Programs

PROGRAMS

Overview

Overview

Story Forum operates School Year, Summer Experience, and Community programs. All of our programs focus on weaving together the social, emotional, and cognitive life of participants, and are based on a narrative arts philosophy (visual, performing, digital, and literary arts) that we believe defines and connects us.

PARTNERSHIPS

RADIO ON THE LAKE THEATRE

Radio on the lake theater logo

Story Forum in partnership with Radio on the Lake Theatre offers the following radio play writing and performing programs, which give young people an opportunity to create stories and bring them to life.

RadioKids:
For grades K-5, RadioKids uses a collaborative approach to story building where children build and perform a radio play based on their own unique characters, which come together to solve an original problem.
From the Middle:
Middle school students in grades 6-8 assume the roles of a group of adolescent archetypes who tease out, struggle with, and resolve poignant age appropriate conflicts.
Inspired By:
High school students, under the mentorship of a professional playwright, write radio plays inspired by an intriguing school newspaper story. Using a student director, these plays are then performed by student actors.

LISTEN HERE

RadioKids
From the Middle
Inspired By

The Shaker Century Garden
The Shaker Historical Society & Story Forum in partnership

In a year full of great change and loss, Story Forum, Inc. and The Shaker Historical Society have partnered to unite our community around a shared history to grieve lost time together and pave the way forward with renewed hope for the future.
The Century Garden Project, the product of this partnership, will provide an opportunity for families to safely come together to share stories and histories through the creation of a century garden and related programming. The garden will represent four different centuries and reflect the food and growing practices of diverse heritages, including early settlers, Indigenous populations, European settlers, African and Caribbean peoples of the Northern Migration, and our 21st-century immigrant neighbors.
The goal of this project is to connect Shaker Heights families with each other, the history of the area, and the greater Shaker community through storytelling based on The Century Garden and corresponding care, maintenance, and programming. Our focus is inclusionary community building with a holistic approach, integrating social and emotional learning and well-being with the academic disciplines of language arts, science, and history.
Further detail:
On the grounds of The Shaker Historical Society, Shaker area families will work together to create The Shaker Century Garden and Harvest Meal celebrating stories covering 400+ years of diverse and unique culture and horticulture in Northeast Ohio and Shaker Heights. They will not only help to nurture heirloom seedlings and prepare the soil for planting but also tend and harvest the crops. Additionally, participating families will bring to life the stories of the many heritages of our area through a myriad of activities. Throughout the summer, family members will record these stories in a hardbound book for all to share. Stories can range from realistic to historical fiction and take various forms along the way–poetry, plays, comics, or wherever their creativity takes them. Additional activities include history-focused programs, cooking classes, hands-on learning kits. As a culminating activity, families are invited to a potluck Harvest Meal celebrating the history of peoples and cultures. Entertainment will include a collaborative story, created and performed by willing participants from June and July’s playwriting workshops.
So here’s what you get:
A seed starter kit with heirloom seeds to foster & plant in one of 4 century beds
Storytelling inspiration galore for your personal family storytelling books
Cooking classes (online and in person) representing meals from many times and cultures
Activities (online and in person) related to the soil, plants, foods, or cultures

NARRATIVE ARTS APPROACHES

We come at stories from a variety of perspectives that we call Storytellers, Passports, and Out in the World. The perspective is always driven by the children.

STORYTELLERS (ST)

Storytellers takes children on a journey using their own stories–both real and imagined.

Primary Activities:

StoryBuilders

StoryBuilders is an extremely engaging and beloved story production and performance activity. Led by program associates, participants become their own character living in a group created setting and living out a collaboratively inspired plot. This collaborative story takes shape as a play, computer game, comic, film or art object. Instructors guide social and emotional learning through socratic probing for character motivation and consequences.

Personal Story Narratives

Identity and “moment-in-time” stories capture those stories that shape and define us all. From how we were named to holiday traditions (including food, of course), we capture stories with a focus on exploring self concept. Often we start with the physical self portrait, the family portrait, and neighborhood. Our conversations focus on the relationships children have with each of these selves.

PASSPORTS (PP)

Passports moves youth out of their comfort zone and challenges them to expand their boundaries of friends, family, and community.

The Passport activities range from tracing our roots to meeting and considering the cultures of those who live on the other side of the planet.

OUT IN THE WORLD (OitW)

OitW builds on young people’s evolving sense of agency and desire to demonstrate and test their talents and interests. We help youth articulate their beliefs, then be of service to those beliefs.

Primary OitW Activities use forms of service learning, mentoring, and apprenticing to challenge young people’s interests.

ACTIVITIES WOVEN THROUGHOUT EACH PROGRAM

In addition to the narrative arts programming, we keep the needs of mind and body in check. The following activities round out our programs:

Touchpoints and Community circles

Within large or small group gatherings, young people express their thoughts–what’s hot on their minds; they evaluate the remains of the day, and voice their hopes for what comes next.

Mindfulness/Self Care/Yoga

Young people tune into their minds and bodies and begin to appreciate their rhythms.

Fun and Games

Emotional and social themes are woven into collaborative physical activities using large and small muscles and include nature walks and lawn games (bocci, magnetic darts, obstacle courses, scavenger/treasure hunts) weather permitting.

Refresh time

Everyone needs a stretch of time to let their minds wander. We build in ½ – 1 hour of “me” time into our full day programs where children rest, then exercise self choice activities.

Snacks or meals

Everyone pitches in to serve and clean up; everyone waits to be seated and served; and everyone waits until all are done before moving on to the next activity.