At Barkada Circle, we use storytelling as the catalyst for sparking conversations between the people of a community so they can inspire each other and work together to make change happen.
For the past few months, my team has been immersed in Chicago’s education community. From coaching early childhood educators in a nursery school so they can engage the parents of the children on a deeper human level to speaking to a group of development professionals for community colleges about the value of storytelling in their work. From training teachers to be leaders in their own communities to engaging the board members of a museum in outreach and promoting their mission.
Barkada Circle’s goal for 2015 is to highlight the value of storytelling as a transformative agent for education: why storytelling is the foundation for how children learn and how adults find common ground around the issues of education, why each one of us must engage in making sure everyone has access to education regardless of their socio-economic status in the community.
Recently we gathered parents, youth, educators and nonprofit leaders around a table in Evanston, Illinois to share their experiences and perspectives on education. Participating in this conversation provided them opportunities for:
- Meeting other equally invested neighbors who share similar visions for Evanston
- Deepening their understanding of the community’s needs, programs, challenges and successes
- Planting the seeds for future interactions, collaborations and resource sharing
This was our first step in supporting people’s efforts to make the necessary change for education in Evanston. As we facilitate more conversations, we continue the journey of addressing education as the cornerstone of our democracy and, presently, a tangled web of direction, intention and contention. Once we reach the place where we find our common truth and identity, only then can we change our story that weaves together reconciliation, courage and hopefulness.
Listen to these three storytellers talk about having the courage to break down barriers to reconcile their passion for education with the needs of underserved students so that they can hope to succeed in life.