April 2013

Connor Garvey is first and foremost an advocate for intentional living. Through his career as a touring singer-songwriter and his work in facilitated educational experiences Connor challenges himself and others to not only wring out the stories in life but also seek their meaning, relevance, and transference. He learned of the Telling Room on a whim a few years back when he walked by a Slant Storytelling Night at Space Gallery. Drawn in by the stories and inspired by a place that brings them out he knew he had to become involved with the Telling Room. Connor loves volunteering with many different types of groups and particularly enjoys getting to see the way students react when they feel that their stories mean something...even if it's just a shared laugh when it's told!


It was only a matter of time before Claire Jeffers found the Telling Room. She's been a literacy volunteer in Boston and New York City, so it was natural to follow suit in Portland. One of the things she loves most about the Telling Room is their BIG presence in the community. They aren't just an after school program, or a place to volunteer on your lunch break. The TR is grander and farther-reaching. She sees this in how the TR leaders lead, how the students grow from each activity, and how the community of volunteers come together to support the whole. Claire edits nonfiction essays for Freerange Nonfiction, photographs for Maine Today, waits tables at a German restaurant, and babysits an awesome kid.  


After teaching high school English for 10 years, Ilse Haag retired to be a stay-at-home mom. She learned of the Telling Room from various friends, whose kids participated in the programs, and now that her own kids are old enough to allow her to commit to regular volunteering, she loves spending time in the Telling Room's Field Trips and Residencies. Her favorite part about working with kids is connecting with them through consistent interaction. She's able to witness their personal growth, as a piece of writing is manipulated into its polished state. She believes that every person, any age, has a unique story to tell. When people share their stories with Ilse, her world becomes an even better place.


For Alison Howe, finding the Telling Room in the fall of 2012 was one of the best things to ever happen to her. Even at a young age, the power of the written word impressed her. It is this belief in writing’s ability to both alter and empower us that drove her to her Therapeutic Writing major at Hampshire College. There she wrote her thesis entitled “Writing to Heal,” which combined her own personal fiction with a study of the history of trauma and an exploration of the cathartic and therapeutic benefits of writing. After graduating and moving back to Maine, Ali was delighted to stumble upon the Telling Room, a place that values writing as much as she does, if not more. Ali spends her volunteering time at WordPLAY where she is constantly inspired by the passion and creativity of the kids she works with.