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What People Are Saying About Children at the Well

Students

No matter what we call God, ...I finally realized that we need to put away our differences and start thinking of our similarities.

Children at the Well is politically correct and awesome!!!


When I think about Children at the Well I think of goodness, kindness, diversity, strong friendship and love. When I first began Children at the Well, I was very nervous. I was afraid that I wouldn't make any friends. I was very surprised when everybody was nothing but good to me.

I am on my third year here and am now an intern. Everyone in the group is extremely close to me. A family that is so diverse and so loving and understanding.

When I think about the group I remember all of the places where we have told. This summer some people told to international delegations, some people told at a peace camp, some told on channel 16. Others told on WPRI. We have told at temples, Unitarian Universalist Societies, mosques, Hindu temples and Eastern Parkway United Methodist Church.

This program has dramatically increased my understanding of other religions. That has helped me in my life so far and my life as a Methodist. The motto for being a Methodist is "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors". That describes exactly our purpose here at Children at the Well.

The thing that is the most important to me is the exposure to people in other religions. We are all just people, and our alikeness is greater than our differences. We all are there to tell stories and laugh our way to perfection.

Children at the Well is a huge part of my life and I would highly recommend it for any teenager no matter who they are.
- Emily Hebert , Member of Eastern Parkway United Methodist Church, 3rd year student in Children at the Well


I never realized how many different religions and belief systems there were, and CAW has opened my eyes to this fact. Despite all the different religions, there are many similarities between all of us. Iíve also learned how to effectively communicate with others. Iíve learned techniques for speaking in large groups, which has helped me a lot.
- Samar age 17

As an intern, one of the older students, I have become an expert at comedy in storytelling. I learned a lot by speaking in public. It has improved my socialness and taught me a lot about other people and their religions. This is my fourth year, so I have become really in love with storytelling.
- Khalafalla, age 15

Iíve always loved learning about different faiths and beliefs. Through CAW my interest has thrived. After almost every meeting, I spend hours researching miniscule details of other faiths. I have decided that in college I would like to take comparative religion and philosophy courses. CAW is about storytelling, an activity I love. Before this group I would never have thought of storytelling. I had never heard of it as an art. CAW has introduced me to some of my best friends and to an activity Iím truly good at and love. It has allowed my love for learning and other religions grow. It is a great program.
- Ben, age 17

CAW has given me a better understanding of other religions as well as my own. It has shown me that all the religions are not that different; we all come together and share common ground when we tell stories. Also, Iíve learned how much more I use my faith in my everyday life. CAW also helped me become more confident in my public speaking and more at ease being in front of people. Though it was only my second year in the program, it has still helped me a lot.
- Alex, 14

Children at the Well has helped me learn about other religions. Since I come from a very small religious school this has helped me socially. I really enjoy this group.
- Meir, age 12

This program has made a lot of difference in my life. It has given me confidence in public speaking and Iím better at connecting to the audience. This is very important in life. I like the people in this group as theyíre all very nice and inclusive of others. This is the first time in my life I donít feel like an outsider to any group. Marni, Mary and the other adults have really helped me bring out the meaning of my story.
- Rishi, age 14

In my BahŠ'Ū faith we believe you must love all faiths as your own. Since I used to live in an mostly white community in Florida and there wasnít a lot of diversity, it was almost a little difficult for me to do that. Coming to a new state this year and then meeting all of the cool kids from different faiths, it gives me a better idea of what it means to love all faiths. Itís nice to know that no matter what faith youíre a part of, everyone is still human and we all love the same. Which is what my BahŠ'Ū faith teaches. I love that, and I love Children at the Well.
- Lua, age 14

The difference that CAW has made in my life is that it has introduced me to new people who practice different religions and have different faiths. This has helped me learn more about those faiths and separate the truth from the many stereotypes. In addition, I am glad I joined the group because I have made many new friends, and it has been a very fun experience for me.
- Aditya, age 13

Children at the Well has helped me by broadening my understanding of religions, especially my own. Hearing other stories about my own faith has, in a way, enlightened me. I learned that no matter who is in your audience, everyone can relate to your story.
- Mahrukh, age 15


CAW has shown new light on what other faith traditions are really like. It was also a place where I could really be myself. Nobody judged anybody, and we are all friends.

From the very first meeting of CAW until now, as we prepare our final show, I have felt safe and secure in this group. Nobody cares about our differences. Instead, we celebrate our similarities. I now feel so much more confident in my storytelling ability. By always encouraging us and using appreciations, Marni and Mary and the other adults have given all our stories a good strong base. They also encourage us to explore our talents and go above and beyond. This experience has been one of the excitement, friendship, and discovery. Thank you.
- Claire, age 12

Interns and staff, Fall 2009

 

New friends

 

Photo of a teller

 

New friends

 

New friends from Children at the Well

 

Rehearsal at Congregation Gates of Heaven, Schenectady

 

Photo of a teller

 

Pot-luck supper

Parents

My daughter has participated in taking the training to become a story teller. I have to say that her experience in this process has been transformative. In the past two years she has witnessed how community becomes a vibrant, alive, interconnected universe through the power of interfaith story.
- a parent

Our son was right when he told us that the concept of the "Well" project is so very pertinent to our times. If young people learn about their religions and cultures, and if they share their learning with others, the chance increases that they will be tolerant adults who will appreciate difference. Thank you.
- a parent

My daughter has participated in taking the training to become a storyteller. I have to say that her experience has been transformative. In the past two years she has witnessed how community becomes a vibrant, alive, interconnected universe through the power of interfaith story.

Children at the Well is an example of what is possible in communities when the connecting principle is a thread (in this case, story) that is found to be present in all its members. I have never seen so many adults and children from different faiths come together as one and remain individual in their identities. There is no loss of sense of self, only enrichment about the possibilities of seeing the world through many lenses.
- Jyoti Swaminathan, Psy.D., Teacher, Hindu Temple of the Capital District

Teachers

We could not have imagined the benefits we would receive from Children at the Well, as a school and as a community. It has opened a door of understanding for our students and our teachers. Our students have had opportunities to build friendships with people of other faiths, visit other places of worship and share their own stories and faith.

Throughout the years we have participated in interfaith programs that were adult oriented. This program is the first that reached out to the youth, our future generation. If we affect the hearts of our youth, we will affect community change for generations to come.

Story sharing gives children a way to embrace communalities and to savor each othersí differences. Children at the Well has given our students an opportunity to shine as Muslims in the warmth of their human community. My hope is that this blessing will continue for years to come.
- Shariifa Din, Principal, An Nur Islamic School


As a protestant minister, I have been blessed to be a part of this program to share how my faith tradition uses stories and have been amazed to be in a room of youth form a wide variety of faith backgrounds who genuinely like each other. In a world that increasingly divides itself along sectarian lines, I find Children at the Well to be a strong source of hope.
- Rev. Kent Busman, Minister in the Reformed Church of America

Listeners at the Storytelling Events

As always ... 'a little child shall lead them' ... There are so few opportunities for adults and children from different cultures to come together. Thank you for creating this opportunity.
- a listener

I wish we had more programs like this around the community and the world. Although we are different in religion, we are all the same in heart.
- a listener