The SWFL Storytellers Project event in July focuses on family, culture

We all have stories to tell about our family history and culture.

Here’s an opportunity to learn more about others at our next USA TODAY Storytellers Project event. The second part of the series is “My Family, My Culture” on July 8th and is virtual and will air online at

“My Family, My Culture” is part of approximately 50 storytelling nights in America, true first person stories on topics that include outdoor adventure, race and identity.

Tell your story:Your family, your culture: Share yours as part of the Storytellers Project

What’s new in 2021:Storytellers Project is back with a few changes: it’s free, Florida-wide, and virtual

And new for 2021, the Storytellers project will include more famous voices, notable celebrities, and current voices. As always, the project is dedicated to creating empathy and understanding across America.

Also new is the Storytellers Project, which will debut a series focused on celebrating the way race and ethnicity are woven through American identities. Five nights with storytellers who identify themselves as a particular race or ethnicity – Black, Middle Eastern, Indigenous, Hispanic / Latin American, and Asians – are designed to help Americans understand each other better.

“These are real people, and it’s authentic,” said Megan Finnerty, founder of the National Storytellers Project program.

“People connect and build a sense of community by listening to strangers tell stories. You can listen to others telling their stories and hear that you have something in common with them. “

For those watching live on the Storytellers project website, general admission is free or they pay $ 3 as a “conscientious supporter”. To attend these evenings, get your tickets at and check out

The last show hosted by the Southwest Florida Storytellers Project was titled “Growing Up,” on April 8th, in which five unique storytellers revealed their experiences of heartbreak, humor, and more.

And the Storytellers project serves as a way for the USA TODAY Network’s newsrooms to connect with their communities through their journalism, while reporters and editors coach people to convey their truths to a virtual audience.

The nights combine the authenticity of storytelling as an art form with the truthfulness, community building and empowerment that great journalism is based on.

In 2020, roughly half of the national storytellers were People of Color, so these new nights continue an existing commitment to inclusivity and representation while highlighting certain types of stories.

Also new is that the season features a mix of shows curated by the USA TODAY Network newsrooms across the country and some curated by the Storytellers Project’s national leadership team. The Storytellers Project, which combines journalism and oral storytelling, had to switch from in-person shows at venues to streaming last spring when the pandemic hit.

Naples Daily News reporters Andrew Atkins (left) and Sarajane Sullivan (right) MC during a Storytellers Project event at Off The Hook Comedy Club in Naples on Tuesday February 18, 2020.

Most national shows are on Tuesdays from 7pm to 8pm.

And again this year, nearly two dozen online shows are curated and hosted by journalists from USA TODAY Network newsrooms, reflecting the people and their stories from each geographic area. Each region will address the issue in a way that is relevant to the people in those areas. In Southwest Florida, the remaining are:

“My Family, My Culture” July 8th;

“At home” October 7th; and

“Traditions” 16 Dec.

Shows with a national focus, many with authors, artists and well-known personalities, run through December 14th.

For more information on the Storytellers project, visit

Dave Osborn is the regional features editor for the Naples Daily News and News-Press. Follow him on Instagram @ detroitdave88 and on Twitter @NDN_dosborn.

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