'Be the Light' with PANDAS Network ‘Rays of Light’ Program

Would your child share his or her story to benefit others?

Imagine your child’s journey featured in a personal documentary — reminiscent of the movie Boyhood — to help other kids understand and navigate their own path.

Whether it was the relief of finding a diagnosis, positive response to treatment, knowing you’re not alone, or supporting faster diagnosis for the next child, to a child with PANDAS or PANS, each hurdle crossed offers a ray of light— an opportunity for hope and healing.

PANDAS Network announces the PN ‘Rays of Light’ Program to highlight the VOICES of courageous kids and teens who've been suffering to be heard and healed. In partnership with StoryQ, PANDAS Network will select 20 candidates who will have access to StoryQ’s video journaling platform. Five lucky candidates will receive annual one-to-one interviews for three years with noted filmmaker and story mentor Dr. Rick Stevenson.

PANDAS Network ‘Rays of Light’ Program invites 20 candidates, ages 7-21 and diagnosed with PANDAS/PANS, to participate in this unique, safe, video journaling opportunity where kids reflect on their experiences, better understand their habits and fears and move from being victims of circumstance to authors of their own lives.

Why do it? StoryQ, an online, automated interview technology, done in the privacy of your home at the time that’s best for you, helps kids transition through difficult times-- while being a powerful tool for introspection. Using a brain science-based interview process, kids are given the questions to discover the internal wisdom that lies within them to hone their moral compasses to get where they want and need to go.

Learn More about StoryQ and The 5000 Days Project

What is the Goal of the PANDAS Network Rays of Light Program?

PANDAS Network wants kids to have an opportunity to share their stories and safely process their experiences.

Of the 20 winning applicants, we’ll capture and share the voices of up to 5 courageous candidates as they are navigating their PANDAS/PANS journey. By illuminating what it means to experience, seek diagnosis and treat this misunderstood medical issue, these stories will allow others to identify and understand PANDAS/PANS from the perspective of these bright, articulate and passionate kids. And perhaps most importantly, the program fosters self-discovery— introspection— and oftentimes revelation.

Ultimately, we want our kids to feel heard.

The PANDAS Network ‘Rays of Light’ Program 

offers selected kids and teens a choice between two unique, FREE opportunities to tell their story:


PANDAS Network is looking to highlight a Ray of Light candidate who wants to publicly share selected aspects of his or her journey via a short film to offer hope and rays of light to other youth. The five candidates who are selected for the Virtual Story Mentoring Interview with filmmaker Dr. Rick Stevenson have an opportunity to have their journey featured as part of a culminating short film.

 APPLY NOW. The deadline for submissions is midnight, NOVEMBER 1, 2021. 

To learn more and confirm eligibility, read the FAQs below. 

Click SUBMIT above to ‘BE THE LIGHT,’ and join the 2021 PANDAS Network ‘Rays of Light’ Program  

We invite you to view sample interviews with Dr. Rick Stevenson, keeping in mind these are longitudinal examples, based on longer five to ten year interviews. 

PLEASE NOTE: The content may hit close to home for some kids and families, but it is an honest account of adolescence for these teenagers, including their struggles and ultimately, joy.

The 5000 Days Project Reel




Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is my child eligible to enter?

In order to be eligible to be a PANDAS Network ‘Rays of Light’ Program candidate, your child must:

  •  be between the ages of 7-21 and have a desire to participate
  •  have a diagnosis of the following: PANDAS, PANS, autoimmune encephalitis, or basal ganglia encephalitis 
  • Apply between October 1- Nov 1, 2021.

Is my child a good fit to be a PN Rays of Light candidate?

The ideal PANDAS Network ‘Rays of Light’ candidate aged 7-21, is eager to share his or her story with others, and is comfortable being on-camera. Parents are encouraged to share this program with their kids, but ultimately allow them to decide if it’s the right fit given their current healthcare status and interest in opening up and sharing with others.

Why would this benefit my child?

As StoryQ founder Rick Stevenson describes: Personal reflection is at an all-time low, plus the addictive draw of social media leads to a vanishing of solitary moments to process inner thoughts and experiences.  Imagine the positive impact for children if they could respond to self-analytical questions and process all that was happening to them in a much healthier way.

The StoryQ technology was first used in schools in 2013 to encourage kids to explore their feelings, values, fears and dreams using the power of storytelling and video journaling. As participants explore who they are and what they are experiencing in a safe, no-judgment space,  the transformative wisdom of Socrates' "Know Thyself" is realized in real time.

