WHAT IS THE SHARING HISTORY INITIATIVE?

The Sharing History Initiative fosters storytelling in under-resourced classrooms and communities around the United States. The initiative provides educators, storytellers, and social justice advocates with free books, free curricula, and access to a nationwide learning community through the Voice of Witness Education Program.

This national book placement program has placed over 2,000 copies of our anthology, The Voice of Witness Reader, in almost 100 schools and organizations around the U.S. since 2015, and provides participants with curricular support during the school year.

This year, the initiative will feature Chasing the Harvest: Migrant Workers in California AgricultureChasing the Harvest highlights California’s migrant farmworkers, who make up one third of the nation’s agricultural workforce, and their stories of hardship, bravery, solidarity, and creativity in making a life in California’s fields.

Applications for 2017-18 have closed. Please check back in spring 2018.

 

The Sharing History Initiative is made possible with the generous support of the Germanacos Foundation and the Abundance Foundation.

PREVIEW: Click to read a story and see the curricula inside

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?

The Sharing History Initiative is geared toward high schools, community colleges, universities, and education, human rights, or arts-based non-profits. By fostering these relationships, we aim to grow our national network of educators, storytellers, and social justice advocates.

The initiative connects participants with dynamic resources, including:

  • Other Voice of Witness workshops

Are the books really free?

Yes, they are really free! We’ve received funding from various individuals and foundations in order to offer these books and curricular resources free of charge. Mailing and book shipping costs are also covered!

Am I eligible to apply?

The Sharing History Initiative is open to individuals in the U.S. who work with communities in an educational or advocacy-based capacity. This includes educators at middle schools, high schools, community colleges, and universities, as well as other individuals affiliated with a non-profit or other organization that directly serves a community. What matters most is a demonstrated commitment to working with a community and a desire to educate and promote empathy through storytelling.

What are the goals of the Sharing History Initiative, and how will that impact the selection process?

While reviewing the applicant pool, we will consider how the selected applicants, as a group, will reflect the initiative’s goals of:

  • Addressing the needs of under-resourced public schools and teachers
  • Serving a large geographic range in the U.S.
  • Serving a diversity of schools and organizations, ranging from middle and high schools, non-profits, community colleges, and universities

Which book(s) will I receive?

Every school or organization selected to participate in the initiative will receive our new book, Chasing the Harvest: Migrant Workers in California Agriculture.

When will I find out if I’ve been selected to receive the books?

The application process closes on June 30, 2017. We will notify selected schools and organizations by July 14, 2017.

How many books will I receive?

Each participating organization or school will receive a maximum of thirty books, depending on the size of a classroom or group they will be working with.

When will the books arrive?

Books will be shipped at no cost to participating schools and organizations during the first week of August.

If I’ve participated in the Sharing History Initiative before, can I apply again?

Yes, as long as the book title has changed. If you previously received a set of The Voice of Witness Reader, you are welcome to apply for copies of Chasing the Harvest. However, priority will go to schools and organizations that meet our initiative’s goals and have not received any books in prior years.

What does Voice of Witness require or expect in return?

We will require a short, end-of-year report detailing how the books were used, which learning goals were addressed, number of people served, etc. Our expectation (but not requirement) is that participating schools and organizations will contribute to Voice of Witness curricular resources by sharing lesson plans, project ideas, assessment models, work samples, and other demonstrations of how the books were used in classroom and community settings.

What is a Voice of Witness “learning community”?

The short answer is that in a Voice of Witness learning community, everyone is a teacher and everyone is a student. The slightly longer answer is that Voice of Witness learning communities are engaged and supportive networks of individuals and organizations who are committed to the transformative power of storytelling, and share an interest in education, social justice, community building, critical thinking, communication, cultural competency, and more.

 

If you still have questions, feel free to contact us at edu@voiceofwitness.org.

APPLICATIONS CLOSED

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

PARTICIPANTS

“Students saw the larger importance and power of storytelling and felt a great sense of connection to their own oral history work. In addition, the support provided by Voice of Witness has also furthered the sense of community created in the classroom.”

—Lisa Thyer, Amos Alonzo Stagg High School, Palos Hills, IL

“My classes have never been more engaged.”

—Graham Knisley, Valley Prep Academy,
Louisville, KY

“The journalism class at The Academy at Palumbo is Philadelphia is absolutely in love with the narratives in The Voice of Witness Reader. The oral history narrative by Adama Bah inspired all of us to write, direct, and produce our own oral history mixed media projects focusing on defining moments in our lives.”

—Robert Paul, The Academy at Palumbo, Philadelphia, PA

See past and current participating schools and organizations here.

Graham Knisley with his 8th graders at Valley Prep Academy, Louisville, KY