Children at the Well

Our History and Mission

History

Thanks for our start, NSN! The proposal for Children at the Well received the Brimstone Award for Applied Storytelling from the National Storytelling Network in 2006. This award focuses on the transformational properties of storytelling and aims to increase understanding of the ways that storytelling can promote change in individuals and communities.

The award enabled Gert Johnson and Paula Weiss, with support from the newly formed non-profit, now known as WithOurVoice, Inc., to launch Children at the Well to involve youth in learning the art of storytelling to:

  • Deepen their knowledge and understanding of their own tradition and that of others
  • Develop public speaking and leadership skills
  • Participate in the local Interfaith Story Circle events 
  • Promote peace and understanding among all 

In summer 2020, Children at the Well collaborated with Nicolette Nordin Heavey of Stories in the Streets to produce the online FLY! program, sponsored by Northeast Storytelling. In 2022, Children at the Well was almost entirely conducted through Zoom, producing enormously enthusiastic and capable storytellers who presented their first live performance at the September 2022 Carrot Festival to much acclaim!

2023 will be Children at the Well’s eighteenth year of bringing young people together through the art of storytelling, hopefully in person! Leading the program will be Stephanie Ward, taking over from Paula who was Co-Director with Gert from 2006-2014, and Director from 2014-2022.

Mission

Our mission is to increase capacity for intercultural understanding, build diverse community connections and grow compassionate leaders, through the art of storytelling.

We envision a world where human connectedness is sought and celebrated by lifting up cultural and individual identity and voice, resulting in a deeper understanding and appreciation of ourselves, others, and the world around us.

We believe in

  • The healing power of story to create a more vibrant interconnected and peaceful world
  • The heart-to-heart process of storytelling and story listening to foster an appreciation for human experience and build community
  • Training and practice in the art of storytelling to enable young people to strengthen their empathy and find their voice