A writer by trade, Tara Pohlkotte knows the power of a meaningful narrative. But, it wasn’t until a conversation with her grandmother that she realized the impact stories can have.
“I was writing a story about my grandparents and I was interviewing my grandma about her life,” Pohlkotte says. “The stories that were pouring out of my grandma were so beautiful and funny. They were things I never knew about her. I thought that if my grandma has these stories, then every single person has these sorts
of stories to tell.”
That thought inspired Pohlkotte to launch Storycatchers, an Appleton-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission of creating community through a shared story space.
Storycatchers’ live events are the group’s most visible activity. Hosted approximately once a month at locations throughout Appleton, Storycatchers puts a call out to the community at large so anyone can participate and share their stories with an audience.
Storycatchers has gained steam steadily since its launch in 2015. After 13 storytellers and 70 audience members participated in the organization’s first live event, Pohlkotte knew she was on to something special.
“I’m most excited to get out more into the community and amplify voices that we don’t always get to hear from,” she says.
By doing outreach with homeless individuals, at-risk teens and refugee communities, Pohlkotte is motivated by giving the community access to these oftentimes-ignored experiences.
“Those types of stories are really impactful, and there are so many more to get,” she says.
Storycatchers also has a podcast created from recordings at its events and stories captured at pop-up recording booths at events such as Mile of Music. In addition, the group offers storytelling and writing workshops and retreats to help children and adults hone their own storytelling skills.