2018 CommuniCare Leadership Retreat: The Art of Storytelling

Today, CommuniCare is at 26 partner schools and organizations, including nearly all comprehensive Portland Public High Schools, three schools on the North Coast and three schools in Eastern Oregon. Close to 2,000 students have participated and over $1.25 million has been granted to almost 300 nonprofits. Honoring his parent’s legacy, Jordan D. Schnitzer says, “We wanted to figure out a way to help high school students learn about their community, learn about need, and learn about opportunities in the nonprofit and philanthropic world. To try to teach this, you can talk about it all you want, but in the end it’s experiences that resonate and touch our hearts and souls.”

The CommuniCare Leadership Retreat, which was held in conjunction with the Opus Prize Week at the University of Portland, focused on the theme: “The Art of Storytelling: How Leaders Motivate, Inspire, and Create Change”.

Human beings have always told stories – to pass along important knowledge, to get to know new people, and to celebrate traditions and heritage. Technology has democratized the power to tell stories around the world, which makes thoughtful, effective storytelling more important now than ever. The ability to cut through the noise of competing information is a valuable skill – one that informs business, nonprofit, and government leadership.

Strong leaders use stories to build relationships, motivate others, and inspire action. This event challenged its participants to hone their communication skills through this lens.

Special Guests:

Kay ToranVolunteers of America, President

Kay D. Toran has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of Volunteers of America Oregon (VOAOR) since July, 1999. In this role, Kay provides overall leadership and strategic direction for this human services non-profit. VOAOR provides services to children and families, single adults and to the frail elderly. Our services include early childhood; domestic violence solutions; treatment for substance abuse disorders and gambling addiction; prisoner re-entry and adult day services for the elderly. VOAOR also runs social enterprise organizations including Catering for a Cause.

Workshop Facilitators/Performers: Young Audiences of Oregon & SW Washington

Anne Rutherford

Anne preforms and leads workshops across the country as a solo performer and as a duo with her husband, storyteller Norm Brecke. She is grateful to everyone who is part of the community of storytelling, especially those who are its audience, because, as she says “Without you – I’d be talking to myself.”

Mic Crenshaw

Born on the Southside of Chicago, and raised both there and in Minneapolis, Michael Crenshaw is a world class MC and poet who has emerged on the national and international stage. Since moving to Portland in 1994, Mic has become one of the most respected artists in the Northwest.  In 2001, he won The Portland Poetry Slam Championship and went on to finish as a national finalist.

Additionally, Mic’s community efforts span both local and global scenes. Mic is currently the Political Director of Hip Hop Congress and the Lead U.S. Organizer for the Afrikan Hip Hop Caravan. Mic also is the co-founder of Globalfam – a full entertainment company, record label and lifestyle company in one. Since 2012, Mic has released 3 EP’s expanding his musical presentation into metal and other rock inspired sound. His contributions, including the 2014 EP “Superheros”, have solidified Mic’s place in Hip Hop worldwide and as an activist/educator.

2018 Opus Prize Finalists

Daniel and Avitha Victor of the Agape Rehabilitation Centre in Chennai, India

Agape was founded and is managed by Daniel and Avitha Victor, a married couple, who have spent their entire lives serving disabled teens and adults – a community of people who are often discarded in the Indian culture.

Dr. Rami Nashashibi of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) in Chicago, Illinois.

Operating in a U.S.-city plagued by unrelenting gun-violence, IMAN has spent nearly two decades methodically implementing grass roots programs serving the most vulnerable families living in Chicago’s south side.

José Antonio Patrón Quispe and Rev. Daniel Panchot, C.S.C. of the Yancana Huasy in Lima, Peru

Established by Fr. Daniel and led today by José Antonio Patrón, Yancana Huasy works to integrate children and families with special needs into public schools, faith communities and neighborhoods.