Making Space for New Stories

Making Space for New Stories

I’m just making space for the real storytellers.

Last Thursday, our fourth graders shuffled into the room, found their seats, and greeted their new friends Tim and Megan. Tim is a videographer and writer, and Megan makes collage and stop-motion art. I love both of their work, and I invited them to help our students make an animated film about life in our neighborhood.

We turned on our recording equipment and interviewed our students about their hopes, fears, and stories. They told us about playing on the playground, run-ins with drunk adults, sexual assaults, carbon monoxide leaks, and their dreams for their lives. This week, we worked with them to craft materials for the animation.

While our fourth graders were working on their film, I was invited by Brookhaven Christian Church, a close partner of Presencia, to talk about what we do in an interview. While I’ve spoken at churches before, this was a thrilling invitation because I would share the stage with Katie. She joined the Presencia family as a pre-school student, and now she works with us as a Program Mentor. 

I listened to Katie talk about her goal of studying psychology to help Presencia’s students. She talked about the joy of helping children in circumstances similar to her own. Her clarity and conviction filled me with hope and gratitude.

I can’t wait for you to see the film the fourth graders are making, and I know those who heard Katie’s story were inspired.

Anyone who reads these e-mails, supports Presencia’s work, or spends time with our students is helping make space for the children of immigrants in Atlanta to raise their voices and tell their own stories. Thank you for helping us raise a new generation of storytellers.

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