Telling It is an award-winning trauma-informed community-based program designed to support under-served school-aged youth in Washtenaw County. Since 2002, Telling It has established a close collaboration with the University of Michigan’s Residential College through the offering of the Engaged Learning courses, Community Empowerment through the Arts and Advanced Practice in Community Engagement through the Arts. Deb Gordon-Gurfinkel is the lead teacher of both of these courses and the Founding Director of Telling It.
The Telling It internship opportunities provided by these two courses bridges the academic and neighboring communities. Each Telling It site is led by a site leader and a social worker along with a trained support team and visiting artists. As a result of their experience, many U-M students express a desire to continue their commitment to social justice through a career that involves community service.
Telling It, founded in 2002, is a trauma-informed, resiliency-building community-based after-school program that supports the healing and learning needs of school-age youth using best practices from social work and education filtered through the expressive arts so they can lead safe, healthy and fulfilling lives. The goals of the program are two-fold: 1) in collaboration with community stakeholders, local artists, and the youth themselves, provide a rigorously trained team that support youth in their communities by co-creating a healing environment in which youth can name their hurts and address barriers to their success. 2) Provide opportunities to improve emotional literacy, practice soft skills that are essential for effective social interaction, empower self-agency, reframe self-image, activate change when change is desired, build cognitive skills, address obstacles, stimulate writing, and literacy skills.