"In a two-hour speech, people will remember a two-minute story." ~ Andy Goodman, "Storytelling
as Best Practice"
“In every organization, there is the big story—the organizational narrative—and the smaller stories that support, re-iterate, and personalize the larger narrative." ~ Thelar Pekar
The Firefighter's Story
As told to Greg Moncrief from Citizens Assist Program in Kansas City, MO
Russell Hombs is captain on KCFD’s Rescue 9 in midtown Kansas City. He’s a fireman’s fireman, a twenty year veteran of the toughest duty the job can throw your way. He’s backed by a team of urban firefighting specialists trained in making difficult rescues ten stories above the ground or ten stories below, in swiftly moving urban flood waters or under a cloud of toxic materials. He has cut people from tangled wreckage, dug them out of collapsed buildings, treated their injuries, and saved their lives. There isn't much he hasn’t done and nothing he won't attempt when a citizen's welfare is at stake. Read the full story.
The Story of a Veteran
As written by Glenys Carl from Coming Home Connection in Santa Fe, NM
Jim, a paralyzed Vietnam Vet, couldn’t move or speak but understood everything. His wife, Patty, contacted Coming Home Connection for help with Jim’s feeding tube. Patty has given herself totally to his care - with the help of their daughter Janice, who was then nine years old. Whenever she wasn’t at school, Janice stayed home to help her mother.
Coming Home Connection provided in-home care to Jim four days a week. He was an Oxford graduate and liked to be read poetry and the classics – and he loved to hold hands. His eyes would light up when our volunteers arrived. Read the full story.
Hope During Life's Toughest Times
As written by Patricia Herrera from 211 Developmental Screening Project in Los Angeles, CA
Quiana could not make ends meet to pay her utility bill, even with the CalWorks and food stamps benefits she was receiving. A mother of two young children, a baby daughter and Avery, her 2 ½ year old son, Quiana had to quit her job because her son’s hyperactivity and unpredictable behavior made it difficult to find someone to care for him. The family doctor did not take her concerns seriously, saying, “boys are more active and he will grow out of it, so let’s just wait and see.” Read the full story.
As submitted by Janine M. Hron from Head Start-Trauma Smart in Kansas City, MO
Jordan is a 4 year old with big brown eyes, and curly brown hair. He has two brothers, ages 6 and 9, and a baby sister, 1 year old. Jordan attends a Kansas City, Kansas Head Start program where he loves building high towers with blocks and riding tricycles with his friends. Last year, on a Friday night, everything changed for Jordan. His father was killed when the moped he was riding was struck by a car. Read the full story.
Peer Support Specialist shares his story
As submitted by Sara Gleicher from PIC-Health of Detroit, MI
Although our journeys vary and the time it takes to arrive is different, many people, like me, wind up in adult foster care homes across the country. Not everyone who is diagnosed with a severe mental illness will seek to recover. One thing is for sure; nobody can do it all alone. After finding out that there were many people willing to help me get better and show me how to live a worthwhile life I was ready to begin. Read the full story.
As written by Joanne Hickox from Seniors on a Mission in Jacksonville, FL
Last year, Frank lost the love of his life. He and Vivian were married 52 years, soul mates forever, two kids and rarely away from each other, when she lost her battle with cancer. A depression beyond anything Frank had ever known engulfed his life. Everywhere he turned, his memories were of Vivian and of their time together. His friends were all couples that knew his wife. He was the only single at the monthly couples’ gathering that he and his wife had attended for most of their married life. Read the full story.
Coming Home to Stay: A Story
As submitted by Marie Horn from Coming Home to Stay Program in San Diego, CA
What dreams for the future can a 17-year-old hope for lying on a hard prison cot behind a wall of steel bars? What must the future look like when you’re a “lifer” caught in a complex web of legalities set up to keep “people like you” locked behind those bars for a lifetime? And where would you start if, against all odds, you were given the chance to find out? Read the full story.
Courage Through the Art of Theater
As written by Joshua Bloom from Heal the Streets in Oakland, CA
It was a beautiful day in Oakland, and I had just arrived at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. I had just started my new position as Project Coordinator of the Heal the Streets Program, and I was excited to get my program off the ground.
During the first couple weeks, I began developing curriculum and conducting outreach for our new youth-cohort. As I began establishing relationships with new and former partners, I came across another opportunity to co-organize a workshop with a couple of amazing community organizations. As it turned out, there was a need for a youth/ police workshop at the Mayor’s up-coming “Safety Summit”, and they were looking for local youth leaders to facilitate. I reached out to some of our former Heal the Streets fellows, and decided we were on board for the first meeting in East Oakland. Read the full story.
As submitted by Masen Davis from Project HEALTH in San Francisco, CA
The voice on the phone sounded more than worried - Lyon-Martin Health Services was in dire need of continued funding or the lifesaving medical services they have provided since 1979 would be no more. But Jane Stafford, Managing Director for Community Clinics Initiative, was confident the solution proposed was as groundbreaking as it was solid - she didn’t hesitate to support Transgender Law Center to now become the lead recipient of the funding for Project HEALTH - an innovative collaboration between the Transgender Law Center and Lyon-Martin. Read the full story.
