Let’s Get Unstuck!

Millions of people have been separated unwillingly from their families for too long.  Now it’s time to repair the bridges.

Story-Chain knows that mental health support right now is more important than ever. In the recent years there has been an increasing demand for mental health services. Bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones.

Participants are provided books, mp3 player, speaker/headphones, and audio files that they own. Not only does this give them a new project to focus on, but the act of recording the book by community members helps recognize that they are not alone. Audiobooks provide companionship for the neediest members in our community.

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How It Works!

During the pandemic, our workshops turned into phone conferences.  The concept was simple.  The readers join phone calls with 2 or 3 volunteers and a Story Chain facilitator.  The reader would then introduce the story and read for 20 minutes. The rest of the phone call volunteers give helpful suggestions on how to improve the story with their voice.  Each literacy profile receives 4 conference calls from nearly a dozen volunteers.

So when it comes time to record, we know our readers are ready.  We give them 48 hours to record all of their rehearsed material.  We either record via iphone or we bring an Olympus recorder directly to their home, show them how to use it and pick it up a couple of days later.

Here is a comment from a volunteer observing the work of another volunteer during a conference call with a reader:

“He explained the best ways to bring a listener into the story are to introduce suspense, build excitement, and provide lots of energy to bring the story to life. ‘Practice, practice, practice before you record’ …It was remarkable to hear the change in the reader’s confidence and cadence after a few helpful tips from Kirk. Very great experience.”

Once we have compiled all the recordings we edit and download onto mp3 players.

Story Chain In Action

Story Chain’s Stuck-in-Place Initiative hosted sisters Patty Clarke of Atlanta, Georgia, Peggy Sawmiller of Cridersville, Ohio and Carol White of Sarasota, Florida for a read-aloud rehearsal and recording session to their loving sister Josephine Mace of Xenia, Ohio.  Josephine’s Alzheimer’s Disease has made memory retention a real challenge.  Thankfully all the sisters were together for her birthday party in Yellow Springs.  For the last 12 years the sisters get together and do a road trip.  Last Sunday they reminisced for Josephine via a phone conference with volunteer and filmmaker Ed Radtke from Santa Fe, New Mexico.  During the rehearsal it occurred to Peggy that Josephine should be present for the recording.  This was a first for Story Chain as all the readers gathered around our client and told stories.  Fifty minutes of arguments, laughter and tears ensued.  Josephine will receive her two hours of audio recording by the end of June.