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Human Library Event Lends Stories, Smiles, Support

Posted on 09/19/22 by Beth in Community News

When organizations collaborate to share missions, ideas, and resources, amazing outcomes can result. And sometimes all it takes is a conversation, sharing, and an openness to new vantage points. The recent Human Library event produced by The Weils of Menorah Park, in support of the Metzenbaum Foundation, provides a great model.

Human Library Event Lends Stories, Smiles, Support

The Human Library addresses preconceived notions by helping people interact with those they would not normally meet. The library analogy promotes lending people rather than books.

The Weils resident ambassador, Helen Winovich, was a part of the event, both helping to plan it as a member of The Weils Women’s Social Club and participating as one of the living books. Fellow member, Betty Terhune, suggested the Metzenbaum Foundation be its beneficiary.

Bonnie Veleba is a program director at the Metzenbaum Foundation, which is associated with the Geauga County Board of Developmental Disabilities. She helps run a Community Connections program to offer education (art, yoga, and cooking classes) as well as recreational opportunities and the Special Olympics for Geauga County residents.

Human Library Event Lends Stories, Smiles, Support

Bonnie and others from Metzenbaum attended the event, but didn’t know exactly what the Human Library program would entail and how it would be received.

“I didn't have any expectations before the event,” said Bonnie, “but I thought it was such a wonderful program. Individuals talked about different meaningful aspects of their life. It was just like a great conversation.”

Approximately ten stations were set up at the Human Library event, with one speaker telling a story to a handful of people sitting across from them. At the end of a session, participants would move to another table and another great story.

Human Library Event Lends Stories, Smiles, Support

“What struck me is how people engaged so openly with the speaker and with other members of the audience, and the smiles on the faces of everyone, especially the story tellers,” Bonnie added.

At the conclusion of the Human Library program, the Women’s Social Club presented the Metzenbaum Center with a check for $1250 to benefit the Special Olympics program. Metzenbaum representatives were able to personally express their thanks, as well as to expand upon some newly formed relations.

Bonnie hopes to bring Metzenbaum people back to The Weils to play bingo. And Helen and The Weils Women’s Social Club are already working on ideas for their next fundraiser. “I love planning events. I’ve been at The Weils for almost four years and I love being a part of this community. It’s a wonderful feeling giving back to such worthy causes,” she says.

That’s an approach that all of us should consider sharing.

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