StoriesWork shared interesting and discussion-oriented tales with a group of young ex-offenders and senior adults. The stories were short and very thought-provoking, and the staff did a great job of encouraging conversation after sharing the piece. The seniors walked away very happy to have participated and continued some of the discussions after the formal class.
I used to assist in the presentation of the StoriesWork method to various groups. It is an amazing thing to watch. The process takes a room of reserved, reluctant people, and induces them to be engaged in dynamic dialog within a very short time. This is the same process that is helpful in providing the lever to activate the minds and the responses of the individuals in need that the process was designed to help.
StoriesWork initiates dialogue about issues that are difficult for most people to talk about. By hearing and reacting to a folktale, people are able to express their thoughts about behaviors, attitudes, and situations in a safe way. I have seen absolute strangers walk into a room and, without really realizing it, go from discussing characters in a tale to discussing the community's role in preventing violence or how they understood the options of a woman in an abusive relationship or how two people can communicate better in parent-child or partner relationships. It is sometimes difficult for others to understand how this works until they participate in a workshop and see the magic of a storyteller and skilled facilitator. StoriesWork helps foster non-judgmental spaces that empower people to share their ideas. They key is often that the facilitator knows the right questions to ask and lets participants guide the discussion. Once you're in it, you don't want to leave, and once it's over you want to come back. This is a unique organization that can really make a difference in raising a community's awareness, unity, and empowerment to tackle issues in a safe but honest way--all steps that ultimately lead to change.
StoriesWork provides various groups of people an opportunity to reflect on issues that concern them in a permissive atmosphere. After observing a group of correction workers I was struck by the insights gained as a result of their discussions of the stories. It is a useful tool. StoriesWork has perfected the methodology for use with specific groups: ( Abused women, adolescents, seniors, etc) Esta Thomas
I got involved because I have seen the effect Storieswork has had on people in trauma. There is no other program like Storieswork. It is important to open new channels for this work.
StoriesWork is a unique program. Volunteer story tellers use folk tales to prompt discussion by participants about certain issues. The discussion is limited to the context of the tale. Participants gain insight into contemporary issues and their perspectives on those issues by discussing the stories. It works.
Lenora Ucko has worked tirelessly over the past ten years to bring this concept of using folk stories to different groups to help them work through their issues. She has shown that no matter where they are from or how long ago it was, people are basically the same and have dealt with the issues of the human personality. This concept has been efffective in reaching across a broad band of the population. Being a not for profit, Lenora is constantly seeking funding to keep StoriesWork in operation as I see on a daily basis from doing the accounting. She relies heavily on volunteers and to my knowledge has never receive any compensation for her work. She is constantly adjusting her approach to reach differenct needs in the community. The latest approach is Child Obesity. Previous to that was abused women.
I was welcomed with open arms to volunteer with StoriesWork. I was on the business development committee and helped edit the official StoriesWork Interactive Storytelling Manual for training purposes. I have done research on grant opportunities and even represented the organization at the North Carolina Humanities Council Grant Award Winners meeting. I have worked with another volunteer in publicizing StoriesWork story telling sessions and hosting a table at the Alamance County Community College cultural fair. I have grown as a person during my experiences with this organization.