By Loren Niemi, NSN Board Chair
National Storytelling Network Members and Friends,
Here, in what for many of us is the 2nd month of “shelter in place” and for many storytellers the loss and postponement of work, I want to take a few moments to share with you how the National Storytelling Network is responding to the challenges and opportunities the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us.
First and foremost, like many of you, NSN is going digital. In the last month it has meant that we are:
- partnering with Artist Standing Strong Together to host the Storyteller Relief Fund (https://storynet.org/storyteller-relief-fund/) which is making small grants to cover pressing medical, housing, food, and transportation needs.
- partnering with our SIG (Special Interest Group) the Youth Educators and Storytellers Alliance (YES) to host and populate children’s stories, grouped by age, on our YouTube channel. You can submit your story here (https://storynet.org/youth-youtube-channel-submissions/)
- planning a week-long virtual conference in June as a replacement for the physical coming together in Decatur, GA that we have postponed till next year. While we may not be able to hug each other or chat in the lobby, it will offer workshops, performances, the Oracle Awards, and the Annual Member Meeting.
- participating in the World Storytelling Institute’s (http://www.storytellinginstitute.org) 24 hour (May 16-17th) Virtual Storytelling Conference which should be posted on their site soon.
The Board, staff, and members continue to explore how the National Storytelling Network can be of service to both storytellers and the many communities we serve and are members of. As one of the Board members put, “We have seen the future and for better or worse, it is virtual, digital, and interactive.”
I am also happy to report that we applied for the CARES Act Payroll Protection Program assistance and have received $14,700 to keep our staff on the job. These funds will help offset our budget shortfall but do not absolve us from needing to generate the income that would have come from the conference, membership, or donations. To that point, I will simply say that if there is any way you can toss a few dollars of your $1,200 individual stimulus money to NSN (https://storynet.org/about-nsn/support/), it is both needed and much appreciated
Chair, National Storytelling Network
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