Freshman Taryn Murphy, pic­tured with Christina Kreachbaum, Director of Out­reach for Su Casa Domestic Vio­lence Shelter, started a project to give journals to abused women | Courtesy Journals for the Journey

A jour­naler since age 6, freshman Taryn Murphy has long under­stood the cathartic power of putting pen to paper. For her, jour­naling has not only been a way to track her per­sonal growth but to process emo­tions.

So when she wanted to help victims of human traf­ficking and domestic abuse heal, pro­viding them with journals made sense. Although her mother orig­i­nally sug­gested the idea, Murphy started her charity, Journals for the Journey, in August of 2016.

Murphy began by approaching busi­nesses, asking for money or journal dona­tions. Most of the journals Murphy col­lected came from her neighbors.

“At first I was faced with a lot of rejection,” she said. “You don’t realize until you’re the one asking for dona­tions how much rejection you face.”

Murphy also reached out to local safe houses for women victims of domestic abuse and, in total, received requests for between 500 and 600 journals.

Her first success came on Oct. 7, with a  donation was to Su Casa, a Cal­i­fornia-based domestic abuse shelter. She gave a total of five journals — her entire stock.

Murphy orig­i­nally became pas­sionate about victims of traf­ficking after doing research for a high school debate.

“It was shocking to me that I was in that target age group,” Murphy said. “It makes you want to educate yourself and to educate your friends.”

Her debate partner and older sister, junior Ryan Murphy, said she is proud of her younger sister.

“I think my sister found a good and spe­cific need to tell,” she said. “People think giving journals is insignif­icant, but I don’t think they realize the impact jour­naling can have on you as a person.”

Brock Lutz, Director of Health Ser­vices, said he often rec­om­mends jour­naling for his patients.

“One of the common responses to trauma is to try to block out the expe­rience and the related emo­tions,” Lutz said in an email. “So, in jour­naling, clients are given the task of going back to the expe­rience, remem­bering the details of what hap­pened, and expe­ri­encing those emo­tions, so they can expe­rience healing or for­giveness.”

Although no one tech­nique can work for every client, Lutz said, jour­naling can help people work through their emo­tions or under­stand triggers for addiction, depression, or anxiety.

Taryn Murphy said she hopes to con­tinue Journals for the Journey through college, although it’s still dif­ficult to get dona­tions, since she’s not listed as a 501(c)(3) orga­ni­zation. Becoming one would cost several hundred dollars.  

“I could buy so many journals with that money,” she said.

But quantity is not what her charity about, she said.

“The goal I had was to touch lives,” she said. “As much as I can do in the moment, that’s how much I want to impact someone’s life.”

To find more infor­mation on Journals for the Journey or to donate, visit or email Taryn Murphy at