What is a Story Circle?

Story Circles are opportunities for small groups of people to gather together to listen and share thoughts and stories related to a common theme. No preparation is necessary and each participant has the option to share or simply listen to others. Story Circles aren’t about performing. Rather, the purpose is to listen and connect.

The Story Circles program began in Spring 2020 in an effort to support healthy connection in a time of social distancing. Story Works and the Alaska Humanities Forum currently offer two versions of our youth-facilitated Story Circles:

Story Circles can be hosted on Zoom or in-person, depending on staff comfortability and your classroom or organization’s need.

Watch this video to learn a bit more about Story Circles and to experience a bit of one yourself!

Educator & Community Member Story Circles

Educator and Community Member Story Circles are Story Circles hosted specifically for Educators and/or Community Members. The participants may not know each other or they may be a group that collaborates (through work or community) in other ways. Learn more about or register for Educator & Community Member Story Circles here.

Participants in an Educator Story Circle sharing one-word takeaways.

Youth Story Circles

Youth Story Circles are Story Circles hosted specifically for youth by youth facilitators. The participants may not know each other or they may be a group that collaborates (through work, school, or community groups) in other ways.

Learn more about or register for Youth Story Circles here.

Participants in a Youth Story Circle share one-word takeaways.

Image Illustrating Online Story Circle.

Above: Youth Story Circle illustration by participant, alum, and Teaching Fellow @mel_verse.

Story Circles are a partnership between the Alaska Humanities Forum and Story Works. Youth Facilitator involvement and training is supported in part by the Alaska Community Foundation Social Justice Fund and an amazing team of Story Works alumni. We are also thankful to the #PeoplesStateofTheUnion project of the US Dept. of Arts and Culture for offering guidelines about the fine art of bringing storytelling into the land of Zoom.


If you’d like to share during the Story Circle, we encourage you to respond to one of these prompts. Please do not worry about preparing a response. There will be time to prepare during the circle. Past participants have asked to see the prompts in advance, so here they are!

  • How have you or someone you respect stayed hopeful in troubled times, recently or in the past?
  • What is a practice or activity that has brought you, your community, or people you love comfort, joy, or a sense of connection during this time, or in the past?
  • What is a time when you learned something positive as a result of an unexpected change? What did you learn and how has that learning affected you?

May 6, 2020 UPDATE: Alaska-based Story Circle Participants Eligible for $200 stipend for hosting story circles! Through our partnership with the Alaska Humanities Forum, Story Circle participants can apply for a $200 stipend to defray the costs of hosting and express our gratitude for your time and energy. Both individuals and tax-exempt organizations can apply using this online form. We do ask that groups applying for stipends have story circle participants complete a short survey, which can be previewed here. If you have any questions about the stipends, please reach out to Sarah Richmond at srichmond@akhf.org


Before using the online registration system confirm that your application has been approved and make sure you can attend (or have attended) an orientation session prior to your volunteer date. We will have to decline any unapproved registrations. Thanks for your understanding!

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