"The space that Arrowyn creates for her students is sacrosanct. It's safe, empathic, supportive, non-judgmental, celebratory; a space that rarely exists for a population that needs it most."
Executive Director of The Young Storytellers Foundation
We are a compilation of stories. Our stories intersect, intertwine, embed, enmesh, dissect & develop who we are. Through Story Tribe, the personal stories and experiences of kid’s lives coming from even the most traumatic of backgrounds, integrate together to become one story - powerful, visceral and united. As a former classroom teacher and a lover of stories, I have experienced the electrifying results of working with Arrowyn and Story Tribe in my own classroom.
The program piece of Story Tribe is grounded in a variety of engaging, unconventional strategies that get kids sharing, communicating, writing and speaking their stories. The passion piece of Story Tribe is grounded in Arrowyn’s deep love for the arts, a profound commitment to kids and a deep determination to meet the communicative, social and emotional needs of a range of learners. With the help of Story Tribe, my students shared their stories. Soon, the individual stories became the group’s stories helping us bond with one another and learn about and from one another. Collectively, our story was beautiful, compelling and influential. We, as a classroom, then became more than a story. We had become a Story Tribe.
— Rebakah Ruswick
Coordinator; Special Education Pasadena Unified School District as well an adjunct for CSULA and UCLA. She is also a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate)
Ironically, the poetry creating wonder that is Story Tribe cannot be put into words, it has to be seen to be believed. Arrowyn took a group of students with labels like, "special needs," "introverted," "troubled," or "at-risk" and taught them how to rip those labels to shreds. She then taught each student how to create new labels for themselves using the strengths of their words, their ideas, their history, and each other.
This poetic creation was performed, read, screamed and whispered in a local coffee house to the cheers of friends, family and the general public by the same children whose labels might have prevented them from doing so only a few weeks before.
Arrowyn and Story Tribe don't just teach students about words and poetry, the teach them how to be themselves.
Former principal at Hillsides Education Center
Hollywood HEART was fortunate to partner with Story Tribe in 2013 for a 15 week Creative Writing Workshop with a High School class from Hillsides Education Center in Pasadena. Hollywood HEART is a nonprofit celebrating 20 years of empowering underserved youth through education and exploration in the arts. We have demonstrated dozens of successful partnerships to make our Arts Education Programs happen, and I highly recommend Story Tribe as one of the best programs we have worked with.
The Story Tribe program was incredibly organized. They put together a well-rounded curriculum using improvisational games, storytelling, writing prompts, and team building exercises to introduce the students to how fun and transformative Creative Writing can be. The group culminated with a performance of their writing at Pop Hop Books in Highland Park on April 17th, 2013. The performance was collaborative and completely unique to the group with excerpts from their own individual pieces woven together like a collage. Some of the students were shy and hesitant to participate in the performance at first, but through Arrowyn's encouragement and positivity they did and we immediately saw their smiles and confidence grow on stage. Here is an excerpt of their performance, titled Hero's Journey:
“I will be a hero like my cousin. He is stationed in Afghanistan in the Marine Corps. I will be a hero… like… my…. like my mom. like my grandma. like my uncles. like my aunt. like my teachers. like my friends. like my staff. My hero is me."
I highly recommend Arrowyn Ambrose as a leader, teacher, and mentor for youth. I also had the pleasure of working with her as the Creative Writing Leader at our summer arts camp for youth impacted by HIV/AIDS, Camp Hollywood HEART for two years. All of our post program surveys showed overwhelmingly positive feedback from the campers, volunteers, and staff about her teaching and leadership skills. This camp requires adaptability, an upbeat, outgoing spirit, and someone who took initiative, all characteristics in which I am proud to say Arrowyn embodied and displayed.
Our partnership with Story Tribe has been very beneficial in encouraging, inspiring, and connecting with your youth through the arts, and we look forward to collaborating with them again in the future.
— Kara Mondino, Executive Director of Hollywood Heart