On August 26th, the new Changing Voices ensemble at the Austin Career Education Center had their first staged reading after months of writing their personal stories.

If you were there, you’d understand why it was one of my favorite experiences as a teaching artist. The auditorium on a normal day is a large, wood paneled room, with blue chairs, a small stage, and a tan colored tiled floor. As the Changing Voices – Austin ensemble prepared to perform that day, something beautiful shifted in the air. Suddenly the room was in technicolor. It was vibrating with energy.

The stories they worked so hard to write, craft, and perform came to life not only for the audience, but for the youth. From the moment they walked onto the stage the support and love exuding from the audience gave them such purpose. They gave each other such purpose.

This is why Storycatchers is both important and special. Storycatchers has an incredible ability to provide so much to its participants, including the sense of family. That night, the cheering crowd before, during, and after their performance made the whole world feel like family.

Hilary Williams

Program Manager, Changing Voices – Austin