May 2013

It was only a matter of time before Take Action Portland found the Telling Room. As advocates for local non-profit organizations, TAP coordinates group-oriented volunteer projects as an easy way for people to get involved in their community while learning about non-profits doing great work in the Portland. When working together with the TR to figure out a volunteer project, it was clear that the community has already fully embraced them. With the TR having a network of over 400 volunteers, TAP's focus shifted from raising awareness (since that didn't seem to be a problem!) to helping interested volunteers make connections to the TR community. TAP had no problems finding over 20 volunteers to help run the Big Night celebration of student authors. It was a great opportunity for TAP volunteers to get connected with the TR community, learn a little bit more about what they do and how they do it, and watch inspiring and powerful student performances. Volunteering with the TR is just plain fun and TAP cannot wait to work with them again!


Greta Rybus is always on the look out for great stories, people, community, light and colors- and found all at the Telling Room.  A photojournalist based in Portland, Maine, she was raised in Boise, Idaho in a family who read poems at the dinner table and who sometimes left Idaho to live abroad.  Many places feel like home to her: Japan, Idaho, Montana, Germany, and now, Maine.  Grateful for the books, images, educators, and literacy centers that influenced her own upbringing, Greta decided to volunteer at the Telling Room. Because of her firm belief that everyone has an interesting story to tell and their own unique way of telling it, Greta is a volunteer at the annual summer Documentary Camp. Hearing, reading, and seeing the perspectives and stories made by young documentarians reaffirms her optimism for the future of journalism and storytelling.


Judy Fitch recently fulfilled her lifelong dream of living in Maine, and found home on Peaks Island. She discovered The Telling Room in 2010 online while researching Portland nonprofits. She knew that if she made it here, this is where she would find her tribe (and she did!) As a storyteller and writer at heart, Judy finds the Telling Room endlessly nurturing and inspiring. Being present while kids find their voice and participating in helping them grow as writers is such an honor. "My whole day lights up when I walk into The Telling Room, and I leave with my soul full." Since she began volunteering at WorldPlay in December, Wednesdays have been her favorite day of the week. The laughter, ideas, conversations and stories that bounce around The Telling Room every Wednesday are the slices of life that truly matter. She is a member of the Peaks Island Ukulele Band, and plays a little guitar (but never in front of humans). When she is not working at one of several retail stores, as a plumbers assistant, or creating for her jewelry line Modern Pixie, she can be found exploring the amazing coast and woods of Peaks Island.


Betsy Wiley taught for twelve years at Cape Elizabeth HS, then left to get her doctorate in American Studies at GWU. After graduating in 2005, she worked with Frank Goodyear of the National Portrait Gallery on a book about Zaida Ben-Yusuf, a celebrity portrait photographer at the turn of the twentieth century. Now back in Maine, she takes great delight in her friends and family and great inspiration from the young TR writers, who remind her that good writers write.