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PostSecret founder Frank Warren attracts crowd of almost 800 to Plachta Auditorium

Frank Warren creator of PostSecret autographs Bay City alumni Brad Bender’s copy of his book Tuesday evening on the second floor of Warriner hall. “He’s such a passionate, empathetic down to earth guy. I feel it, the audience feels it, and thats why he can fill Plachta auditorium,” Bender said. Warren currently has six books that are part of his going community art project. (Trisha Umpfenbach/ Staff Photographer)

Kalamazoo native Sarah Kragt waited in line for three hours to hear PostSecret creator Frank Warren speak about his journey in creating his life-changing project that has swept the world.

The senior said this was one of the most exciting things she has ever experienced.

“I am just so ready to cross this off my bucket list,” Kragt said.

Nearly 800 students filled Plachta Auditorium Tuesday awaiting the speech from Warren.

PostSecret has been an ongoing project Warren started in November 2004. He has received nearly half a million postcards to his home in Germantown, Md. PostSecret is an ongoing project where anonymous people send in personal secrets on post cards to Warren, most often decorated artistically.

“This project connects with youth by nature,” Warren said. “Young people are more authentic and struggling with raw issues.”

Kragt said she has had some of the postcards from PostSecret as her laptop background, and she has been a fan ever since her sister bought the first book a few years back.

“Some of the cards are so funny, and others are just shocking,” Kragt said. “I can’t wait to hear the stories other students share.”

Warren said most of the posts he gets are funny, sexual or hopeful. Warren said he gets about 50 per day and saves a few each day before the Sunday Secret post on the website. He likes to tell a story through the posts he puts online, and wants the first and last to connect.

Warren has gotten secrets posted on many different items, including a knife, seashell, potato, In-N-Out Burger bag, naked photos, a bag of coffee and even a sonogram.

“I believe that the secrets have brought people together to save lives. Sometimes the most important part is sharing the secret with yourself,” Warren said.

Warren, who had a close friend and family member commit suicide, said he is most proud of the PostSecret community for donating nearly half a million dollars to suicide prevention hotlines.

“Once strangers told me their secrets, I had the courage of telling my own,” Warren said.

Warren has been on “Good Morning, America,” ‘Today” and “20/20.” He has had a New York Times best-selling novel, and almost 7 million people visit the PostSecret website per month. The All-American Rejects even used PostSecret post cards in their “Dirty Little Secret” video.

“I always knew people could trust me. I wanted to go out on a limb and see if others will, too. But, I honestly wasn’t ready for all of this,” Warren said.

The first time Warren gave his speech was at a Borders Bookstore, in front of five people — including his wife and daughter.

“I just wanted to represent those hidden voices,” Warren said. “It’s very gratifying.”

Warren said the goal is to tell untold stories and give voices to those who feel unheard. He said secrets can feel like walls, but they are really bridges.

During a portion of the speech, Warren invited students to line up and share their secrets. Gasps, awes and laughter filled the crowd as students worked up bravery to share their stories.

Warren said he was told in Hebrew that secret means come closer, and that is what he hopes students find in reading the posts.

“The children who are most broken by the world are those who change it,” Warren said.

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