big news

From the Director

Well hold on tight! The Truth School is growing and changing and wow, good stuff is happening and more changes lie ahead!

One big change happened this Fall when we moved our office from Race Street in Holyoke to State Street in Springfield.  The office is now embedded in the Alden Baptist Church where I serve as an Associate Pastor.  We love being in a downtown Springfield church with the buzz of the city all around us, and we cherish the support the Alden Church family provides the Truth School!  Thank you Alden!

Another change that has happened is that we have expanded our Partners Program and we are excited about that.  Truth School Partners have been, for the last three years, houses of worship up and down the Pioneer Valley who support the Truth School by providing the School with an annual financial gift, promoting our classes by including us in announcements and newsletters, and offering free space for Truth School classes and meetings.  We have 13 formal Partners and we will be reaching out to more houses of worship in 2020.  But a change occurred this fall, our first NON-house of worship became a formal partner and we are delighted.  River Valley Co-op in Northampton gave the Truth School a $1500 contribution, plus they have been promoting our classes and have offered their board room as a free space for us to hold classes and/or meetings.  We welcome the River Valley Co-op as a formal Truth School partner, and we will be reaching out to other groups and nonprofit organizations to partner with us as well!

And the final (really really really) big change I will highlight at this time is the School is stepping out on faith and growing up (in a way)…the Steering Committee has made the decision to break away from our fiscal sponsor, the Institute for Policy Studies in DC, and become our own 501(c)(3) organization in 2020.  We are deeply grateful to IPS for being our steady parent the first three years of our existence!  IPS stepped in immediately, when we were just a twinkle in the eyes of the school founders and took us on as their movement-building school—and for that we will be forever grateful!  But it is time we manage our own money, pay our trainers ourselves, and take on our own financial management.  Our lawyer has filed the paperwork, which is extensive (as many of you probably know!) and we are now waiting to be granted our own nonprofit status in the spring of 2020 (we hope).  All fingers and toes are crossed that this will come to pass without glitches and setbacks.

The Truth School is now three years old!  Happy Birthday Truth School!  And you, dear extended Truth School family, have made us the success that we are!  We are growing and growing up, changing and becoming more stable and effective—while still remaining light on our feet and committed to our original vision and purpose.  Thank you for all you do and give—and for being part of this remarkable little gem, the Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership!

Happy New Year to each one of you and many many thanks,

truth school happenings

Lots has been happening in the Truth School. With classes all over CT River Valley (ok, not everywhere but in Springfield, Easthampton, Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield) it’s hard to keep track of it all!

In brief: Sacred Music: A Journey to Freedom led by Dr. Ruth Bass Green was offered at Lathrop in Northampton and moved one participant with the possibility of forgetting yourself and just joining and singing. Positive Change through Education housed at Jackson street school and co-led by Gwen Agna and Thomas Chang helped participants refine techniques for approaching inequity issues with children, the fine art of show kids things and asking them what they notice. Social Activism for Senior Citizens housed up in Greenfield at the Franklin Co-op space on 170 Main street inspired the simple reflection in one participant, “in part, I need to learn how to be in community, just be able to be with folk.

After attending the Circle Practice to Build Strength and Trust class led by Tasondra Jardine at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke (what an unexpected place for a Circle Practice class!) one participant is motivated to get involved in restorative justice movements; Norma Akamatsu and Gail Perlman’s Infighting on the Left: A Structured Dialogue class reminded one participant “of how important storytelling is in breaking down barriers. Also, a better understanding of why ‘point-counterpoint’ doesn’t work, which was helpful.” And then last but not least, Pamela Marsh William’s class on leading volunteers accomplished its goal: one participant said, “I think I can recruit and nurture volunteers more effectively!Cheers to that.

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