It is our mission to bring unheard voices, both near and far, into the public arena; to transform lived experiences into written memoirs powerful enough to change hearts, minds, and policy.
Through a quarter century of bringing people into small writing circles and providing the empathy-based tools to break silences together, we join hands to create a powerful grass roots literature that will champion a culture of equity, inclusion and justice. Our facilitated writing workshops help people - no matter their level of education - break their silence, add their voices to the public discourse, and process the experiences that have shaped their lives.
Our vision is that over time silences will be broken, and previously unsung stories will be heard as we reach out to more women and men—young and old, incarcerated and free—in an ever-widening circle of languages and cultures across the United States and beyond.
As we enter our next quarter century, and look back on our 25-year legacy, through our 5-year old, newly renamed Amy Maiello Hagedorn Training Institute, we have become a true network, spreading the work we are doing on Long Island to an increasing number of communities, nationwide and internationally.
The notion of passing along the dare to care (the cornerstone of the Herstory approach) is simple. The ramifications are far reaching and profound, as we move out of silence into speech.
When we care deeply enough, we find words we didn’t know we had. Each of us has a “poetry of experience” hidden deep inside us, that can be called into being out of the stream of memories that bubble up to the surface from our hope and our anger and grief. When we dare to imagine that someone might hear us and actually care, bit by bit, we break out of the silence and isolation that is the fate of so many.
But what is caring, really? It is so much more than a feeling passed along to another, going nowhere. It is— and must always be— a very deep call to action. Otherwise our belief in society’s capacity to protect us will die even before it is properly born.
Through nearly three decades of bringing people into small writing circles and giving them the empathy-based tools to break silences together, we join hands to create a literature that will dare our larger community to care enough to take action, as we seek to find paths away from the cycles of poverty, violence, addiction, abuse and despair into which so many were born.
To download a printable overview, click here.