When I moved to Maine from Vermont about a year and a half ago, I was so excited to discover the Telling Room. Nothing quite like it exists in Vermont, that I know of. I've been a writer and an educator most of my life and I jumped at the chance to be involved in TR activities. My TR volunteer experiences have included encouraging immigrant teenage writers, homeschoolers, and after-schoolers in workshop topics ranging from ghost stories to food poetry to farming. I always come home inspired.
Volunteering at the Telling Room is a great way to engage with the Greater Portland community, to encourage folks of all ages to write more, share more. The staff there are extremely dedicated, and the youth provide a wealth of new ideas and perspectives. Field trips, potlucks, workshops, master classes, open study hours -- there's always something fun in the works.
I volunteer my time at the Telling Room every chance I get, and have for more than four years. I love to help students find and write their stories and I love the magic that happens when they get to get up and read it. Each student grows an inch or two when the hear the audience's applause.
The joy for me comes from working with students as they learn to trust that I truly want to hear their stories. From that foundation of trust we collaborate to build the best version of their story we can. The witnessing and partnership in shaping a student's story is the magic behind the mission at the Telling Room. The result is a strengthening of each student's own believe not only that their stories matter, but that their lives matter.
The Telling Room is one of the most inspiring experiences offered to young writers and is equally inspiring to adults. I continue to be amazed every time I attend one of their functions and view, first hand, the braod array of talented young writers and performers. The energy at these events is like magic - electric! The smiles, the glances, the comments, and the crowds just tell it all. Bravo and kudos to the Telling Room! Lorraine Martin - Freeport ME
As someone who has only lived in Portland for a short time, I was thrilled to discover that our small city has such an exciting, high-quality literary arts center for youth. From star-studded readings with Elizabeth Gilbert for the whole community to the weekly one-on-one mentorship this organization provides to some of city's neediest youth, The Telling Room provides a valuable resource for our community.
As a volunteer new to The Telling Room this year, I consider it a great privilege to participate in this group's programming. The TR staff does an outstanding job connecting with young people from such a range of backgrounds, meeting these kids where they are, empowering them to tell their own stories, all the while maintaining a fun, enthusiastic atmosphere. It's a place where kids learn to communicate without traditional structure, where supportive staff encourage creativity, but always with a goal...challenging students to think and define for themselves without giving way to negativity. Perhaps one of the greatest strengths of this group is their ability to maintain high quality, innovative, and ever evolving, up to date programming while maintaining awareness of the changing needs of the greater Portland community and of their target beneficiaries. The connection happens at The Telling Room, every day, and it’s been a pleasure to witness. -Kate Bradbury, Telling Room Volunteer
As a lead teacher for various writing workshops I find the support of all of the volunteers in the room to be outstanding. Not only do individuals enter the space as volunteers, but they quickly take on the role of co-teacher with a healthy and respectful sense of give and take that is the foundation of any collaborative teaching. I always know that anyone who has made their way through the volunteer training is up to the task of supporting and encouraging students of all ages to be creative and to proudly say "I am a writer."
I love mentoring with The Telling Room. Every week, during one of their in-school projects, I got to sit down with a Somali teenager and help her discover her voice. We worked on her literacy skills, and most delightfully, we got her story into one of The Telling Room's books, and now tons of people know her story! It was an incredible experience.
As an educator, homeschooler and writer, I heard many tales from The Telling Room before I had an opportunity to engage first hand. I was not disappointed. I attended a workshop for educators last weekend, actually ahead of my intent to bring my middle-school aged daughter and our home-schooling writers group down for a visit/class. My experience was delightful, and far beyond my prior experience with "teacher workshops." The event was thoughtfully organized, graciously hosted, and wonderfully stimulating, both professionally and personally. I am so impressed by the staff of the Telling Room and the breadth of experience of the attendees! It was truly remarkable. What a gem in the fields of education and writing.