The Power of Story
Ericka Brown has become an expert in many things over the last year: teaching computer literacy to adults, managing the phones and doors at the front desk of several Project HOME sites, and telling a story that will leave an audience spellbound. Ericka, a resident of Rowan Homes Judson and a Digital Literacy Instructor at the Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs, has been a member of the Project HOME Speakers Bureau for a year. But she recently took her story-sharing to another level.
The Moth, an internationally acclaimed storytelling project and podcast, hosted a workshop in Philadelphia last February in partnership with the William Penn Foundation and Funders’ Network. Over 500 people from across the city applied to participate in the workshop. Only 12 participants were selected, and Ericka was one of them.
The theme for the workshop was “Reinvention.” Participants were invited to share stories of remaking, making-over, or reviving oneself. They worked on their stories with coaches and other participants in a 12-hour workshop spanning two days. And then they presented their stories, without notes, to a live audience. With poignancy and grace, Ericka spoke of her family’s transition from homelessness to stability, and of her own journey from despair to confidence and joy. She made such an impression that the Moth coaches invited her to share her story a few weeks later at The Funders’ Network Annual Conference.
Ericka says that being part of the Project HOME community and the Speakers Bureau has helped her to be more open and not ashamed of her past. “I don’t feel like I have any limits anymore,“ she says. “Before I felt like I was always going to be stuck. But I have a lot of hope where I was once hopeless.” This hope is contagious, empowering many of us at Project HOME to believe that more stories of transformation and coming home can become a reality.