We believe that kids have within themselves the keys to unlocking their own future in the face of myriad external pressures and expectations. We believe that kids are their own best authors of their lives, and that learning to tell their own stories as they run the gauntlet of adolescence is a vital means of helping kids find themselves before they lose themselves.

Learn more about the StoryQ Method below.

Is my child’s story confidential?

Yes. It will ultimately be up to you if you’d like to share it.

Might my child’s story be shared to help other kids with their PANDAS journey?

Absolutely. Part of the goal of the Ray of Light Program is to choose one or more stories that will illuminate the unique challenges these kids face. For this reason, please note that anyone signing up for the Ambassador Program one-to-one interview option with Dr Rick should be willing to having their story shared.

The five candidates who apply and are selected for the Virtual Interview with filmmaker Rick Stevenson,  have an opportunity to have their journey featured as part of a culminating film. The short film may be featured on the PN website as well as in other PN related media.

A condition for signing up for the interview option with Dr. Rick is a willingness to share your story. The goal is to have a film to share with others. Please sign up for the confidential version if you are reticent to share your story publicly.

Ultimately, the goal is to create a film that helps everyone, so the child and family will be involved in the final edit process. Therefore we would ask that you NOT apply to the one-to-one Ambassador program if you are not willing to share your story publicly.

Who is Dr. Rick Stevenson

Rick Stevenson, founder of StoryQ, introduced Personal Story Mentoring and verbal journaling as a means of helping individuals unlock their “Emotional Immune Systems” through self-discovery and personal narrative empowerment.

Through The 5000 Days Project and the StoryQ Method of inquiry, he is on a mission to help create a generation of self-empowered game-changers who realize that the choices they make every moment of every day can help them become exactly who they wish to be.

He has filmed nearly 6000 in-depth interviews with kids and teens from 12 countries as part of a longitudinal project using his StoryQ method of inquiry dedicated to raising emotional intelligence. He is a creative and passionate combination of award-winning filmmaker and Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University. He has directed, produced, and/or written twelve feature films and 100 hours of television, working with artists such as Robert Redford, Hugh Grant, Christopher Plummer, Kiefer Sutherland, Meg Ryan, and Patrick Dempsey. He’s an author, a public speaker, a husband, and a father of four who splits his time between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia.

What is the STORYQ Method?

The StoryQ Method is founded on the belief that we all possess an inherent wisdom within us that, when accessed, can heal the grand majority of our emotional wounds and eventually transform us into high functioning adults.  Dr. Rick Stevenson likens this to a hidden “emotional immune system” that, unlike its automatic physiological counterpart, is only unlocked by emotional intelligence.  While many find their emotions confusing-- if not frightening, those very emotions actually hold vital clues to what is right and wrong within us.  By learning how to read and process them, we can solve our ultimate question: “Who am I?”

In short, life experience and education teaches us how the world works, but how do we discover ourselves, our purpose & our unique story? The only way to find the right answers is by asking the right key-life questions and that centers around the individual's longings and fears- two major motivators in determining how we live our life. 

We generally have within us the answer to our own mystery, our own pain, our own problems, our own potential. When we are given the space, time and guidance to search for these answers, we start to tap into our most valuable possession– our own story. The practice of reflection leads to deeper introspection.

By verbalizing our pain in a safe judgment-free space, it can start to lose its power over us. In order to unleash the power of our own story into our lives, we must learn how to tell it. By regularly taking inventory and practicing telling our authentic story, our emotional intelligence increases and we are able to move from being victims of circumstance to authors of our own lives. We are empowered.

Every day we write a new page in our lives and we alone decide what that story will be.

What is Video Journaling? Video journaling is a science-based approach to storytelling that uses the StoryQ technology to guide kids through a series of thoughtful and thought-provoking questions. The process helps kids find their own “superpower” as they find the answers through their journey of self-discovery.

The StoryQ video journaling method is an extension of The 5000 Days Project— more than 6000 one-to-one interviews with Dr. Rick created in response to the struggles of kids after 9/11 — to help adolescents ‘find themselves before they lose themselves.’ This endeavor illuminates the importance of the story in each of us, and the transformation that comes with telling it. Why 5000 Days? That’s the length of time it takes a child to transition through childhood.

What will you ask my child? The questions are meant to evoke the facts, emotions and feelings, as well as their dreams and passions. A sampling includes: Using one word, describe yourself and say why you selected that word. Who is your best friend and how would that person describe you? What makes you happy? When was one of the last times you cried over something emotional and why? If you had your parents undivided attention to tell them what you need most from them, what would you say? How has your experience changed the course of your life? Are there any silver linings?

Still have questions for us? We're happy to help. Please email us at ambassador@pandasnetwork.org

PANDAS Network