High school is hard enough, but for 14-year-old Emma Vrabel, who has albinism, moving cross-country and starting at a new school meant self-advocating all over again. On Friday, November 3, Emma will step onto the Oral Fixation stage and bring us along with her on her odyssey of discovery.
Emma Vrabel is an avid reader, writer, listener, and performer. She first heard spoken word live about a year ago. Since then, performing and hearing spoken word stories and poetry has become one of the biggest elements of her life. Emma is a martial artist with two black belts. She lives in Keller and is a freshman in high school.
“Don’t judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.”
This quote comes from one of our favorite stories: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. These words came to mind upon our discovery of a super cool project out of Aspen, Colorado called Story Swap. Imagine a program that promotes the proverbial walking in another man’s shoes through storytelling and visual art.
What is Story Swap?
Brought to us by the Aspen Writers’ Foundation, Story Swap is an innovative educational program that uses storytelling, creative writing, and the visual arts to generate understanding between various groups of diverse individuals.
Each participant is asked to tell their partner an important story from their life that, in some way, represents who they are. The partner is then asked to recreate the storyteller’s narrative and write the story as though it were their own. In some incarnations of this program, there is a visual art aspect to the project, whereby the participants create a visual expression to accompany the story. By swapping stories, participants walk in one another’s shoes, therefore building compassion through authentic engagement with one another.
Check out some of the archived story swaps!
Though we haven’t seen record of any recent story swaps taking place, we hope that the project continues or that maybe you decide to do your own story swap! Think about it: you could do some form of this with your neighbor who you’ve always wanted to know more about, or a co-worker, a new friend or someone who frequents your favorite coffee shop. Stories are powerful, people and we would LOVE to hear about how you’re sharing them!