When We the People Warwick’s Story Share program debuted to a large and appreciative audience in June, the hope was that a Warwick tradition would be launched. With a similar outcome for Warwick Story Share #2 on October 14 at Mountain Lake Park lodge (the former Kutz Camp), that hope had the support of another large and enthusiastic audience.
“It’s very exciting, and plans for Warwick Story Share #3 and #4 are in the works,” said Beverly Braxton, founder and director of We the People Warwick (WTPW). “The idea behind Warwick Story Share is surprisingly simple: when stories are told by people in the community and heard by people in the community, that community draws closer and gets stronger. Sharing stories is just one of many ways WTPW is trying to create opportunities for building connection in our community, which is at the heart of what WTPW is all about.”
The five-minute stories that evening were varied, and all were greeted with audience enthusiasm. Among them were stories of coming to America and starting a Warwick business, dramatic mountain-side rescues, coping with a horrific tornado in Greenwood Lake and a life-saving donkey. Many of the stories marked turning points in the storytellers lives, while others were simply stories that made the audience laugh, gasp, or exhale in near-crisis relief.
People stayed on after the last story to mingle, often with people they hadn’t known previously, and also to ask the storytellers about “the rest of their story.”
These are a few of the many comments from the anonymous post-event survey that capture the evening’s positive vibe:
“This event has allowed me to witness the strength and creativity of people in our community;”
“I’ve been living in Warwick for 35 years and so many times I didn’t feel like I belonged. Going to Story Share and listening to my fellow Warwickians ...It felt like one big family.”
“Really loved the stories and meeting new people.”
Braxton also focused on the future. In addition to more Story Share events, she highlighted the You Are Not Alone Mental Health Forum on November 10, also at Mountain Lake Park’s lodge and A Day in the Life at the Albert Wisner Public Library. More about these and other WTPW programs is on their website, wethepeoplewarwick.org.
“Lots of good things happening for the people, and that means the whole community,” Braxton said.
Story and photo contributed by Geoff Howard
Many of the stories marked turning points in the storytellers lives, while others were simply stories that made the audience laugh, gasp, or exhale in near-crisis relief.