In the spring of 2021,
I co-facilitated The Rest of the Story (TRotS) with members of the Family Advisory Committee of the Department of Youth Services. alongside creator Michael Patrick MacDonald. TRotS is a trauma-informed community-based storytelling curriculum designed to help participants transform trauma to voice, agency and leadership through story sharing. I also served as Editor of the collection of original works produced by the group titled, 'Sisters in Strength.'
The Family Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Department of Youth Services (DYS) creates meaningful opportunities to engage, encourage, and empower families to participate in their child’s treatment and help to shape policies, programs, and practices to improve outcomes for youth in DYS. As a majority of FAC members prepared to transition off of the committee in June of 2021, the group decided to end their tenure by sharing their stories with each other and creating a printed collection of writing to pass along to the group of parents and guardians who will make up the next FAC cohort. This is a legacy of insightful knowledge from lived experience and of love.
The FAC cohort members who participated in The Rest of the Story curriculum and created original works of writing in 'Sisters in Strength' were: Nichole Campbell, Sasha Johnson, ‘The Trying Parent’, and Marilyn Thomas’ YisraEL. The original cover art was done by youth artist, NKAtheartist and graphic design of the booklet was done by Amala Diamond.