American RadioWorks |
Image: Sweet Briar College web site

Sweet Briar Returns

Sweet Briar College was about to close after struggling with dwindling enrollment and other problems. An alumni group raised more than 20 million dollars in pledges to keep the doors open, but the school's survival is still deeply in doubt.

Recent Posts

  • 07.15.15

    The Future of Historically Black Colleges

    Historically Black Colleges and Universities proliferated throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when many white schools refused to admit African Americans, especially in the South. Our guest this week feels HBCUs still serve a crucial role in higher education.
  • 07.07.15

    Talking About Race in Schools

    Over the past year, race relations have dominated the news cycle. This can bring up difficult questions, especially for parents and teachers. Our guest Yolanda Moses says Americans need to find more ways to talk about race in schools.
  • 07.02.15

    Minorities and Special Ed

    For years policy makers believed that minorities were overrepresented in special education and that there was inherent bias in the way kids were being identified as disabled. A new study turns this idea on its head.
  • 06.23.15

    Learning from Video Games

    A lot of parents worry about whether their kids' video game habits are harmful - especially when gaming gets in the way of homework or reading. But writer Greg Toppo says gaming can be a great way to learn.


in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Encourage people to tell their own stories

File under: other

0 (0 votes)

From: Elaine B., Memphis, TN

I tell stories to children who are falling behind academically in the public school, and I tell stories to women in the county correctional system. I provide opportunities for the students and inmates to share their personal stories, and I promote listening as a valuable skill. When people, young or old, are given the opportunity to tell their stories to other people who really listen, transformation happens. Poverty erodes self image and makes us think we do not matter, that we are invisible. By listening, neighbors, family members, teachers, co-workers and church members can pull each other out of poverty's destructive forces.

Last year I gave each of the children a disposable camera when they went home for the holiday break, instructing them to take pictures of their family. I told them I would develop the pictures and make an album for each child. They would be expected to stand up and tell us the story of "My Family and the Holidays." One boy used all 24 exposures taking pictures of the television. He took 24 pictures of 24 programs on television. Each child took pictures that included images of the television set. In every case the television was the most photographed member of the family and a central character in the holiday story.

This project turned out to be very telling about the children and their struggles to succeed in school. No one at home has the time or capacity to listen to the children, look into their faces and attend to their narratives and needs. Poverty robs mothers and fathers of their time for parenting. Poverty robs parents of their self worth and their dreams. So they finally give up on even trying to pass along anything positive. Face to face sessions of storytelling and story listening can open new windows for change and hope. Sitting in a safe circle where all stories are heard and respected as sacred gifts, we can hear people's dreams coming back to life. Each human being is so much more than what they possess or how much money they keep in the bank account. Each story is a reflection of power and purpose. A story shared is a story made real.


Comments:

American RadioWorks |
Image: Sweet Briar College web site

Sweet Briar Returns

Sweet Briar College was about to close after struggling with dwindling enrollment and other problems. An alumni group raised more than 20 million dollars in pledges to keep the doors open, but the school's survival is still deeply in doubt.

Recent Posts

  • 07.15.15

    The Future of Historically Black Colleges

    Historically Black Colleges and Universities proliferated throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when many white schools refused to admit African Americans, especially in the South. Our guest this week feels HBCUs still serve a crucial role in higher education.
  • 07.07.15

    Talking About Race in Schools

    Over the past year, race relations have dominated the news cycle. This can bring up difficult questions, especially for parents and teachers. Our guest Yolanda Moses says Americans need to find more ways to talk about race in schools.
  • 07.02.15

    Minorities and Special Ed

    For years policy makers believed that minorities were overrepresented in special education and that there was inherent bias in the way kids were being identified as disabled. A new study turns this idea on its head.
  • 06.23.15

    Learning from Video Games

    A lot of parents worry about whether their kids' video game habits are harmful - especially when gaming gets in the way of homework or reading. But writer Greg Toppo says gaming can be a great way to learn.