Trenton (July 28, 2015) — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced $36.6 million in grants for 212 humanities projects, including People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos, the Trenton-based nonprofit that believes in the power of literature to change lives. Through oral readings and seminar-style discussions of literary short stories, People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos invites underserved participants to new understandings of themselves, of others, and of the world. People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos was founded in 1972 by the late Princeton resident, Sarah Hirschman.
The National Endowment for the Humanities award, one of five awarded in New Jersey, is for our project, “Reading Deeply in Community,” which we will implement over a 30-month period in collaboration with ten public libraries or library systems. Each library will host four, eight-week series, either in English or in Spanish, of short stories readings and discussions. Populations with whom we will work in Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, and North Carolina, among other states include, women in a battered women’s shelter, adults in re-entry from incarceration, Hispanic immigrants living in migrant housing facilities, Hispanic immigrants working toward citizenship, and unemployed/low-literacy adults. The $408,378 grant will also include funds for a recent graduate of a humanities doctoral program to work with us as a Public Humanities Scholar to help document and interpret the outcomes of the programs, as well as to record the stories participants share in response to the short stories.
Over the course of more than forty years and serving more than 40,000 people, we have found that those in transition are particularly open to the benefits of People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos. As part of the NEH-sponsored initiative we will continue to integrate our programs with other organizations focused on critical life transitions: prisoners moving to probation, half way house residents re-joining community, at-risk youth in alternative education programs, immigrants working toward citizenship, adults enrolled in basic education programs, seniors moving to new stages. A critical bridge, People & Stories/Gente y Cuentos provides hope and skills for moving forward in life.
Board President, Georgia Whidden remarked, “We’re very honored to be one of the few organizations in the country to have received such a significant grant from the NEH, which demonstrates both their confidence in us and their belief in the work we do.”
People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos’ Executive Director, Patricia Andres, who is also the Project Director for the NEH “Reading Deeply in Community” initiative said, “We are thrilled to be a National Endowment for the Humanities-sponsored program! Our work is to connect lives with literature, one short story at time, and this grant will really help us expand our reach.”
“The grant projects announced today represent the very best of humanities scholarship and programming,” said NEH Chairman William Adams. “NEH is proud to support programs that illuminate the great ideas and events of our past, broaden access to our nation’s many cultural resources, and open up for us new ways of understanding the world in which we live.”
For more information about recent NEH grants, visit: http://www.neh.gov/news/press-release/2015-07-28