People & Stories and Homefront: Cross-Sector Arts Partnership

Literature and writing program to be offered to parents in transition.

People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos, in partnership with HomeFront, has been awarded a grant from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation to offer the year-long program “Our Voices in Community” at the HomeFront Family Campus in Ewing, N.J. The two non-profit organizations, one focused on bringing literature to underserved audiences and the other on ending homelessness in Central New Jersey, will work together to develop a series of workshops in which formerly homeless parents are invited to read, discuss, and write together and along with guest artists.

People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos, based in Lawrenceville, was founded in 1972 by Sarah Hirschman. Through oral readings and rigorous discussions of enduring short stories, the program invites underserved participants to fresh understandings of themselves, of others, and of the world. Workshops are offered in both English and Spanish throughout the region and nationally. HomeFront has, since 1991, assisted many thousands of vulnerable families in retaining and securing housing; putting food on the table; acquiring job skills; and supporting children with mentoring, tutoring, and recreation. Its Family Preservation Center houses 38 families, offering wrap-around services to help break the cycle of homelessness.

The two organizations share a commitment to access. There is no judgment for past actions or present situation, and there is the guiding assumption that each person has many sides, many areas of achievement as well as potential. The “Our Voices in Community” program will draw on this commitment, offering inspiration and instruction for creative writing within a context of support, collaboration, and trust.

The Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation serves nine states and jurisdictions. Its Cross-Sector Arts Partnership initiative “aims to support strong, collaborative partnership models between arts and non-arts entities that provide a platform for artistic creation and community impact.” People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos was nominated by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts to apply for this opportunity, and its partnership with HomeFront was one of nine projects selected for funding by the organization.

 

This project is made possible through a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.