When I simply Listen-When Someone truly Listens to me- A Team poem

Image result for Listen
When I simply Listen

I am more conscious of what the speaker is saying
I matter
I get sleepy
I feel I am doing what I am meant to do
I seem to lose focus and need to catch myself

When I simply Listen
I learn a little bit about a person
I am more engaged in the story
I got more understanding
I hear what isn’t said, and become intuitive

When I simply Listen
I hear what is said and I  acknowledge it
I become part of the story.

When I simply Listen
I feel connected with the storyteller
I feel grateful
A whole new world opens up from a whole new vantage point

When someone truly listens to me
They understand the heart of the message behind my story
I fulfill them with richness
I feel anxious and sleepy

When someone truly listens to mestoryfest5
I feel empowered
I need interaction from them, not silence
They can see things that I don’t see in myself
I feel more comfortable and confident
I feel as if my  point was made and I  was engaging.

When someone truly listens to me
I see that I am heard
I am comfortable being expressive
I feel like my story is important
I feel important
I feel powerful

When someone truly listens to me
I can tell

AmeriCorps Project CHANGE Team
January 27th 2017 Noa Baum Story Training



Learning to Tell Stories that Matter- Noa Baum

Noa-Baum-Washington-PostIn between her book tour and her performances, Noa Baum stopped by Project CHANGE today to share her skills. Since our program believes so much in the power of narrative to help us deepen our experience of service and to turn it into memories to inspire for the rest of our lives, Noa is a wonderful member of our faculty.

A story establishes a relationship between the Listener and the Story and the Listener andTriangle the Storyteller, Noa teaches. The power of a great story is that it invites the Listener to create their own story, and to imagine the character and the plot in their own terms. A story that tells you everything does not give you room to interpret. So the gaps in a story are crucial, gaps for the listener to fill in.

Noa went on to explain that a story leaves you free to make your own meaning, in contrast to a storyNoa Baum300x265 that dictates the meaning. That kind of story is more of a sermon or even worse, propaganda. Having given a little bit of theory, it was down to practice and the team pairing up to experiment with “Listening with Curiosity and Delight” and finding a story of  your AmeriCorps year to share and craft.


“Not hearing is not as good as hearing, hearing is not as good as seeing, seeing is not as good as knowing, knowing is not as good as acting; true learning continues until it is put into action.” (Confucius)



“the quality of the story always reflects the quality of the listening”


Stories about Members- Wendy at Saturday School

3Ms. Pintado, the AmeriCorp member has been helping to edit college entrance essays, creating outlines with the students. In addition, she has been helping the students choose their college of choice. Ms. Pintado has also edited student resumes so they may apply to colleges and submit scholarship applications.

She has also facilitated ACES workshops, specifically time management. Ms. Pintado assisted with the ACES kickoff which introduces parents to the services provided and the ACES partnership. There was an evening parent event on being an involved ACES parent and she helped out during November 2016. 

Lastly, Ms. Pintado is helping the ACES program with mentoring ACES students because she is a 1st generation student as well as a scholarship recipient.

Stories about our members-Diana Rubio at Kemp Mills Elementary

rubio-dianaDiana is biliterate in English and Spanish, and she is a great role-model for all the students in my classroom! She supports all the students in the class and has demonstrated a strong commitment to their learning. She has been planning a visit to the University of Maryland for all the 4thand 5th grade students in our school. She got the field trip approved by presenting her proposal to the principal in our school. She was really excited about that! She is planning to make this a memorable experience for all our students by involving other AmeriCorps Program participants as well. Diana got the inspiration to make this experience possible after talking to our students and realizing that most of them did not know anything about any local universities. We are all excited and look forward to this field trip that will connect the classroom to the real-world. Gracias Diana for all your enthusiasm and commitment, si se puede!!!   (Supervisor Juan Figueroa)

Stories about our members: Alma at Benchmarks loves Words

alma“Alma is very receptive to the needs of the students in the after school program.  Through relationship building with program youth, Alma has noticed that some of the participants share her passion for words/vocabulary.  Noticing this as a way to further engage the young participants, while being intentional with program offerings, Alma has implemented a “Word Group”.   If students complete their homework before the hour of 5:30, they have the option of joining Alma and others to engage in activities such as; word searches, crossword puzzles, and fill in the blanks.  The activities, popular with the students as they are, are meant to further develop vocabulary and focus on parts of speech.  Alma has made this group a “cool space to be” and even students who don’t share a passion for vocabulary (yet) have joined in the fun.  “ (Meredith Smith Supervisor) 

Mapping the Middle- Project CHANGE declare a Middle

Image result for terra incognita

After the holiday break, the Project CHANGE team reassembled today to catch up and greet the new year. It was also time to revisit the journey of service and claim that we are just about half way, to declare a middle.

We played a game with maps and ships and compasses and asked each member to place themselves on the map.  Where are you now? How far have you come? They opened their letter to themselves that they wrote back in September, like the sealed orders a captain opens once he or she is on the open seas.  It gave them some bearings, and reminded them of what  they expected back then at the start.

Most were on course, and had the wind at their backs and were powering ahead, while a few felt they were a little stuck in the doldrums. Others had found that tropical island in the middle of the ocean that made them feel so content that they did not really want to leave. They had created their own comfort zone. One even felt she was somewhat wrecked and had to salvage some parts of the first part of her service year to build a better craft for the second half. She had had a terrible accident and had been out of action for a few weeks recovering.Map the Middle

What we asked the members was “What do you know now that you did not know then, that you can use to make a difference for the rest of your journey?”

Some members said that they had to readjust their expectations to make it work for them.  They had sorted through some of their frustrations and were determined to make the most of the year.  Others said that then they joined, they thought it would be all about serving the kids and they did not expect that organizations and staff and relationships would matter quite so much. Some members are feeling the stress of overload. They are being asked to go the extra mile, which they do not mind doing so long as supervisors remember they are AmeriCorps- folks map the middle 2who are serving as a year away from the grind of 40 hour weeks and salaries. They are not just extra staff.  AmeriCorps is not meant to get people ready for the working world. It is introducing them to the dignity of service.

Sometimes in the middle, we all need reminding of what Project CHANGE is all about. It is about  making a difference, to the people we serve and to the people who are serving. It is not about filling gaps.

Today also marks our first meeting with students at Sligo Middle School and the creation of our own Mentoring program. The kids we got to meet were great and really fun to talk to.  We look forward to meeting Diego and Robert and Jose and the girls in two weeks time.sligo 2
All in all, a good start to a new year. Here’s to a safe and fruitful 2017.