Several of us attended the University of Kentucky’s Summer Series on Aging in 2001 and heard Germaine present on Spellbinders. What an idea! So three of us Fran Morris of Jewish Family Services, Pat Davis of the Lexington Senior Center and me, Beth Mills – decided to start a Chapter. In 2002, we received a $1500 grant from Partners for Youth to start a Spellbinders Chapter. Our first training class had 7 participants and was given by Harriet Arrington, a professional storyteller and professor at the University of Kentucky.
The group told stories at Family Care Center, Lansdowne Elementary, Squires Elementary, Cardinal Valley Elementary, Temple Adath Israel child care. The group also travelled to Cave Run Storytelling Festival in Morehead each year. In 2003, Partners for Youth did not fund the program. LexLinc, a community connections agency, awarded Spellbinders $1000 for a new class training that was held in the fall of that year. Another 5 storytellers were trained.
In 2004, Fran Morris and I approached Lexington Public Library to take over sponsorship and the program has grown exponentially since then. In the beginning, the storytellers were assigned to a specific classroom in the schools. When they moved to the school libraries, the number of students who could benefit grew – good idea! One of my favorite memories was the time a little girl came up to one of our storytellers and said she saw the pictures of the story in her head but couldn’t get them out. It was then that another little girl took her to the art station and helped her draw what she saw! So cool.