Our guest on the podcast this week is Vera Oyé Yaa-Anna, affectionately known as Auntie Oyé, a Liberian-born acclaimed master storyteller who transports her audience to West Africa through “imaginary” interactive storytelling. She is the Founder/Executive Director of Oyé Palaver Hut, a twenty-five-year-old established cultural arts organization that integrates storytelling performances with the culinary arts to focus on physical and emotional wellness. She tours nationally and internationally presenting her dynamic programs that include high-energy African dance and the traditional djembe drums. This energetic cultural educator’s performances are designed to celebrate diversity. She is a four-time DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities Fellowship Program recipient.
Today we’re going to be talking about one of Vera’s greatest passions and which is inspiring change through community storytelling, and she does this work not only with adults but also with children. Vera shares the values inspired by her African culture to teach children in active and participative ways, not in a classroom with books, but in the kitchen cooking food, taking them out into the world to practice what they have learned through music, storytelling, and dance.
Listen in as we talk through how children can inspire change in their families and communities by learning storytelling and finding their value and confidence in the process. Vera is tackling poverty, diversity, and inclusion amongst other valuable life skills, in very simple and organic ways. She is giving underprivileged children access to differences, to help them feel a part of the world in which they live. And her loving energy is infectious, I didn’t just hear the words she was speaking, as her children have said “I feel her” as I am sure you will too.
If you have children in your life, don’t overlook their value is what Vera taught me. Consider the children in your own life, embrace a different more organic perspective on change-making as you consider listening to this deeply resonant dialogue for insights. I suspect you’ll enjoy Vera's perspective on life, inspiring change and bringing it all to life through storytelling as much as I did.
“Everyone is a storyteller. Everything is a story.”—Vera Oyé Yaa-Anna
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