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Masters Tell Tales at the 7th Annual Storytelling Festival

Storytelling is inseparable from human life. For generations, we have been telling story - be it around a fire to convey lessons for survival; at the dinner table to relay a funny happening from our day; in line at the grocery store to share a recent discovery; or snuggling up in the dark night to whisper a bedtime tale of wonder. We all love stories. Especially those conveyed with words that tug at our senses. When we “listen” with our ears, eyes, nose and skin, we not only stir our imagination, but activate our body’s unconscious yearning to transform the pedantic and take flight into sensuous realms of magic, myth and hero.

This February 1st, masterful storytellers Allison Cox, Merna Hecht, Steffon Moody and Gene Tagaban will delight your senses at the 7th Annual Storytelling Festival, held at 4pm at Vashon’s Open Space for Arts & Community. The StoryFest helps raise money for the Vashon Wilderness Program (VWP), which provides nature immersion experiences for youth ages 4-17 from Vashon and surrounding Puget Sound communities. More than 500 youth have been transformed through Coyote Mentoring, VWP’s approach to deep nature connection mentoring which has been touted by award-winning author Richard Louv as “... good medicine for nature deficit disorder.”

Allison Cox is an internationally known storyteller, and is passionate about using stories to heal. She is a founder and current coordinator of the Healing Story Alliance ( and edits their journal Diving in the Moon; Honoring Story, Facilitating Healing. She is also a co-editor/contributor to The Healing Heart books on storytelling for encouraging international, community and personal development. Allison shares her stories both locally and internationally, and for more than 20 years while working for the local health department, shared tales that encourage healthier lives with community members of all ages. Allison has lived in the woods of Vashon Island for 22 years, where she has had the honor of having many trees and animals as her neighbors.

Merna Ann Hecht is a poet, essayist, teaching artist and nationally known storyteller. She is a recipient of the National Storytelling Network 2008 Brimstone Award for Applied Storytelling. Merna founded and co-directs the Stories of Arrival Poetry Project with refugee and immigrant youth at Foster High School in Tukwila and she teaches creative writing, arts and humanities at the University of WA, Tacoma. When not in the classroom she can most often be found in her kitchen indulging her passion for canning and baking or in the garden of the small blueberry farm where she has lived with her husband Rob for nearly twenty years.

Steffon Moody is a Character Actor and Physical Comedian, who has entertained audiences professionally for the past 25 years. He is also a writer, director, musician, designer and,.....storyteller. He is a founding member of the UMO Ensemble, a performer with Room Circus Medical Clowning, and manager of Chameleon Performance.

Gene Tagaban, “One Crazy Raven” is an inspirational speaker, performer, and storyteller. He is a board member and trainer for the Native Wellness Institute. He has been a featured teller at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, Kansas City storytelling Festival, the Bay Area Storytelling festival in Berkeley, St. Louis Storytelling Festival and the Singapore International Storytelling Festival. He can be seen on Northwest Indian News and the Native Entertainment Network. He is also featured in the films “Shadow of the Salmon” and Sherman Alexie’s “The Business of Fancydancing.” He was honored to perform with the Dalai Lama in the presence of an audience of 16,000 children at the “Seeds of Compassion” gathering in Seattle. WA and the Nature Conservancies 50th anniversary with Jane Goodall. Gene’s foremost passion is teaching. Using his gift of storytelling, dance, and music, he travels across the country performing, presenting, and facilitating workshops on suicide prevention, empowerment, leadership, relationship-building, communication skills, self-awareness, spirit and honor to participants of all ages.

Tickets are $50/family, $20/individual and include a complimentary light meal of soup, salad, bread and dessert. Available at Vashon Bookshop (after Jan 15th) and For more information, please contact the Stacey Hinden, VWP Executive Director at