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Walla Walla Valley PACEs Connection (WA)

7 Sentences to a Story


An inspirational story from our Founder + Board President, Teri Barila

Nothing thrills me more than to hear from someone who attended our conference or training and took action as a result!

Angela Hill and Line Perron, with Imagine Institute for Learning (Edmonton, Canada), shared an amazing story based on their engagement with us at the June 2019 Beyond Paper Tigers conference. During the Social/Networking activity, we used the 7 Sentence story to help participants see the power behind storytelling. These 7 sentences became the framework on which to shape and convey a message in a succinct and powerful way. Angela and Line, in their work in Alberta on a Community Mental Health Action Plan were planning community engagement events. Angela recalls from BPT 2019, “I remembered how beautifully people were able to talk about their community stories at your conference in June so we thought we would use the seven-sentence story format and it went beautifully! We were able to weave stories all throughout the day to make the frameworks and information around mental health come to life.”

They printed the stories captured as the community event and used them as centerpieces for the day.

They also used the 7-sentence story to capture individual mental health experiences. “We made cards with the seven sentence prompts on one side and blank space on the other for attendees of the launch to write their own story and share it with us. It went even better than expected!” Angela remembers, “People wrote beautiful, heartfelt stories that get to the root of all the ways the mental health system is working and not working. These stories will be used to spark discussion and inspire as this work moves forward in the coming years.”

A graphic recorder helping with this Imagine Institute event,  did her own 7 sentence story, which became the image above.

This 7 Sentence approach has been been incredibly impactful for CRI.  Try it out at your next community event. I get goosebumps re-reading this note to me, and thank them for sharing their experience with CRI. Hats off to Angela and Line and all the power of what Imagine Institute for Learning is doing to make resilience a verb! 

The 7 Sentence Story

In our community….(a brief description of the community)         

We frequently……(identify the undesired/negative behavior)

Until this happened…..(the ultimate situation demonstrating how the undesired/negative behavior wasn’t working)

Because of this……(the “aha” moment that pointed out the change that needed to be made)

Because of that…..(a change made from the new understanding; this may have been met with more of the same old thinking)

Until finally....(the ultimate effort that made the change work)

And now we do things this way….(the new behavior that is creating a new outcome)

What is the story of your community?

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