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March 5, 2010

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March 5, 2010

The Telling Project plays an essential role bridging the growing gap between the military and civilian communities in a time of war. As a civilian audience member and board member, my understanding of military life is infinitely more nuanced having heard from naval electricians, combat marines, medics, and the wives of deployed combatants. There is not a performance I've seen (even if I've seen it multiple times) at which I did not both laugh out loud and weep. As an ardent liberal and opponent of "the war" I have learned that there is no such thing as "the war." There are as many wars as there are members of the military. Telling has shown the human experiences of its participants which defy easy classification and silence sloganeering. I am a better citizen for being a less clear proponent or opponent of our military policy overseas. On a personal note, Telling has helped me better understand my veteran father's experiences during Vietnam and has helped undo our silences around that era. I am proud to work with Telling. I am proud of the participants who open up their memories and hearts in such a public forum. I am forever changed by their testimony and have enjoyed every minute of every show. They are an amazing group, as performers and as people. The challenge now for the Telling Project is to get the word out to more communities and to draw more broad-based funding so that financial need is not the reason more veterans and families and more audiences are missing out of this transformative experience.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

that I understand so much more about the daily lives of military men and women and their families and that I have a more nuanced, human understanding of what we mean when we talk about the wars in Iraq and Afganistan.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

expand its capacity to mount productions.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the privilege of hearing the personal stories of cast members and of watching cast members transition from the interview phase to confidently performing and bringing audiences to their feet. Also, it brings together disparate community organizations.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

tireless, determined, kind and funny. There is a sense of family among staff and the folks that hand out programs, hang lights or help with press. Every one is thrilled to be involved and there is an electric energy before each performance and pride after

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

mount a production in every community where soldiers are returning home. And actually diminish the painful divide we all experience when the people who serve their nation feel that their service is misunderstood and undervalued.

Ways to make it better...

it happened more often. If there was an opportunity to unite the casts from different productions.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

serving more communities on its current operating budget.

One thing I'd also say is that...

civilian community organizations need to understand that this is not a service "for vets." This is a way to open up dialogue about the military that the civilian community desperately needs to understand the human implications of its political views.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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3 hours of volunteer time for this nonprofit will...

Usher performances, assist with set-up and tear-down of staging, stuff invitations into envelopes, attend and assist with rehearsals, make phone calls to solicit funds, take photographs for archive, hang posters in advance of performances, hand out handbills...and many other functions.