Brynna Maxwell


Nonprofit organization, Holding Out Help, saving lives and providing hope


I developed the idea for my story on Holding out Hope through a friend in my youth group. She had recently started interning at the organization and was telling me about her job. It sounded very interesting and I jumped on the chance to get to know the organization better. Through mutual contacts, I had the chance to interview the intern, Emma Harter, as well as the director of marketing, Cindy Metcalf. I also was given the video interview of an anonymous source who was a victim of polygamy. These sources were the best possible for the story because I got three different points of view. Harter is a young college student who is just trying to make a difference. Metcalf is a veteran of the program who has been on multiple runs to save these women. Last, the anonymous source is a victim and has witnessed and endured the harassment and abuse of a polygamous source.

Throughout my process of writing my article, I encountered a couple of obstacles. First, one of my interviews I had lined up almost backed out because she was afraid people would recognize her name in print. Because of this, I almost lost one of my key sources of information. She ended up changing her mind the day of the interview, but it was still a stressful experience. The other obstacle was getting a source who was a victim of polygamy. I was never available to meet any of them. However, someone else was able to conduct an interview and I was able to get information through a video. The pandemic caused zero problems, and I was able to meet in person for the majority of the interviews. During those interviews, I was very surprised by how blunt everyone was about the horrors that happened inside of polygamous communities. Everyone was very honest and vulnerable, and it was amazing to me how open they were about it all.

The interviews provided a lot of information and it was difficult to organize it all. I listened to the interviews again and took notes about what each person said. I then grouped those notes together according to their similarities. I also took notes during the interview and grouped the answers the questions I asked into groups. My writing process was very straightforward. I took notes on interviews and researched the organization beforehand. I then dissected the interviews that I recorded and added them to my notes. I then wrote a rough draft of my article based on those notes.

An interesting story is as I was finishing up my interview process, I noticed a table where Holding Out Help accepted donations. I just so happened to have a bag of clothes in my car I was going to give to Goodwill, and I was able to donate them instead to HOH. It felt really good to help the organization out in some small way.


Photo courtesy of Becca Jonas and Utah Women’s Basketball

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, I have always had a love for writing. I grew up in a small town about an hour away from Seattle and graduated from Gig Harbor High School. When not writing, I fill my time playing basketball, writing in my journal, petting my cat, and going on adventures. You can almost always see me hiking up a mountain.

I am currently a sophomore attending the University of Utah and pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis in journalism. Basketball has led me to experience a lot of amazing things, including being shown on TV. Those experiences helped me understand my passion for sports broadcasting and journalism which, hopefully, I can find a lasting career in once I graduate.