Frequently asked questions:

What is People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos?

People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos is a non-profit organization that conducts literature reading and discussion programs with participants who have had limited opportunity to experience literature.  We invite audiences to read and critically examine enduring and complex short stories through the lens of their own stories.  Program series take place over eight, ninety-minute sessions and reach audiences in diverse settings including alternative education programs, residential treatment facilities, prisons, homeless shelters, adult education programs, libraries, and senior centers. Read more.

Why read short stories in People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos programs?
We choose texts particularly for their literary value and ability to inspire vibrant discussion.  Short stories often raise more questions than they answer and invite lively commentary.  The short story uses language that is at first beyond the basic reader’s scope, but ultimately becomes understandable through discussion.  As a result, participants experience the self-confidence that comes from mastering a task they initially thought intimidating or impossible.  Additionally, because the short story develops a dramatic presentation of the internal and external causes of suffering, conflicts, and joys of a number of characters, participants gain an opportunity to reflect on situations in their own lives and to break down barriers and stereotypes across racial and cultural boundaries.

What is the difference between People & Stories and Gente y Cuentos programs?
People & Stories programs are conducted in English while Gente y Cuentos programs are conducted in Spanish.  All programs, both in English and in Spanish, follow the same format: the oral reading of a short story followed by a dynamic discussion of the text in ways that deeply examine the literature and relate it to life experience.

How many participants does People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos reach annually?
Over the course of a year, People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos programs reach approximately 1,500 participants regionally and nationally.


I want to get involved!  What can I do?

Join a session!  Become a Crossing Borders participant and take part in a program series.  Read more.

Partner with us!  Could a People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos program succeed with clients of your organization?  See what makes for a good partner site here.  Librarians, click here.

Support us!  Help us offer our literature programs to participants who have had limited opportunity to study the humanities.  Find out how.

How does People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos evaluate and measures its success?
People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos measures and documents public benefit with a self reporting survey that determines participants’ assessment of their growth and comfort level with their reading and communication skills.  In addition, program coordinators submit a final report assessing progress of participation and the depth and complexity levels of the discussions over the eight weeks.  We also use focus groups that allow participants to speak candidly and share their overall experience of the series, the program coordinator, discussion, and bibliography.

Who supports People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos?
Each year, we must raise enough money to offer our programs, support our annual operating needs and to sustain organizational growth from year to year.  That support comes from an array of diverse sources including foundations, state and federal government agencies, employee and corporate giving funds, and individual donors.

Why should I support People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos?
Supporting our work helps to provide equal access to literature.  Our programs invite audiences who have often been excluded from humanities study to experience the joys, challenges, and benefits literature offers.  We reach nearly 1,500 participants annually at  sites in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and across the country.