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Telling It


TELLING IT is a trauma informed, resiliency-building program that supports the healing and learning needs of school-age youth. This free after-school program is based on best practices from social work and education that are filtered through the expressive arts. TELLING IT is able to achieve its mission by employing a trained team that includes facilitators, social workers, U-M interns, volunteers and artists that work with youth on a weekly basis.

Celebrating its 16th year in Washtenaw County. TELLING IT serves on average 60-80 youth each year. These are youngsters who are coping with various degrees of trauma such as home and food insecurity, bullying, a high level of violence or living in poverty. Evaluation results demonstrate that youth feel valued and respected in the weekly program sessions. They report that TELLING IT provides a safe space where they share their life experiences and their hurts. TELLING IT supports youth on their path to becoming healthy and empowered young adults.

From Deb Gordon-Gurfinkel, founding director of TELLING IT:

The Anthology booklets (below) reflect the creativity of children and teens that live in Ypsilanti where they attend weekly TELLING IT sessions at Parkridge Community Center and Ypsilanti Community Middle School. In the TELLING IT program sessions, youth engage in playful, imaginative and healing activities in uncensored, non-judgmental spaces. They take enormous pride in how these anthologies reflect their intrinsic selves as resilient and strong young people who want their voices to be heard. The anthologies provide one platform for them to do that. My hope is that you can feel the vibrant energy of the children and teens through their writing and from their photographs.

Learn more about Telling it at or by listening to the March 2019 episode of the RC Podcast: