By Cynthia Coulon
rMy Story Matters, a local charitable organization founded by Springville resident Amy Chandler, operates under the belief that every person’s story matters—and that the telling of it, the recording of it, the sharing of it, the embracing of it—can bring beautiful results to everyone involved in the process. The work of My Story Matters is to give the gift of story to families and children living in our communities by engaging them in the storytelling process and eventually presenting them with custom-made books containing their unique photos and stories.
The only way My Story Matters can provide this meaningful service is through the generous participation of volunteers including photographers, interviewers, writers, and editors. Local volunteers from all walks of life, ages, and stages discover insights and rewards as they connect with one person at a time through the storytelling process.
My Story Matters Board Member, Sharon Gib remarked, “I love is seeing a volunteer who really gets it, who understands what we are doing and really experiences it. I love seeing that light come on in their eyes. One thing I’ve noticed is that when people get involved with My Story Matters, they stay involved, they don’t just drift away. They get interested and they get invested.”
Lisa Minnick began her work with My Story Matters as an intern. Even though her internship is long over, she continues to serve in the organization in all kinds of ways. She said, “It’s truly a humbling emotion when you intend to help someone change their life and instead they change yours.”
Another volunteer who serves at event after event is Marilyn Olson. She said, “I am so grateful I am able to work for My Story Matters! Helping others find strength in their story makes me feel stronger in my own story.”
College student, Katie Sackrison, shared this insight she had after helping at a My Story Matters event, “As a college student just trying to get through school, it can be easy to feel insignificant. Really though, in any stage of life it can be easy to feel insignificant. One day as I was driving home from an event, I had the thought that I hoped these books really help the kids remember how important they are. And then I thought to myself, but do YOU remember how important you are? My Story Matters has repeatedly taught me that I am a person who matters. My story is important, and it’s such a blessing to be unique and original. Original stories are the best, and I shouldn’t be trying to make my pages look the same as anyone else.”
Professional photographer, Mark Saengsoury, started volunteering with My Story Matters a year ago. He explained, “Working with these kids reminds me of my own childhood. I am a child of first-generation immigrants. We struggled financially growing up. I felt that I was on the outside looking in most times when I was around my peers. I always felt that my life wasn’t as “cool” or worth telling as everyone else’s because of what I didn’t have in my childhood. I realize now that my differences make me unique, and that there’s no one else that could’ve filled in my story like I did. It’s a source of pride now.”
It’s easy to get involved—My Story Matters has a place for everyone! Volunteers fulfill a variety of roles, from interviewing children to creating custom quilts. Donations large and small are also appreciated. Go to the “Get Involved” webpage at www.mystorymatters.org to find out more!