This weekend I had the great blessing of attending Story Fusion, a wonderful storytelling festival in the Lehigh Valley. It was organized by the Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild. The weekend was truly life changing for me and I will be posting about my experiences, and the fruits of those experiences, over the next couple of weeks. The best thing about the weekend was meeting and connecting with this whole culture of people–storytellers. The people I met were generous in spirit, kind, open, wise, playful, and out there trying to make the world a better place. One such person is Kristin Pedemonti, a professional storyteller who founded an amazing literacy outreach program in Belize. She is helping teach teachers and students creative wrting, the value of stories and literacy, and so on. It is a truly beautiful endeavor. Today I am reprinting, with her permission, an entry from her website that tells about her project. Included here are three training videos that she made showing some of the work she is doing. Please watch them now or over the next few days. She is wise and playful and we can all learn from her generous spirit. Please visit her website and follow this link to the original article because in it there is a Paypal Donation button to help support her project that I was unable to put in this reprint.
So here’s the article about her work in Belize.
Kristin sold her home and most of her possessions in 2005 to create Literacy Outreach Belize. She used a substantial portion of the proceeds from the sale to kickstart this volunteer project. Since 2006, Kristin has donated literacy programs for over 33,000 children in Belize and trained over 600 teachers!
Carla, teacher at St. Joseph Primary in Belize City has this to say:
I am a teacher at St. Joseph Primary School in Belize City and I have known Ms. Kristin ever since she came to Belize. She is a storytelling expert and she has really influenced me as a teacher. She is vibrant, motivated and has a very pleasant personality when dealing with children… I was lucky to have been chosen by her to tell stories to my class and the children and I have always enjoyed it. I am a very motivated teacher myself and just listening to her made me even more enthusiastic about teaching especially telling stories to my children. ~Carla Graniel
Great things are happening with Literacy Outreach Belize! Good News, Kristin is the 2011 Recipient of the National Storytelling Network International StoryBridge Oracle Award in part due to her work in Belize!
Every year Kristin returns to Belize for approximately one month to continue the project through teacher training workshops and school visits. Every year since 2007 she depends on her own fundraising and securing sponsorship to sustain the project. Through the years the following groups and individuals have helped sponsor Literacy Outreach Belize: In 2012, the trip was sponsored through a fundraising campaign on www.indiegogo.com. 53 people raised $3K+ to sponsor the creation of Teacher Training Videos. In the past, Michael Thomas, Belize City Rotary, Rosendo Urbino, The Kilroy Family, Allison Rotteveel, Marlborough Elementary School, Northern Elementary School and August Brinker. Read on to learn what was accomplished with each sponsor’s donations.
Thanks to all the supporters via indiegogo.com Kristin was able to do the following in January 2012:
340 students participated in Preserve Culture Story-writing programs at Bishop Martin and Immaculate Conception Schools.
168 teachers attended Teacher Training Sessions on Creative Writing Using Indigenous Stories and Storytelling in the Classroom.
TWO Teacher Training Videos were filmed and edited thanks to the help of Matthiew Klinck, Eva Behrens and Robin Reichert. The videos are already being distributed in Belize through the Literacy Unit, National Library Service, Sacred Heart College and Ecumenical Junior College and are on youtube on my channel: storytellerkp