Why is Telling Tales Important

Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play. … Many children in every part of the world are starved for something that feeds and nourishes their soul in a way that nothing else ever could or ever would. ..We must understand that every child has a right to the experience of culture. We must fully understand that without stories and poems and pictures and music, children will starve.

– Philip Pullman

The power of stories and the power of literacy — these are superpowers that change children’s lives forever. In a world of hectic work schedules, electronic device addiction, declining funding for the arts in schools, as well as cultural and monetary barriers, children from every kind of background can struggle with reading. Low literacy rates, like poverty, persist and high dropout rates are often the result. The stats are clear that the higher the literacy rate level, the more likely the child is to stay in school and thrive in life.

At Telling Tales we believe in the power of story. Our solution has been to pull together as a community to create a world where storytelling is central. A place where families can explore together the best of Canada’s stories for youth. A free, accessible and totally fun world where adventure, magic, mystery and mischief rule. Telling Tales was inspired by the Rotary belief that improving literacy is a very real way to break the poverty cycle. Ten years on, our local Rotary clubs continue to strongly support our mission.

We are providing new platforms for Canada’s leading children’s authors, illustrators, storytellers and musicians to interact with children, youth and their families. We love to connect the inspiring and talented rock stars of children’s literature with the right audience -and then watch the sparks fly. This year our theme is embrace the power of stories. Our youth will be supercharged with new and vital powers to help them make their mark in the world such as: Curiosity, Creativity, Imagination, Courage, Hope, Friendship, Confidence, Kindness, Belonging and perhaps most importantly, Empathy.

Why do we need to your support? In the early years, while Telling Tales was a project of Rotary, they were able to generate funding to support a summer literacy camp, Hamilton Literacy Council and the ELH Read to your baby initiative. Over the first eight years over $100,000 was generated to support these programs. Today the priority is simply to grow the reach of Telling Tales programming that connects stories and children and fosters literacy. Our new board, chaired by Richard Koroscil, is working to ensure that Telling Tales is a strong and sustainable organization for generations to come.

The three-year strategic plan is designed to expand our reach year-round through four channels, digital, community, school and festivals. This year we will reach over 7,000 through our school and community events – in addition to the 7,000 expected to attend the festival. But we want to connect with thousands more in creative ways. Our new and longstanding partnerships are helping like-minded companies to work with us to achieve our mutual goals. Generous support through donations, grants, volunteering, in-kind support allow us to bring this critical programming to our community free of charge. But we need to build the capacity to transition from an entirely volunteer based program to one that is strong enough to support a small staff. As our reach grows so naturally do the costs and demands of delivering the program. This year are twice what they were two years ago with operating costs at $250,000. We hope to double our size again by 2020. Your much-needed support will help us to connect more children with inspiring storytellers of every kind.