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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

FTM’s Story Matters is a Success

Cathy Halloran. Jen Summer, photographer. Jen's site:
“By your stories you shall be known.”

If you ever want to understand someone then listen to his or her stories. The same applies to Fort Thomas. If you really want to understand Fort Thomas then listen to its stories. And that motivated us at Fort Thomas Matters to create Story Matters.

The inaugural event was held on Thursday, June 23 at Fort Thomas Coffee - with many thanks to Lori Valentine for hosting. Six speakers - Frank Meyer, Megan Arnzen Krieg, Sean Donelan, Eric Berendsen, Cathy Halloran, Dale Mueller - related their compelling stories of dealing with a challenging moment and how that influenced and changed them and, ultimately, what we can learn from it.

The surest way to understand a place or a person is through stories. Telling stories gives structure, meaning, and purpose to the events, places, and people around us. Stories help to shape the past so we can understand our present so we can move into the future.  By tapping into the collective wisdom and experiences of the community, we make the community a better place by understanding the people in it. Stories create a sense of community.

Stories ranged from the value of goal setting,  finding humanity in a cross country trip,  turning cancer into a positive, the danger of judging by occupation,  and the value of effort over raw talent. The stories ranged from humorous to serious but were always pointed in what we needed to learn.

Frank Meyer was the first speaker. Jen Summer, photographer.
Barbara Thomas, owner of Fort Thomas Central, was in the audience and she said I enjoyed Story Matters so much that when the last story was told, I yearned for more!  Each storyteller touched my emotions and heart with the framework and details of their stories.  Their messages came across clearly, sharing inspiration in their life experience.  Thank you storytellers for sharing your stories and inspiration.  I loved Story Matters and looking forward to the next one in August!"

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Megan Arnzen Krieg. Jen Summer, photographer.
Eric Simmons, who also attended echoed her sentiment.  "Storytelling connects strangers and brings people who know each other closer together. Story Matters did exactly that. Story Matters, like all storytelling, invited listeners to get to know strangers and get to know even good friends in a new way. It wasn't confessional but beautifully illuminating."

Teri Foltz said, "Every story was so compelling. The venue was perfect because it created an intimate setting. My mind was busy afterward thinking of other people's stories I'd like to hear as well as the stories in my own life."

One of the storytellers, Sean Donelan, says, "It was such an honor, to be a part of the inaugural Story Matters event! For me, it was nice to share a "story" in a controlled environment, when I was prepared to share it, instead of being asked for an impromptu story. I think it's great, that the citizens of Fort Thomas can share their stories.  It is who we are.  It brings us together and I can't wait to attend future editions of Story Matters."

Sean Donelan. Jen Summers, Photographer
Sean has some advice for future storytellers. "I would tell future storytellers that you will enjoy the experience.  Not only will others learn something about you, but you may also learn something about yourself.  It may not be easy and that's okay.  But it will be fun and therapeutic.  You will be glad that you participated!"

Dale Mueller. Jen Summer, photographer.
This quilt of stories will be archived and then presented during the sesquicentennial celebration in 2017.

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If you have or know someone with a compelling story, please let us know. The next Story Matters will be  7:00 PM, Thursday, August 25 at Fort Thomas Coffee. We hope to see you there.

To see each story in its entirety, visit our Facebook page, to watch the live, unedited stream. Do that here: Fort Thomas Matters on Facebook.

Eric Berendsen. Jen Summer, photographer. 

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