Temporary LockDown Story
As told to Nancy McCarty from Storycatchers Theatre of Chicago, IL
Immediately after a recruitment session for Temporary LockDown, a storytelling, movement and drumming workshop for young men in juvenile justice detention facilities, Mr. M. took our Program Manager, Ozivell Ecford, aside. He wanted to warn Oz about “Johnny,” one of the boys who had volunteered to join Temporary LockDown.
Mr. M. told Oz that Johnny could be “dangerous” and that he didn’t recommend him for the program. He said that in the past, Johnny had gotten so out of control that it had taken up to five staff members to restrain him. In addition, the other boys had trouble getting along with Johnny. Finally, he warned Oz that Johnny suffered from cognitive delay, which would keep him from being able to handle the writing demands of the program. Mr. M. told Oz that he would support the decision to exclude Johnny from Temporary LockDown. Read the full story.
Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans: A Story
As submitted by of Troi Bechet from Center for Restorative Approaches in New Orleans, LA
Cale and Mister had a fight in PE class. Like many fights, it started with seemingly innocent teasing and resulted in coming to blows. Mister’s friends, Brac’wan and Dante originally tried to break up the fight, but later became disruptive themselves by laughing and making jokes about it. All four boys had repeatedly been sent to the discipline room for disrupting class, teasing classmates, and encouraging each other to misbehave. Read the full story.
Power Up, Speak Out! Story
As written by Maureen Kampfe from Power Up, Speak Out! in Red Lodge, MT
During the pilot test phase of Power Up, Speak Out!, I visited participating schools around the state of Montana to observe teachers and students as they engaged in the program lessons. On this particular snowy Tuesday, I headed to a small town with a population of 1,800.
By the time I visited this junior high school, participating students had already learned a lot about Power Up, Speak Out! core concepts. They had learned the difference between one-sided power (where one person in the relationship holds most or all of the power) and two-sided power (where both people in the relationship share power equally) and that red flags were something that made a person feel uneasy, embarrassed, humiliated or hurt. They had also learned that we each get to create our own boundaries, and that each of us needs to ask for consent before crossing another person’s boundaries. Read the full story.
Bringing in the Boy(s): A Lesson on Allyship
As written by Nefertiti Martin from Coalition for Gender Equity in Schools in Brooklyn, NY
In March 2012, we held our first annual Bring Your Brother Day. Conceived by Sisters in Strength Youth Organizers (SIS), Bring Your Brother Day was an invitation for the young men in SIS’s lives join the conversation about ending sexual harassment, during International Anti Street Harassment Week. SIS youth organizers were tasked with escorting their male counterparts to the day’s event. These six young women of color also had to co-facilitate and participate in the day’s activities. The guys in the room were outnumbered, so two young women led one activity at a time to lessen the intimidation factor.
The room was filled with boyfriends and best friends, one young woman brought a schoolmate she’d met for the first time that day, and I brought my brother. We all sat in a circle, as SIS took us through creating group agreements. Creating agreements as a group was a way to bring everyone into the space to feel comfortable with and accountable to each other. Group agreements help set the tone of safety that we can all agree upon and a point of reference, especially when we delve into difficult discussion or confrontation. Read the full story.
Little Changes, Big Impact
As told to So Yeon Kang from Project Speak Out in New York, New York
Elmhurst – a neighborhood in Queens, New York known for its diversity in food, people, and culture. As I set out my first time to talk about domestic violence with the community, my confidence and passion for the issue was quickly replaced with an overwhelming sense of fear.
The Thai restaurant on Broadway greeted me with a hearty aroma of fish sauce and lemongrass, and I was slowly able to regain my confidence. I approached one of the young, female servers, Ana*, behind the counter. She immediately asked if I want to make a to-go order. I responded by telling her that I was new to the community and would like some recommendations on dishes. As she carefully explained the menu, I asked Ana how long she’s been in the community and if she considered it to be safe. Then I introduced myself as a person wanting to make the community safer and began to talk about family conflict. Read the full story.
The Stories of A.P. and Derrick
As submitted by Amy McNicholas Kroll from Reentry Through a Child's Eyes of Pittsburgh, PA
“I have two young children, and knowing that they were growing up without their dad was extremely hard. When my incarceration caused me to miss my daughter’s first birthday, I knew something had to change.”
Change came in the form of the reentry program.
“An officer approached me and said I would be a good fit for the program and that it could help me turn my life around. I knew that I wanted to be involved in my kids’ lives as much as possible, and the best way for me to do that was to learn as much as I could about how to succeed when I was released.” Read the full story.
Lesson learned: one is just not enough
As written by Lindsay Palmer from P.O.P!Tech in Jacksonville, FL
Over the course of one hot summer in cramped, non air-conditioned rooms the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center facilitated many conversations with youth on their impressions of the root cause of sexual assault. Over and over, young people told us that they see a lack of knowledge about sex as one of the main reasons why sexual assault is so common.
We live in a society where parents are expected to have "the talk" with their kids, and yet we know that just one "talk" will not encompass everything young people need to know about sex, safety and healthy sexuality. Read the full story.