Ann Arbor, Michigan, March 29, 2019 – University of Michigan Athletics has selected TELLING IT as one of six local, non-profit organizations to benefit from the Big House 5K: Trail to the Victors presented by Toyota. In addition to creating awareness for these non-profits, all proceeds of this event will be divided amongst the selected organizations.

Now in its 17th year in Washtenaw County, TELLING IT is an after-school program which implements a combination of social work, education, and expressive forms of art to reach school-age children affected by various forms of adversity such as home and food insecurity, bullying, violence and/or poverty. This trauma informed and resiliency-building program provides engaging activities that support the youth in their self-expression and offers them opportunities to share their stories.

TELLING IT is able to support its young participants through the skills and talents of their exceptionally trained team of facilitators, social workers, U-M interns, volunteers and artists. Participants of TELLING IT are introduced to a variety of artforms which offer multiple platforms for personal expression including music, spoken word poetry, visual art, and more. TELLING IT founder Deb Gordon-Gurfinkel has thirty years of experience working with at-risk children and youth. “One of the primary principles of TELLING IT is that we’re never helping or serving as role models for the youth. We’re in partnership, always collaborating. The experts in the room are the children and the youth that we’re serving and our community partners,” according to Gordon-Gurfinkel.

During the 1990’s, Gordon-Gurfinkel began working with homeless children in San Francisco. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education with Honors from Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, England. She has developed a proven program, serving an average of 60-80 youth each year. The mission is to support the healing and learning needs of under-served school-age youth so they can lead safe, healthy and fulfilling lives.

“We love being involved and helping our community and Bank of Ann Arbor is proud to support the mission of TELLING IT through their participation in the 2019 Big House 5K event,” said Tim Marshall, President and CEO. Through partnership with children and teens, TELLING IT creates an environment of trust. Site leaders and social workers utilize their trauma-informed training to decode behavior and help build resiliency and promote healing. The importance of TELLING IT in the lives of participating youth in Washtenaw County is immeasurable.

Members of the community who would like more information regarding TELLING IT or how they can offer support, please visit their website The Big House 5K: Trail to the Victors presented by Toyota will be held on Sunday April 7, 2019 starting at 8:00am. According to Meghann Oblak, Assistant Director, Partnerships, “We've had unprecedented registration for the 2019 Big House 5K. The event is now sold out and no additional registrations will be made available. Opportunities to volunteer for the race or donate to the six non-profit beneficiaries are still available.” Please visit their website at


TELLING IT is a trauma informed, resiliency-building program that supports the healing and learning needs of school-age youth. This free after-school program is based on best practices from social work and education that are filtered through the expressive arts. TELLING IT is able to achieve its mission by employing a trained team that includes facilitators, social workers, U-M interns, volunteers and artists that work with youth on a weekly basis. Celebrating its 17th year in Washtenaw Co. Telling It serves on averages 60-80 youths each year. These are youngsters who are coping with various degrees of trauma – home and food insecurity, bullying, a high level of violence or living in poverty. Evaluation results demonstrate that youth feel valued and respected in the weekly program sessions. They report that TELLING IT provides a safe space where they share their life experiences and their hurts. TELLING IT supports youth on their path to becoming healthy and empowered young adults. For more information, visit