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History, Mission and Values

Thanks for our start, NSN! The proposal for Children at the Well (written by members of the Interfaith Story Circle of the Tri-City Area) received the Brimstone Award for Applied Storytelling from the National Storytelling Network in 2006. This award focuses on the transformational properties of storytelling and aims to increase understanding of the ways that storytelling can promote change in individuals and communities.

The award enabled Gert Johnson and Paula Weiss, with support from the newly formed non-profit, now known as WithOurVoice, Inc., to launch Children at the Well to involve youth in learning the art of storytelling to:

  • Deepen their knowledge and understanding of their own tradition and that of others
  • Develop public speaking and leadership skills
  • Participate in the local Interfaith Story Circle events and its community events
  • Promote peace and understanding among all peoples 

WithOurVoice, Inc. (WOV) incorporated in 2006 to oversee both the Interfaith Story Circle of the Tri-City Area (IFSC) and Children at the Well (C@W).

The mission of WithOurVoice: Promoting understanding, respect and friendship among people of diverse cultures, ethical traditions and religions by facilitating the sharing of stories.

C@W, IFSC and WOV believe in the moral, spiritual and healing power of story to create a more vibrant, interconnected and peaceful world. The heart-to-heart process of storytelling and story listening fosters an appreciation for the commonality of the human experience and builds community.

Hooray! 2017 is Children at the Well’s TWELFTH year of bringing young people together through the art of storytelling, and of enabling those young people to strengthen their empathy and find their voice so that they can take their place as artistic, inclusive and effective leaders in this globally interdependent world.


Staff of Children at the Well, 2017

  • Paula Weiss, Director and Co-founder
  • Nancy Marie Payne, Marni Gillard and Ben Russell, Storycoaches
  • Irene Ferrell, Assistant Storycoach
  • Kate Dudding, Web Site and Technical Support


  • Danielle Charlestin, Allison Lerman-Gluck, and Khalafalla Osman, past Assistant Storycoaches
  • Mary Murphy, Claire Nolan and Micki Groper, Storycoaches Emeritus
  • Gert Johnson, Co-founder and past Director
Listeners at the performance
Collage of photos from 2006 and 2007
Almost everyone, plus three dancers from Bindaya's