I’m back with another blog post! Last time, I shared a little bit about office life, road life, and my journey on the Mobile Tour so far. This week I’m going to dive a little deeper into the work I do in office.
A lot of my office work involves outreach and setting up partnerships for the Mobile Tour. To ensure that we record a variety of perspectives and experiences that reflect the diverse communities we visit, StoryCorps’ Mobile Tour partners with local community organizations at each stop. They help us spread the word to their members, employees, or customers–encouraging folks to sign up and record. Not only do partnerships allow us to share the recording experience with people who aren’t already familiar with StoryCorps, they also give us the opportunity to collaboratively amplify voices and stories that are often overlooked.
Because the Mobile Tour visits 10 cities a year (for 4-6 weeks in each stop), the team always has our hands on projects in multiple cities at once. As our tour travels, our office team keeps us prepared for all of the upcoming stops along the way. This month, my work in office included:
- -Confirming participants’ appointments in Green Bay, Wisconsin (our current tour stop);
- -Meeting with partners alongside Sarah, our Community Partnerships Manager, in preparation for our next stop in St. Louis, Missouri;
- -Reaching out to organizations with cold calls about potential partnerships in Mobile, Alabama, where we’ll be in late October; and
- -Conducting research on the region and organizations we might want to partner with in Lafayette, Louisiana, which is our final stop of 2023.
As a facilitator, I love having the opportunity to work on outreach and develop future partnerships with organizations who will help us make each Mobile Tour a success. Researching hundreds of amazing organizations, calling community leaders, and building excitement with partners whose community members I’ll eventually greet at the booth adds meaning to the stories that we record through outreach.
We set aside some recording appointments for partners, giving them first access to reserve times for their community members to record their stories before we open up appointments to the general public. Recording your story with StoryCorps is free for participants and partners alike. Depending on need, our team also staffs full-day field recording events with organizations–where we take our recording set-up to their site. Here’s me and a fuzzy friend during a field recording day on a cactus farm near Terlingua, Texas, where we partnered with The School of Constructive Arts to record stories with locals who are developing sustainable living projects in this remote region.
I get personally invested in many of our partnerships – it’s exciting to see them proceed from our initial outreach to the recording booth. It’s amazing to see the partners that I researched, bring participants into the booth months later while I’m facilitating.
For example, I got to record with participants from some great organizations in Kalamazoo, Michigan back in July that I had done outreach with during an office stint in May.
Given that most Mobile facilitators are on the road for just one year, I’m sad that I won’t be able to see some of the stops and partnerships that I’m currently researching take shape. However, I’m comforted by the idea that though I will eventually leave the road, StoryCorps continues traveling and reaching new corners of the country. As countless facilitators, participants, and partnerships have brought meaning to the Mobile Tour over the past 18 years of the program, we’ve each taken part in creating something bigger than all of us.
Did you miss our last post? Read it here!