Who We Are
Story Works Alaska is sustained by the efforts of dedicated teachers, students, and the volunteers who work with them. Our volunteers include journalists, scientists, non-profit professionals, medical professionals, retired teachers, lawyers, writers, members of the military, professional storytellers, and two mathematicians –among others. To learn more about some of the individuals involved, please read on.
Since Story Works began (way back in February 2014), over 700 Anchorage-area students from Polaris, West, East, Service, Bartlett, and Dimond High Schools have participated in our workshops. These students have shared their stories with volunteers, teachers, and each other. They’ve told them in classrooms, in hallways, in stairwells, and on school stages. A handful have also told their stories at Arctic Entries events –in front of an audience of 700 people! You can listen to some of their stories here:
Merryn: All of the Sheep
Shannon: Meeting My Grandma’s Lover
Joaquin: The Bus Ride
Kate: Keep Your Chin Up
Volunteers and Teachers
Rachel Kittoe (teacher) has been teaching English at West High School since 2009. She writes: “One of the reasons I enjoy bringing Story Works to my students is that it enhances our classroom community and builds morale. It also really helps students learn how to think about structure and editing. The process of crafting a story to tell verbally is very similar to the writing process and, as we work, I can see students learn how to transfer these skills. The Story Works volunteers did a phenomenal job of positively supporting students while holding them to a high standard. The students, though a little scared at first, really enjoy themselves by the end –and came closer together as a learning community.”
Temperance Tinker (teacher) spends her days at West High School fostering a habitat for the endangered species of the teenage mind. Temperance attended her first Arctic Entries show four years ago after weeks of listening to her roommate, Diana, practice telling an Arctic Entries story at home. Ever since, she has been hooked. She is excited to be involved in bringing storytelling into the high school English Language Arts classroom.
Rosey Robards (story coach and workshop facilitator) is the director at Alaska Teen Media Institute. She is also a member of the storyboard for the Arctic Entries storytelling event and host of the Arctic Entries Radio Hour. She graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a degree in Journalism and Public Communications (May 2005). Storytelling has always been one of her favorite things to do and she finds it really rewarding to help others improve their stories as well. Bring on the stories!
Robert Stormo (story coach and workshop facilitator) is the assistant director at Alaska Teen Media Institute and told a story at the first ever Arctic Entries storytelling event! He graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2007 with a degree in Journalism and Public Communications. After graduation he transitioned from college radio to a broadcasting company in Anchorage. He now enjoys working with youth to get their stories on air by facilitating the production of the youth-produced radio show “In Other News” on KNBA 90.3 FM.
Jason Slemons (volunteer storyteller and story coach) was born and raised in Alaska. His life’s story, of which he strives to be the hero, includes a deep and abiding love of his family, mathematics, snow, skiing, and soccer. In a continual effort to give back even a small fraction of what he has gotten out of the last 35 years of life, he volunteers for Story Works. It turns out that listening to others tell their stories is as satisfying as making sense of his own.
*Listen to Jason’s story here: Jason Slemons: Excuse me, you look like you have cerebral palsy. (Recorded at Arctic Entries, October 9, 2012).
Regan Brooks (volunteer story coach) is a former science teacher and ecologist with a not-so-secret love of stories. She is excited to be involved with Story Works Alaska because: 1) listening to the students’ stories is a tremendous privilege, 2) the interest and enthusiasm of the volunteers inspires her, and 3) she loves being in high school English class again.
Vikram Patel (THE story guy) may defy description.
Lila Hobbs is an associate at Agnew::Beck Consulting and has a background in politics. She graduated from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland with a degree in International Relations. Lila’s love for learning about people and hearing their stories has led her around the world. She believes that everyone has a unique story and should have the opportunity to be heard. In her spare time, Lila can be found teaching yoga at a local substance abuse recovery program and summiting pristine mountain peaks.
Marc Spooner (volunteer story coach and tube guru) is an attorney, programmer, and literature freak who loves This-American-Life-style oral prose and hanging out with people who have interesting things to talk about. He is excited that he’s been able to help Story Works kids grind their storytelling chops, and he’s glad that this marathon coding session (the result of which is the AKSW version 2.0 you see before you) is going to streamline the volunteer application and signup debacle, if only a little bit. And pretties all around.
Tara Young: Over the past fifteen years, Tara Young has produced and edited arts and culture programming for a wealth of companies including Sundance Channel, The Criterion Collection, Vice Media, and Etsy. She is currently a video journalist at Alaska Dispatch News. Young’s interest in storytelling and documentary has led her to notable and quirky places around the world. From a woodworker in rural Missouri, to a Mexican family band in the Rio Grande Valley, to an abandoned textile mill town in Lancashire, UK. Her stories seek to get to the heart – of the story, the character, and what it means to be human.
Plus… another 60+ volunteers and 10+ teachers –all of whom have contributed countless hours towards supporting students and their stories.
You can can keep in touch with the Story Works Alaska team in a number of ways…
through our newsletter,
or using this handy contact form.
Interested in donating to support our work?
Thank you, we’d love that! Your donation to Story Works Alaska will provide valuable support to our growing program.