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The Power of Stories

February 23, 2010

Caroline shared her exciting news at a recent gathering of Calvary donors and volunteers.  “I got a promotion in my job.  I even have health insurance now.  But I don’t know how to use it – at least not yet.”  Almost to a person, the crowd laughed and responded, “Neither do I!”

This was one of those moments when the gulf in the perceived life experiences of the supporters of this nonprofit organization and recipients of the organization’s services seemed to close.  Everyone could relate to Caroline’s anxiety over trying to understand how to use her health insurance plan, how to choose a doctor, how to cover the cost of co-pays.  Many could see themselves in her – working extra hard on the job to get a promotion and feeling proud of the accomplishment.  Others nodded in response to Caroline’s struggles as a single parent of teenagers.  And some could relate, either personally or through interactions with family and friends, to the daily effort it takes to remain clean and sober in the midst of life’s trials.

Hearing another person’s story – their experiences, challenges and successes – breaks down the barriers we create between us.  We move from seeing someone as the “other” to knowing that our lives have commonalities and that we all strive for the same basic things in life.

In her conversations with those attending the event, Caroline heard their stories as well.  She told me that one man explained that he had been successful in his business and that investing some of that income in this organization had such a positive impact on him.  One of the women told her that she, too, had experienced domestic violence.

Hopefully you find Calvary’s website and blog great places to come to “hear” stories.  We believe there is great power in sharing our stories.  For when we do, we must face the misconceptions we have about people and recognize the shared goals we all have for healthy and happy lives.

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