SpeakeasyDC Supports Oral Traditions, Teaches Storytelling Skills

Tuesday, 7. August 2012 15:19 | Author:

Established in 1997 under the name Washington Storytellers Theatre, Speakeasy DC is an organization that empowers individuals to share their experiences through the rich traditions of storytelling. Not only does the group produce 25 original live storytelling shows each year, but it also offers both public classes and private coaching to those who wish to improve their skills.

SpeakeasyDC’s goals are simple: to produce high quality storytelling performances; provide ongoing storytelling training and performance opportunities to the public, and preserve the oral tradition in a way that speaks to and enriches contemporary life. Through these goals, SpeakeasyDC allows ordinary people to share their authentic experiences, promotes understanding and builds community.

The rules for performances are simple: every story must be true, under seven minutes, and adhere to the night’s theme (if there is one). The group’s monthly open mic storytelling series takes place on the second Tuesday of every month. SpeakeasyDC also has special performances throughout the year, like a Valentine’s Day Sucker for Love even or a performance at Sixth & I titled My So Called Jewish Life. This non-profit is able to continue the art and instruction of traditional storytelling through donations, sponsorships and the support of DC locals and visitors at its performances.

Category:Other | Comments Off on SpeakeasyDC Supports Oral Traditions, Teaches Storytelling Skills

Frank Peterson Helps Guatemalans Through Partner for Surgery

Tuesday, 27. March 2012 20:41 | Author:

In June of 2000, Frank Peterson was busy with his work as the Director of the Propulsion and Hydrodynamics Department at the U.S. Navy Department. In July of 2000, Peterson gave it all up, choosing instead to help Guatemalans gain access to surgical care offered by volunteer medical teams.

Frank’s son, Todd, spent two years in Guatemala as a Peace Corp volunteer. During his time there, he realized that there was no communication or infrastructure between the rural Guatemalan communities and the volunteer international surgical teams that would visit the country hoping to aid those who needed surgery and healthcare the most. When the elder Mr. Peterson visited his son, he saw a way the pair could help. That visit grew into Partner for Surgery. Now, Frank splits his time between Guatemala, where he oversees operations, and the United States, where he raises funds and recruits volunteers. Last year, Frank was honored with the highest honor bestowed by Rotary International, the Service above Self award.

Based outside of D.C. in McLean, VA, Partner for Surgery aims to improve health, reduce poverty, overcome barriers and empower communities around Guatemala. Due to the hard work of Todd and Frank Peterson, along with numerous volunteers, the program has grown and flourished in the past 11 years. Through several grants, the program was able to give medical supplies and equipment to over 55 North American medical teams and, altogether, the program has helped improve the lives of over 40,000 patients from the Mayan communities.

Category:Other | Comments Off on Frank Peterson Helps Guatemalans Through Partner for Surgery

Life Pieces to Masterpieces Help Young Adults Express Themselves

Thursday, 16. February 2012 19:41 | Author:

Her awards include: Mayor’s Spirit of Neighborhood Action Award, the Augusta Savage Arts Leadership Award, the Monica Davis Show Award for Community Service, the 2007 Washington DC Economic Partnership Innovators Awards. She is a member of the Leadership Great Washington class of 2009 and the Board of Directors for See Forever Foundation/Maya Angelou Public Charter Schools and the Ward 7 Arts Collaborative. She serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts. She has been inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Sponsors at Morehouse College. Clearly, philanthropy and community service are important in the life of Mary Brown; but what really matters to Brown is the non-profit organization that she serves as Executive Director, Life Pieces to Masterpieces.

In 1996, Brown, along with two others, Larry B. Quick and Ben Johnson, founded Life Pieces to Masterpieces to help young and under-served African American males in Washington, D.C. For young adults who have grown up without fathers or in families plagued by poverty or substance abuse, Life Pieces to Master Pieces serves as an escape. By combining arts instruction and human development skills, Brown and her staff encourage their “apprentices” to find beauty in their lives through art, be it pain, storytelling, poetry or rap. The organization’s success is overwhelming; of the 150 participants each year, close to zero percent father an illegitimate child or become involved in the District’s juvenile justice system and 100 percent graduate.


Category:Other | Comments Off on Life Pieces to Masterpieces Help Young Adults Express Themselves

Elin Ross Helps Foster Kids Prepare for Future in Hospitality

Monday, 31. October 2011 21:09 | Author:

After working in the child welfare and foster care system for several years during the 1990s, Elin Ross was disheartened by the lack of community commitment to helping youths in foster care learn skills that would help them succeed after they have aged out of the system.

In 2008, Ross combined her passion for baking and culinary arts with her expertise in non-profit management and social services experience and started Cakes for Cause. Cakes for Cause is a nonprofit social enterprise bakery and bistro based in Frederick, Maryland, that offers an eight-month program of vocational and job readiness for young adults between 16 and 21. In addition to learning about restaurant operations, the students will learn skills like punctuality, appropriate dress and interview protocol and how to secure a job in the hospitality industry.

“For me, it is a sense of responsibility … as I feel we, as a society, have failed these kids,” she said in a 2008 interview. “There is a sense of wanting to create a program that doesn’t sustain levels of poverty, but instead gives young people options and finds ways to lift them up.”

Before she began Cakes for Cause, Ross worked for the D.C. nonprofit Nonviolence International for eight years. In 2004 she attended L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, where she honed her skills learned from her baking hobby as well as gain skills in bakery marketing. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University in liberal studies and a master’s in applied anthropology from American University. She also is an active participant in her Neighborhood Advisory Council and is raising funds for the beautification of the Laboring Sons Memorial Ground in Frederick.

Category:Other | Comments Off on Elin Ross Helps Foster Kids Prepare for Future in Hospitality