I had the most incredible experience this past February. I taught my first class with the Twin Cities Media Alliance. The class, “Storytelling for Community Organizing,” was my first real foray into this sort of training around subject matters I am always growing in, though I have worked in various communications fields for several years now.
I knew going into the class that I would define success in two very specific ways. First, success was having a coherent curriculum that I was able to express effectively and authentically, while being able to engage participants in the conversations and content. Second, as an outgoing introvert, I knew success was also going to be getting up in front of the class and teaching the course and then leaving the class having grown and matured as a storyteller.
I firmly believe that any activity worth doing must be followed with an evaluation. As part of that evaluation, I asked each participant at the end of class to choose just one word they felt would describe their experience. It is no lie and no exaggeration to say that my word was and would be “transformed.”
I had developed a curriculum I was quite proud of in the weeks leading up to the class, a curriculum I hope to keep using to re-teach with the Twin Cities Media Alliance, allies, and other organizations I hold in the same high regard. More importantly, however, I was so excited to hear from class participants and to learn from them, to hear that they were inspired and felt that the class content was authentic and powerful. I know that I left the class as a better storyteller and felt that the participants were an incredible example of what powerful storytelling communities can be.
As a perpetual student and a forever storyteller-in-training, the opportunity to teach lessons learned and lessons-learning was an incredible challenge and opportunity. Developing that curriculum helped me put to paper the work that I do to support community organizers, which means that I can approach that work with even better clarity, no matter whose work I am supporting. The journey to the first class helped me realize my own untapped passion to grow as a storyteller in community, as a student and as a teacher.
I am grateful to Bruce at the Twin Cities Media Alliance, Rachel at the Common Table, and all of the class participants for their participation.
I am thrilled to continue building this partnership with the Twin Cities Media Alliance.
I am incredibly excited (and a bit nervous) for my next class with the Twin Cities Media Alliance, “More Bang: Social Media & Other Storytelling Tools for Community Organizers.” While storytelling can be a deeply personal and healing act, community organizers can work with community leaders to further develop their own ability to share powerful and personal stories that can help heal fractured communities. Social Media, blogs, press work can all be used as tools to share those powerful stories from our communities. This upcoming class will cover the different ways we can use those tools powerfully, authentically, and effectively. More information can be found here.