Storytelling workshop "graduates" shared stories about homelessness; eight to air on national radio show
Nine of our workshop “graduates” stepped up to the mic. Photo Credit: Roger Ho
Nine Seattle-area residents told their poignant, beautiful, personal stories about homelessness at "Home: Lost and Found" - A Moth Community Showcase," Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 7:30 p.m. at Fremont Abbey Arts Center.
Five of them have aired on the Radio Hour, on 500 radio stations across the country. You can also see eight of them on The Moth's YouTube page.
At the sold-out showcase, we heard from a variety of storytellers, all of whom shared stories about how homelessness has affected them personally - from vivid childhood memories to contemporary tales of survival. You can read about the magical evening through:
Proceeds from the event benefited two programs that provide backpacks and school supplies every fall to thousands of children who are homeless or at risk: Project Cool (Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness) and School Days (YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish).
"Home: Lost and Found" was created to develop the storytelling skills within family homelessness providers and advocacy organizations in the Puget Sound region. We invited applications from people who have a personal story related to family homelessness who wanted to attend special workshops and learn how to craft their idea into a compelling five-minute story that can be told in front of a live audience. Nine of the seventeen Seattle-area residents, who completed The Moth workshops in February and March, were chosen for the Showcase.
See how our storytellers found their voice in this beautiful behind-the-scenes video created by The Moth.
The Showcase was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and by our project, the Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness.
Thanks to our promotional partners!
New to the Moth? Here's What You Should Know
The Moth is known for its Mainstage events and StorySLAMs, as well as its weekly radio show, the Peabody Award-winning The Moth Radio Hour. Its podcast is downloaded 25 million times a year. The Moth is particularly in Seattle, where its open-mic StorySLAMs - produced twice monthly in partnership with public radio station KUOW - have sold out for every event since their inception in 2012.
A participant shares his five-minute story. Photo credit: Jason Falchook.
The Moth public events attract a devoted crowd; its open-mic StorySLAMs in Seattle sell out every time. Photo credit: Flash Rosenberg
Nine graduates of The Moth's "Home: Lost and Found" workshops told their stories at the April event. Learn a little more about them here.
Liz Allen loves to climb up rocks, bike down hills and buy plane tickets. She is a former Title I sixth-grade teacher in Colorado and is finishing her law degree at the University of Washington. Her passion lies in educational equity and good policy. She always says yes to adventures.
During the February workshop at Seattle U, Liz Allen began telling the rough draft of her story.
Timothy Bell was a son of the State of Washington for six years before aging out of the foster care system at eighteen. While in foster care he experienced his very first healthy relationships, some of which survive to today. Throughout his life, Tim has experienced multiple periods of homelessness and near-constant struggles with mental health, and his witnessed his brothers and sisters from care constantly struggle through their lives. Now, at age 28, he works with young people in foster care to improve the system in their own communities.
Tim Bell reflects on a tempestuous day when things changed forever. Kelley Craig, left, gives moral support.
Robin Covington is a 60-year-old mother of a 19-year-old son. She is a writer and motivational speaker. She grew up in Illinois, and has lived in California, Florida and New Mexico. Covington lives in Seattle at 1811 Eastlake, an acclaimed harm-reduction building serving the chronically homeless and those with alcohol abuse problems. She is now a happy friend of Bill W.
Robin Covington punctuates a dramatic moment in her story.
Kelley Craig grew up in the Seattle area listening to her grandfather's stories. For the past 18 years, she has co-directed the REACH Program, which works with people struggling with homelessness and addiction. Kelley's life has been deeply affected by the people she has known through this work and is grateful for each connection made through the sharing of life stories.
Fritzina Johnson was emancipated and on her own at the age of 13. She works as DESC as a janitor, and for the past three years has regularly lobbied in Olympia, raising awareness for homelessness and mental illness issues. She words on her self esteem and her recovery, and she walks in the Pride Parade. Excerpts of an essay she wrote about her father appeared in an article published in the Fargo Forum. She recently graduated from the FareStart cooking class, and was interviewed for a Pike Place Market fundraiser. She wishes The Moth workshop were longer, because she really enjoyed it.
Launa Lea teaches writing classes at The Aurora Commons. This space, which is located on the North Aurora Corridor, offers support and hospitality to some of the Seattle's most vulnerable populations. For the past five years, she's had the honor of crafting stories with men and women who are experiencing homelessness, addiction and prostitution along Aurora Avenue.
Katie Smith is an Opsimath. Born a long time ago. Lives here now, been a helluvahlotta places in-between. Devout Humanist. Terrifically human, human being.
This is how Katie describes herself. We had to look it up.
Jason Schmidt was born in Eugene, Oregon in 1972 and was raised up and down the I-5 corridor but mostly on Seattle's Capitol Hill. He is the author of a memoir, A List of Things That Didn't Kill Me, published by Farrar, Straus and Grioux, a Macmillan imprint. He holds a BA in creative writing and a law degree, both from the University of Washington. He lives in Seattle with this family and is working on his second book.
Jason Schmidt begins telling his story at the workshops at Seattle U in March.
Gretchen Waschke is the program manager from HomeStep Family Program at Compass Housing Alliance, serving homeless families in King County. Her professional life has been centered around building community and families to create opportunities for grown - and for the past 20 years, she has worked as a child protective services investigator, as a therapist, in youth suicide prevention work, and in parent/community education. She is also a single mom on an amazing 10-year-old girl who she would go to the ends of the earth to protect.
Gretchen Waschke premiered her story in March at the Governor’s Mansion for a gathering of state leaders.
Larry Rosen explains one of The Moth’s storytelling principles at the February workshops.
Master storyteller Larry Rosen of The Moth, who led the workshops along with Sarah Austin Jenness, was our host for the April 28 event.
Larry Rosen and Sarah Austin Jenness of The Moth, two wonderful, supportive trainers who coached (and mentored) the storytellers.
UPDATE, JULY 2015: Exciting news! Many of these stories will air on The Moth Radio Hour this fall. Watch for more information here on our Facebook page.