Writers to tell stories in fundraiser event

Published 12:07 pm Thursday, April 7, 2016

By Amy Gauthier

Well crafted, well-told stories, spoken from the stage.

That’s the premise behind The Story Show, an independent fundraiser founded in spring 2015 by Heather King and Riley Worth in New London. The event has gained a foothold in the west-central Minnesota community and has since expanded to Albert Lea, with local writers Angie Zoller Barker and Riley Worth producing it.

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This year’s The Story Show in Albert Lea will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Lighthouse Theatre & Event Center.

Worth said The Story Show in Albert Lea was inspired by his participation in the Albert Lea Leadership class. During class, Worth toured the SEMCAC homeless shelter, and the theme of the first Story Show — “Home” — was born.

“It was my way of giving back to Albert Lea, which is what Leadership class taught us.” Worth said.

The Story Show is comprised of local talent, sharing personal stories centered around a theme. This year, the writers will share their stories of “New Beginnings,” to coincide with the spring show.

Presentations will be in the form of stories and poems, and will be five to seven minutes in length. Attendees can expect comedy and drama, laughter, tears and inspiration.

The total production will run approximately 90 minutes, including a musical intermission featuring members of the Albert Lea High School orchestra.

“Albert Lea boasts a talented community of writers, most of whom don’t refer to themselves as writers because they do other things for income,” Worth said in a press release. “But those other things haven’t quashed their love of the English language.”

This year, audience members will hear offerings from Jennifer Vogt-Erickson, Rick Bonlender, Laura Lunde, Kristin Kyllo, Peter Sunnarborg, Megan Radke, Amanda Lester, Riley Worth and a mystery guest speaker.

The proceeds from this presentation of The Story Show will benefit the Garth Barker Memorial Scholarship and their fundraising event Bikes for Barker.

The Garth Barker Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in memory of Fountain Centers Director Garth Barker, who passed away in 2007. It provides financial aid to individuals who wish to continue their education in the field of chemical dependency counseling.

Fountain Centers has been committed to helping individuals and their families who face addiction issues since 1974. All treatment plans are individualized, ensuring that each person’s needs are met to promote healing and recovery. Dignity and respect are foundational values that guide Fountain Center’s work with patients. In 2015, Fountain Centers served nearly 2,750 people seeking help with addiction.

There is a shortage of qualified counselors, and The Story Show participants believe incentives such as this will encourage people to consider the counseling profession. Since 2008, over $23,000 in funds have been awarded through the Garth Barker Memorial Scholarship Fund.

“We have given out 18 scholarships since its inception,” said Jenine Koziolek, a Bikes for Barker organizer and Fountain Centers employee.”

She said Aaron Winter, who recently graduated and became a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, started as a full-time counselor in the men’s residential unit within the past month.

Winter will also be a performer in The Story Show.

“I can’t wait to participate in this one-of-a-kind event,” said Albert Lea native Laura Lunde in a press release. “The cause is close to my heart and much needed across our area. I can’t wait to share my story and be present with a great group of storytellers.”

The Story Show Albert Lea plans to host another event in November. The charity for that event will be The Friends of the Library, and the theme is “The Power of Words.” It is from the Choose Civility campaign.

For this weekend’s event, tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Children 12 and under are free but require a ticket.