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The Citizen Recommends: Mission Story Slam

This time around, the B Corps-hosted event focuses on an issue pertinent to our day: saving democracy

This time around, the B Corps-hosted event focuses on an issue pertinent to our day: saving democracy

What’s something you can do—or have done—to save democracy? It can be anything, big or small, widespread or local, by you or by your neighborhood. Whatever it is, PWPvideo wants to hear you talk about it at their second Mission Story Slam tonight.

The event works like this: Attendees are invited to put their name in a hat for a chance to tell their story at a microphone before the crowd. Ten will be selected; the winners will be awarded up to $250 to go to a non-profit or B Corporation of their choice. The theme this time around is “Saving Democracy.”

This is PWPvideo’s second story slam; the first was in April. PWP Producer David Winston came to the idea earlier this year, when it occurred to him: He and his team hear so many amazing stories in the course of making videos for nonprofits and B Corporations across the city and around the country; it would be great to share those stories with clients and colleagues.

Or, as he puts it: “In the video business you’re always at the party, but you’re working it. So I thought, it’d be fun if it’s our party.”

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PWPvideo, founded in 2000, is a certified B Corporation and a member of the Sustainable Business Network of Philadelphia. As a producer, Winston is used to working closely with people in nonprofits and other B Corps—a designation that indicates a company’s focus on people, planet and profits—to get their messages out to the public. The Mission Story Slam was meant to be a way to get to know clients on a more personal level. “The people we work with are really cool people,” says Winston. “You wanna sit down and have a beer and talk.”

But it is more than a networking opportunity for activists. It’s also a space for inspiration, vulnerability and meaningful connection for those in activist and non-profit work. PWPvideo founder Michael Schweisheimer was shocked at how powerful the first event was. “The energy in the room was palpably healing,” he says. “The next day I was just buzzing all day.”

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Schweisheimer says that Mission Story Slam is for everybody. You don’t need to have a story to tell in order to attend. “The flip side of that,” he warns, “is it’s really shockingly fun to tell a story in front of a supportive room like this.” So if you go, you might just catch the bug. That’s how Karen Singer, a board member of Women in Transition who hadn’t even planned to speak, ended up winning the last Story Slam.

After all, storytelling is something we’ve all had some exposure to in some form or other. In fact, Winston insists that it’s is one of the most natural, human activities there is. “I’m firmly convinced that what separates us from animals—it’s not language, it’s not intelligence. It’s stories, and it’s the ability to empathize through those stories,” he says.

The event will held at Yard’s Brewery, and will feature three judges: Jamie Gauthier, Executive Director, Fairmount Park Conservancy; Kelly Offner, Head of CleanUps for United By Blue; and David Thornburgh, Executive Director of Committee of Seventy. Chris Satullo of Draw the Lines PA will be returning as emcee.

At the end of the night, the first place winner will receive $250 toward their favorite charity; second place will get $100; and all 10 participants will be videoed by PWPVideo staff, who will package and make the film available to them for free.

Tuesday, September 25, 6 pm-10 pm, $15-$20, Yards Brewing Co., 500 Spring Garden St. 

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