I just emailed this to my colleagues, partners, and some Vets I know. Thought some folks here might like it too.
Happy Veterans Day. I wanted to share this project both as an example of something great itself, and for its broader example of reimagining work and learning, and connecting communities.
By day, Jonathon Wei works in the Admissions Office at the University of Oregon, with specific responsibilities for adult learners. By night, he is a writer and artist.
He noticed that returning Vets on the U of O campus (Eugene, OR) were having a hard time connecting with each other and with the campus and broader community.
One day, he hooked a video camera up and asked Vets to talk about their experiences.
He used this material to write a play.
The Telling Project was born.
Now Vets tell their own stories on stage – the intent is to help Vets reach each other and their communities in a meaningful and accelerated way.
Today, they are performing in Washington, DC. Michelle Obama will be in the audience. http://thetellingproject.org/upcoming-performances/
While the notoriety is nice, they are still very clear that the point of the project is Vets and communities.
This is not just a nice project.
It’s skill building (communications, art, performance, team-building)
It’s one person making a difference (Jonathon did not have to act)
It’s education outside the classroom (driven by an admissions officer) for Vets, students, the Eugene community
It’s fluid, flexible job descriptions (Jonathon was able to make a new job inside his organization, one of the Vets – a Vietnam vet – now has a new career)
It’s a community stepping up and learning about its own members, their histories, and using this experience to inform future decisions
It’s a whole-person approach to connecting people with work (not just matching skills with demand)
For those in our nation’s capitol today, should you see Jeffrey, or any of the cast/crew (Shane Addis, Lemuel Charley, Shirley Cortez, Brian Friend, Jeremiah Washburn, Elyse Fenton, or John Schmor), tell them we’re rooting for them. And given them a salute.