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Meet Debbie From of Give a Folk

Today we’d like to introduce you to Debbie From.

Debbie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was already in love with listening to stories, having grown up surrounded by family elders who shared our history and tales around the dining room table. I began sharing folktales and ghost stories around the campfire as a camp counselor and in college, I studied Environmental Education and used stories to educate in the field.

Everything changed for me in 2005 while I was working as a teaching artist and musician in North Georgia at several head start centers when I was re-introduced to the art of storytelling by another teaching artist. I did not realize this was an authentic art form where people would gather at festivals dedicated to listening to storytellers on a stage, I just knew I loved listening to my elders share family stories around the dining room table and I enjoyed sharing stories around campfires and on trails. I got the bug and began to dive deeper into the world of storytelling. I even enrolled in East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee and received my MA in Communications and Storytelling. Since then, I have worked as a professional storyteller, sharing stories to a variety of audiences in diverse settings, all the while witnessing the power of stories to heal, educate, entertain, connect and build community.

The combination of being a social activist and volunteer and me believing in the power of sharing stories and their potential to connect and build community were the basis of creating Give a Folk in 2015.

Has it been a smooth road?
Some of the challenges Give A Folk (GAF) has had is reaching potential audience members. There are several incredibly well-attended storytelling events happening around Atlanta however, I would like to introduce storytelling to those who have never heard of the art form.

In our current situation and a new reality that includes social distancing, GAF is looking to restructure our programs and mode of communicating with our audience members and creating new methods of sharing stories for a cause.

Please tell us about Give a Folk.
Give a Folk (GAF) produces storytelling programs for a cause. We create partnerships with local non-profit organizations that rely on donations. GAF then creates a storytelling program with local artists surrounding a theme related to the local organization. All the collected donations and a portion of ticket sales are given to the partnering organization. A few of the organizations we have partnered with include the Atlanta Community Food Bank, PAWS Atlanta and the Alzheimer’s Association Atlanta chapter.

GAF is proud to work with local organizations, businesses and artists. All our events have been at Manuel’s Tavern in Atlanta. As a sponsor, Manuel’s has graciously donated their space for each of the programs. The artists also donate their time and talent to be a part of the program. GAF is amazed by the audience reception at the shows. We create an entertaining way for people to support local organizations. We believe people want to help and when given an occasion, they do so wholeheartedly.

GAF’s goal is to create an opportunity for people to help through donations of money or supplies, donation of time (volunteering), letting others know about the local organizations in need of support and, most importantly to build community. This concept is not new; we have just taken the already existing model and added a little twist to create Give a Folk. We take pride in working with local organizations and local performing artists and the relationships we are building together.

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