Lit & Short Story Engagement Program to Uplift Adolescent Males
Pictured Above: People & Stories, Gente Y Cuentos literature session. Photo Credit: Contributed.
Newsroom Post: PENNINGTON, NEW JERSEY
Pennington, NJ – People & Stories/Gente y Cuentos (P&S/GyC) has been awarded $8,500 by the Pryor and Arlene Neuber Charitable Trust for its “Opening Doors at Manos House” Project, an innovative approach to the art form of the short story and to literature engagement. “This generous grant allows us to provide nearly 80 residents at Manos House opportunities to experience literature in new ways,” P&S/GyC Board Co-Chair Andrea Honore said recently.
In partnership with collaborating organizations, P&S/GyC equips young adult audiences to continue their education and to be productive, successful, and employable members of their communities. Past evaluation data that measured outcomes among 100 participants showed that People & Stories/Gente y Cuentos programs promote: Increased problem solving skills (85%), Better communication skills (90%), Improved listening skills (91%), and Greater enjoyment and frequency of reading (90%).
The Manos House Program has been led successfully for more than ten years by People & Stories Coordinator, Scott D. Feifer, an award winning teacher in the Lancaster, PA public school system. Scott has been recognized by both program participants and site staff for his talents as a coordinator. The “Opening Doors at Manos House” Project will provide 36 hours of literature reading and discussion for 45-80 residents at Manos House. People & Stories/Gente y Cuentos’ methodology is designed to remove obstacles to the reward of reading, especially for adults and young adults who have not experienced the power of literature.
Chris Runkle, Executive Director at Manos House, rated the People & Stories program “Exemplary” and remarked that People & Stories has, “opened up an array of ‘doors’ for our clients to explore both presenting and underlying issues that have impacted their lives. Additionally, this program has offered a social outlet that otherwise would be nonexistent to our clients given their situation. It should also be noted that Scott is an extremely talented individual with a gift of captivating and exciting those involved in his programs. We have worked with Scott for quite some time in a variety of group settings and feel strongly that without Scott and his programming some of our difficult and extremely guarded clients would remain tormented and lost within themselves struggling to find the courage to make a change.”
Manos House is a residential treatment program designed for adolescent males between the ages of fourteen and eighteen with a history of substance abuse and delinquent behavior providing an array of counseling services in a safe and supportive environment to create a positive atmosphere and motivate its clients to change their life direction.
People & Stories/Gente y Cuentos (P&S/GyC) is dedicated to opening doors to literature for new audiences. Through oral readings and rigorous discussions of enduring short stories, we invite participants to find fresh understandings of themselves, of others, and of the world. Our programs, offered in English and Spanish, use oral readings and structured dialogues of complex short stories to invite participants to connect their own varied life experiences to the universal themes found in great literature. Now in its 50th year, our program methodology effectively removes obstacles to the rewards of reading, especially for adults and young adults who identify as not having the skill, confidence, or motivation to read independently.
Our participants include men and women who are incarcerated or engaged in re-entry, residents in halfway houses and homeless shelters, recent immigrants, and low-income seniors in residential settings. By and large, the individuals we serve are reading at or below a 5th grade level, have not completed high-school, or are economically disadvantaged. A critical bridge, People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos provides hope and skills for moving forward. People and Stories/Gente y Cuentos is located at 295 Eggerts Crossing Road, Lawrenceville, NJ and is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. by appointment. Most programs are held at partner sites and other locations. For more information, call 609-882-4926 or visit www.peopleandstories.org