Story Tapestries' Artists have been working in the community for over 20 years. The stories below come from the archives of one of our masters, Carrie Sue Ayvar. The dollars we are raising will help to pay for her services in March at a school in Washington DC.
As Master Teaching Artists we know the process works, recognizing moments of growth and brilliance and “magic” but often never seeing the long term ramifications. Every once in a while, though, we do get a glimpse of a “ripple on the water” and for me, Carrie Sue, it serves as lights on my path. Here are just a few that have changed me.
Powerful Tale #1: A little 3 year old girl, traumatized after a hurricane, was having trouble sleeping, troubled by bad dreams. Together we created a story for her to tell herself as she went to sleep, to “start” her dreams. I came back to the preschool a month later and she came running up to me, excited and with a huge grin. “Story Lady, Story Lady, you came back! I knew you’d come back!” She had been waiting to tell me that she no longer was afraid of the bad dreams because she could now tell herself “happy” stories!
Empowering Moment #2: Geraldine V. a third grade teacher in Little Havana wrote this about an experience with one of her ESL students, Sarai: “During the final dress rehearsal of our performance of the folktale, Goldilocks and the Three Bears one of my students, Sarai, wanted to be our Goldilocks and worked extremely hard to memorize her lines. Unfortunately, when the time came to perform in front of her peers, Sarai would not budge to center stage. As much as I tried to console her and get her on stage, she just didn’t seem to want to do it. I began to panic thinking of a possible replacement and sort of “lost hope” on Sarai’s ability to perform the play. Then, Carrie Sue (our resident artist), did something that left me speechless. She took the time to work with Sarai on breathing techniques, posture, etc. and even shared personal stories with her. In the end, not only did Sarai perform in front of her peers as well as the whole school through the closed circuit channel, but Carrie Sue also restored the hope I had lost.”
Final Dynamic Moment #3: It wasn’t until almost 2 years later, at a community breakfast where he was asked to speak, did I learn Isaac’s story. Two weeks before the start of the residency with his fourth grade class his older brother, his mentor and role model, was brutally murdered. Isaac was devastated. Depressed and hopeless he said that he “felt that I was at the bottom of a deep, dark hole” and did not want to get out of bed let alone go to school or participate in anything. At 10 years old he felt as if there no light or hope. He did go back to school but was very quiet and withdrawn. Until the day the “Storyteller” came. At first there was no reaction but in the middle of the story of Florhipa Isaac found his connection. He said that he remembered that it felt as if a small light started to shine and he knew that he too, just like in the story, had the strength and courage to go on. He found his hope. Almost 2 years later he remembered the story that he had only heard once. He remembered (quite proudly!) how to stand and speak in front of others and what to do when he became nervous. He remembered the darkness but more importantly he remembered the light of hope.
Literacy is not just about learning to read, it is about discovering the power of the spoken and written word. It is because of your donation that we are able to bring both the light of learning and heart of story to our students.
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