Be Human. Share Stories.
Who doesn’t LOVE a great story?! Stories are much more than just a recitation of facts and events; they are central to human communication and cognition. Storytelling sparks a connection between human beings; you’ve all felt that connection, that power from a simple story. Inevitably we interpret the meaning in stories to understand others and ourselves better.
The We Are Chaffee Storytelling Initiative was developed through a Colorado Department of Public Health: Office of Health Equity grant-funded program and is managed by Chaffee County Public Health and Chaffee Housing Authority. The goal of We Are Chaffee is to build a more compassionate, supportive and resilient community through the use of storytelling. Through sharing local stories which reflect personal experiences and challenges brought on by social, institutional or housing inequities, We Are Chaffee hopes to create awareness and eventual system and policy changes which support more equitable housing and health conditions for all community members.
We Are Chaffee was set up through a Steering Committee and others at the end of 2019. We Are Chaffee programming began with video stories in the spring of 2020, and in 2023, We Are Chaffee not only facilitates the creation of video stories, but also coordinates the production of local written short stories and a podcast.
Since 2020, We Are Chaffee has created over 40 diverse and engaging video stories which have been shared at free public movie events and online on the We Are Chaffee website. The stories focus on housing, resilience, youth challenges, addiction, and much more. The multi-day workshops are now being offered in partnership with Salida Colorado Mountain College and are taught by local filmmaker, Sarah Hamilton.
“We Are Chaffee too!” captures written personal stories from a wide array of residents. The stories are written by local writers, are short and sweet, and are incredibly powerful. The stories and a photo of each storyteller can be found on the We are Chaffee website and at various public places and events around the county. You can also find the stories in Spanish and a biography and photo of our local story writers on the website.
The “We Are Chaffee: Looking Upstream” podcast is based on human-forward conversations with local people sharing stories of their life experiences and the results of those experiences. The podcast is designed to educate, connect our community, and create a call to action to address some of our community’s toughest challenges, such as social and institutional inequities, and significant disparities in living conditions. This “Upstream” approach is characterized as proactive, collective actions to improve outcomes rather than reactions after an issue has already occurred. “We Are Chaffee, Looking Upstream” may be found on your favorite podcast app and the KHEN & We Are Chaffee websites. Written transcriptions of the conversations, guest photos, and insights into host Adam Williams may also be found on the We Are Chaffee website.
Please visit the We Are Chaffee website for more information about this initiative and to view or listen to a few local stories. www.wearechaffee.org. You can catch us at the upcoming free Dinner & a Movie events on April 26th at the Salida Steamplant, and May 3rd at the Surf Hotel Ballroom in BV. Connect with us if you would like to get involved or learn more at LMartin@chaffeecounty.org
By Lisa C. Martin
Community Advocacy Coordinator
Chaffee County Public Health