc.? What is the mission of the organization? 

Keaira: The Listening is a nonprofit organization founded in Lynchburg in 2013, but became official in 2016. Our mission is to change, save and help the lives of others through the performing arts. Our main focuses are social action, mental health and education, finding ways to incorporate the performing arts into all of those. One of the ways we do this is through all of our programming. We try to have a broad horizon of what we provide because we want to show people the importance of having art in a child’s life or a person’s life. 


SHARE: What inspires you to do work with The Listening, Inc.? 

Keaira: My passion for change. I am a huge progressive, and in an area like Lynchburg that can be hard. Growing up we’re all placed in boxes, and as I’ve grown up and having some of the mental health issues I do have, it’s caused me to never put myself in a box. That’s what really keeps me at The Listening is working with those same people who want to make a change and can express how we can make those changes. 


SHARE: Tell me about a memory that impacted you during your time with the organization. 

Keaira: The biggest impact was being able to see the finale for Freedom School that was held this summer. That was huge for me because it was my first time witnessing it and learning what it was all about. It blew me away. I had the opportunity to work with the kids on something for their finale, and then getting to see them perform it really filled my cup. It gave me hope that maybe our future isn’t going to be as bad as some people think. In order for the world to evolve we have to evolve with it. 


SHARE: Is there anything that not a lot of people know about The Listening, Inc. that you would like them to know? 

Keaira: I want them to know that we are not in a box. I want people to know that we are not just for the underserved population. We are for every person that feels like they aren’t being heard, valued or like they aren’t appreciated. You are welcome where we are at any time, any space. 


SHARE: What events are on the horizon for your organization? 

Keaira: So right now we are going to have our ‘Young, Lit and Free’ program at The Academy. That will start on February 15 and run every Wednesday until March 15 and then the kids will be able to perform what they’ve been working on. 


SHARE: Is there anything else you would like to add that I didn’t ask? 

Keaira: Our goals for the year are to fundraise enough money that we’re able to give back to the community. By giving back I just mean being able to offer them more opportunities for learning, work and just helping people grow as individuals. 

To learn more about The Listening, Inc. and keep up to date with their upcoming events and programs, visit their SHARE Greater Lynchburg profile.


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