Story Telling is Alive and Well

Silhouette. of man walking on road wearing a backpack and looking down. - 7/09/2019

Stories help us make sense of the world. They also help mold the future. While some stories are solely for entertainment, others teach us about values, society and cultural differences. We’ve passed them down through our families and communities. Thanks to technology, today we can instantly share our stories with people across the globe. Innovations such as Ted Talks, YouTube vines and PBS “Stories from the Stage” captivate us. But some people still travel to tell their stories in-person.     

Holding a particular audience captive each year, employees from one Pensacola-based company visit Capitol Hill to share life stories about challenge and success with congressional leaders. They get this opportunity as part of the annual SourceAmerica® Grassroots Advocacy Conference. When legislators hear about their life journeys, most of them are moved to support finding jobs for people with disabilities.

You see, GCE employs about 1,800 people, most who have disabilities and want to work and live independently. They want to learn new things and show off their talents. The conference gives a voice to these people. Over the years, their stories have led to advanced job opportunities, better wages and enhanced working conditions. Who wouldn’t be moved by stories like these:

Tommy Huynh was 6-years-old when he witnessed a horrific crime that resulted in the death of his mother, brother and sister. Years later, he was involved in a motorcycle accident that left him with a disability. Following a long recovery he started working with a team that serves approximately 9,000 meals a day to military service members. 

Allison Ashmore  was born developmentally delayed and on the autism spectrum. No one thought she could withstand working in a noisy, fast-paced commercial kitchen. Nonetheless, shedreamed of working in the food galley at the Navy base where her father was stationed as a Naval Officer. She achieved her goal and has now worked in the galley for almost 25 years.

Matt Amendt found himself unable to hold down a job. He was in his 30s living with an ADHD diagnosis that inhibited his focus and concentration for long periods of time. He finally discovered a caseworker at Department of Vocational Resources who helped him find his current job. That was three years ago. Today, he manages supplies for eight buildings, and his boss says he’s also a whiz on the computer.

Storytelling is alive and well today perhaps more than ever. Our personal narratives hold the power to remove barriers and shape our lives in ways we may never have imagined. Don’t be afraid to share your story.