Our Stories Connect
Creating Youth Storytelling Programs to Raise Confident, Compassionate, and Capable Leaders
A Children at the Well™ Guidebook
Do you want to make a positive impact on your community? Do you want to work with young people to empower them to change the future, through storytelling?
This comprehensive guide is for you! Use it and be part of the solution.
It is now more than 13 years after Children at the Well™ (C@W) began. Participants from our earliest years have blossomed into young adults, many of whom are now furthering our work of peace and understanding. We are blessed with a seasoned coaching staff, and a large group of youth “alumni,” many of whom have also returned as coaches themselves.
This guidebook is our way of sharing our good fortune and our “recipe” for peace, understanding and youth leadership. It has been assembled to assist you in starting your own storytelling program based closely (or loosely) on our model, according to your needs and resources. If you’re not ready for a full-blown program, we encourage you to use to start with the pieces that seem right for you.
Paula B. Weiss, Editor
Bob Kenegis, October 29, 2018
A Guidebook! I am reminded of a quote by the legendary naturalist, author and artist Ernest Thompson Seton. “When you have found a trail you are thereby ordained a guide. When you have won a kingdom, you must give it away or lose it.”
The trail, 25 years in the making, that the founders of The Interfaith Story Circle and Children at the Well, have blazed, and the editor and contributors to Our Stories Connect document, is as the title suggests one of great heart and vision. But there is much more than vision here. There is vision in action and it is detailed in astonishing detail. Our guides have indeed given away the kingdom…
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Part 1 (the bulk of the guidebook) provides all of the essentials you need to know about our program, including all of the guidelines that we ask all storytelling groups that use the Children at the Well™ name to follow. You may dip in and out of the rest of the chapters depending on your interests and needs; they provide insights into our approach to the coaching of storytellers, holding performances, developing each storyteller’s unique voice, and the experiences of coaches and participants involved in C@W and our associated programs.
Part 2 offers practical exercises that you may use to help storytellers to develop their own stories and skills. It includes sample forms, prompts, and checklists that you are free to use in running your own program. We’ve also included a handy resource guide listing organizations, allies, and great sources of information on the theory and practice of storytelling to help you along your journey.