Storytelling is a powerful practice that impacts us in many ways. Telling a story can cultivate positive emotions and fuel personal growth, and listening to stories can help increase empathy and connectedness.
We leverage the transformational power of storytelling at YEBO to address the prevalence of loneliness and hopelessness in our communities. As such, our work revolves around the “Social and Community Context” of the five key social determinants of health. This context suggests a link between social ties and psychosocial well-being.
Storytelling helps to build a culture of listening to foster greater awareness, empathy, and inclusion. According to scientific studies, one reason the brain falls in love with a good story is that hearing stories encourages the release of the hormone oxytocin, which is a hormone that controls things like empathy and social interaction.
In this way, we see storytelling as a social and emotional learning activity that enhances social interactions between community members. While our storytelling experiences aim to increase the personal empowerment of those telling the story, we also create safe and affirming spaces where audience members connect and build meaningful, healthy relationships.
Since we launched our statewide storytelling initiative, Mission 1477, 100% of audience members felt that our storytelling events positively impacted their sense of belonging and community and left them feeling more inspired and hopeful than when they arrived. Additionally, 100% of audience members felt our storytelling events enhanced their ability to empathize with the experiences faced by others.
This data shows our work is enhancing social connections and deepening social cohesion between community members.
Our storytelling events also bring together a diverse range of people across Colorado. To date, audience members attending our events represent over 20 zip codes, ranging from 8 to 67 years old. By creating spaces for storytelling, we’re bringing together communities who might otherwise not have interacted with each other, all in the spirit of respect and collaboration.
Thank you to everyone who attended one of our storytelling events and helped to show the act of listening makes the heart heard!
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