Iowans will tell stories of faith, family and the holiday season at the next Des Moines Storytellers Project
The holidays are a crazy time.
There's shopping to do, get-togethers to plan and family to catch up with.
We at the Des Moines Storytellers Project know everyone has a unique holiday story to share. So as you're making your end-of-the-year plans, consider joining us for our final show of the season to hear six Iowans tell their own stories of holiday stresses, excitement and community.
"Holiday Spectacular: Faith, family and the reasons we gather at the end of the year" will be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 17 at Hoyt Sherman Place, 1501 Woodland Ave., Des Moines.
This is our last show of the year, but we hope you'll come back and join us for our fifth season.
Our first two shows of 2020 are: "What Happens Next: Filling in the blanks after a story ends" on Feb. 25, and "Forgiveness or Revenge: Deciding which path to take on the messy road of life" on April 21.
The Storytellers Project is dedicated to the idea that oral storytelling and journalism have the same goals: Serving and reflecting a community while fostering empathy. These Iowans have been coached by Des Moines Register reporters Rekha Basu, Shelby Fleig, Kim Norvell, Lee Rood, Anna Spoerre, Linh Ta and me.
Now, meet our storytellers:
Elizabeth Balcarcel was born in Mexico and raised in a big Catholic family. She moved to the United States when she was 20, settling in Des Moines with her husband and three children. When not working as a Latino Services Specialist at the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Elizabeth loves spending time with her family and volunteering in her community and church.
Shelly Berkowitz is a Des Moines artist and musician. She studied art and education at the University of Iowa, graduating with honors in 2014. Her art has been seen across Iowa, including a mural at Outskirtz just off the Great Western Trail. Berkowitz is a teacher and art studio coordinator at the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines.
Cynthia Hunafa is a retired educator with the Des Moines Public Schools and a retired program director with Creative Visions. She now runs the organization's annual Toys for Tots campaign. Cynthia is a member of the Gateway Dance Theater and dances with the Capital City Steppers. Originally from New York, she has four children and four grandchildren.
Oscar Rosales has created balloon art at Iowa events for more than 23 years. He has lived in Des Moines with his wife, Lisa, since 2012, and has two children, David and Sarah, who make him very proud. Originally from El Salvador, Oscar came to the United States in 1986 and is now a citizen.
Sue Woods is a retired minister who enjoys quilting, water aerobics and has just begun training to become a licensed yoga instructor. (Not unrelated, her ibuprofen intake has increased significantly.) She and her husband, Jerry, have four children and eight grandchildren. And she really does like Christmas — no lie!
Ann Wright, owner of Wright Solutions, is a leadership coach, author and workshop facilitator. Ann and her family live in Ankeny where she is active in her church and community. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, reading, writing and volunteering. She believes chocolate should be its own food group.
Stephen Gruber-Miller is a coach with the Des Moines Storytellers Project and covers the Iowa Statehouse and politics for the Register. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 515-284-8169. Follow him on Twitter at @sgrubermiller.
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