After hearing hundreds of stories as a family therapist, spiritual director and facilitator in restorative justice circles, Dr. Ron recognized the wisdom that only comes through personal experience in facing life’s life’s obstacles. He saw that goals like affordable housing or healthcare, quality education, care for veterans, re-entry from prison life, sustainable income, safer neighborhoods, thriving with disabilities or illness and overcoming domestic violence, homelessness, addiction or human trafficking are best addressed by those whose lives are directly impacted. They know the real deal, not theories that maintain the dominant social narrative and existing agendas.
It was also evident in listening that wholeness came to the storyteller by finding an honest and hopeful narrative that provides dignity, confidence and direction. Difficult life experiences could be held and shaped in the form of story.
Sidebar Stories grew out of the frustration of seeing that many of these stories were left untold or kept in the counseling office, never heard by a larger audience including those who want to make a difference. Hope and valuable life lessons were hidden in stories not told because of pain, grief, anger, shame, denial, secrecy or concern for safety and privacy.
A group of friends gathered with the goal of making these stories available in a way that is authentic, safe, and respectful. The positive process of visual storytelling and community building became Sidebar Stories, a 501c3 charitable organization giving everyone a safe and meaningful space to be heard and draw meaning from life experiences.
The storyboard format, workshop experience and digital distribution of stories have evolved from deep listening and desire for change.