Our program, and what we want to do: Children at the Well (C@W) is currently a one-of-a-kind storytelling program for teenagers of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.
This project is not only about growing peace-building through youth storytelling. It’s also about what we all do as a community to counteract the current narrative that seeks to separate us, politically, socially and as citizens of this country and the world.
After ten amazing years we are writing a book to help others launch their own peace-building youth storytelling programs based on- not simply replicating- the C@W model.
Our unpublished 145 page book will be the first component of the Children at the Well Starter Kit. It features a variety of voices of people who have been involved, and provides a full C@W curriculum and practical advice. The work covers dreaming up a bridge-building youth storytelling program, enlisting community allies, administering and delivering the program, and sustaining it into the future.
We want to inspire readers- including storytellers, teachers, youth group leaders, librarians and clergy- with the success we’ve found, and give them the tools they would need to start their own program.
Why are we doing this Kickstarter? We want to complete the first phase of the C@W Starter Kit by publishing the book we have already written, and make it the very best it can be to inspire and instruct readers, step by step, in envisioning and creating their own programs.
The world needs many, many more programs like Children at the Well. The next generation already knows it wants to inhabit a peaceful, thriving, healthful and sustainable world. Children at the Well programs can produce grounded, articulate, effective and compassionate leaders who can make their dreams (and ours) become reality.
Why do we call our program “Children at the Well”? Young people gathering to delve into the treasures of wisdom in their own traditions is similar in ways to the age-old custom of youth at the village well, drawing water to bring back to their families to sustain them.
The image of well water, drawn from the depths, is particularly powerful for us as an agent of sustenance, growth and change.
‘Well’ can be seen as a metaphor for the depths of the traditions of the world, for the depths inside each of us, and for the search to find a more authentic and pure inner expression.
Want to know more about Children at the Well? Many articles, videos and radio interviews about C@W are available: http://www.childrenatthewell.org/children-at-the-well-articles.shtml
C@W, its staff and its alumni have won numerous awards – see http://www.childrenatthewell.org/catw-awards.shtml
A successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012 funded the making of a film about C@W by one of our alums. You can read about the film and watch the trailer for it here: http://www.childrenatthewell.org/stepping-toward-the-lion.shtml
Please note: If this Kickstarter campaign succeeds, almost five thousand dollars of your donations will be MATCHED by a very generous donor who truly believes in us! (the match funds will go towards C@W operating expenses)
Why we care: Children at the Well is an inter-generational program that has successfully gathered together young people and their families and neighbors of different backgrounds in our community and beyond, and developed shared understandings through stories.
From ten years’ experience, we are sure that the programs created by the use of our guide will produce confident and empathetic young leaders, engender peace and understanding, and build community everywhere they spring up.
Our Team: We are a diverse group of storytellers, parents, middle school and high school students and program alums, board members and other volunteers, all associated with the Children at the Well program (www.childrenatthewell.org) and the Interfaith Story Circle which has been connecting people through story since 1993 in the Capital Region of New York State (www.interfaithstory.org/tricity). I, Paula Weiss, am Director of Children at the Well.
Our Plan and Timeline: The book is written. Here is what it needs to get into the hands of people who have been waiting for it (and into the hands of those who don’t yet know about it but will want it once they do!): developmental editing, copy-editing, layout and formatting, a cover, graphics, publishing, promotion and marketing.
We have been consulting with publishers and others in the field of publishing; we have been weighing our options. With a successful Kickstarter campaign, we conservatively expect to have the finished book available June, 2017.
Any proceeds in excess of expected publishing costs will go towards the next phase of the Starter Kit; an online text/video training package to complement the book.
What can you do to help?
- Support our Kickstarter Campaign!
- Spread the word! Email your friends! Post to Facebook and listservs! Tweet it!
- Share our campaign with bloggers, journalists and businesses that embrace our values.
Risks and challenges
We cannot honestly think of any risk that would prevent the completion of our project.
We will meet challenges as we always have; as a community. Our ten years of running Children at the Well, and 23 years of meeting with the Interfaith Story Circle and building a region-wide community has shown us that help will appear, and that people are behind us.
There is demand, and need, for what Children at the Well can offer the world.
- (30 days)