Young Appalachian Story Summit 

Sunday, September 12, 2021 

About the Summit

The Young Appalachian Storytelling Summit is a young adult-led event that focuses on a critical issue: how young adults can use storytelling as a leadership tool to create Appalachia’s future. Summit participants have the opportunity to hear from diverse voices within Appalachia; to understand how storytelling can help them take action in their own communities; and to join a network of like-minded young Appalachians to collaborate with beyond the event. The September 12, 2021 Summit, Crossroads, will focus on the intersections of who we are and how we engage our voices with the wider community. Participants will collaboratively explore their own strengths at these “crossroads” and develop concrete ways to use these strengths as tools in their lives and work by using the power of storytelling to cultivate a united voice during global unease. The Summit will include workshops, networking, story circles, and a panel discussion to empower young adults to share their voices with their wider communities and help shape Appalachia’s future. The Summit is open to anyone in the ARC’s 13-state Appalachian region.


Finding Your Workshops (10:00am-11:00am)

1AFinding Your Flavor with Jose Castillo: In this hands-on workshop you will find your unique flavor and learn how to craft an honest, compelling story that will help you communicate your vision with the world, with host and entrepreneur Jose Castillo.

1B- Finding Your Story with Kiran Singh Sirah: Work on crafting your unique story to build connections with those around you and envision a better world with President of the International Storytelling Center and peacebuilder, Kiran Singh Sirah.

1C- Finding Your Hustle with Katelyn Yarborough: Learn about stepping into your vision and creating opportunity with Jonesborough’s Eureka Inn Keeper and operator of Side Hustle Custom Cookies, Katelyn Yarborough.


Your Voice & More Workshops (11:15am-12:15)

2A– Your Voice & Civic Engagement with Jenny Brock: Learn how to make sense of what’s going on and use your creative voice to educate, motivate and influence others with former Mayor and City Commissioner of Johnson City, TN, Jenny Brock.

2B: Your Voice & Online Presence with Valentina Escobar-Gonzalez: Focus in on how you can advance your cause and your personal brand through social media with social media expert and owner of Beyond Engagement, Valentina Escobar-Gonzalez.

2C: Your Voice & The Fuller Narrative with Dr. Alicestyne Turley: Be empowered to use your voice for advancing social and racial justice with historian, professor, and ISC Freedom Stories Project Director, Dr. Alicestyne Turley.


The Young Appalachian Story Summit is a grant-funded initiative, therefore there is not a registration fee for this conference. 

Young Appalachian Story Summit Resources

Download resources, listen to interviews and session recordings, and find links to media shown at previous Summits:

2019 Keynote Speech with Oakley Fugate

2018 Keynote Speech with ISC President Kiran Singh Sirah

2018 Task Game with Adam Booth

Created by award-winning storyteller and educator Adam Booth, this task game can be used as an engaging way to apply storytelling to community building. Download the materials here.

Interview with Appalshop's Appalachian Media Institute

Hear an interview with Appalshop’s Appalachian Media Institute Director Willa Johnson at the Young Appalachian Story Summit at the International Storytelling Center.

Links to short films shown in their presentation below:

Searching for An Appalachian Accent

Times Have Changed

Let’s LARC about it

Meet Our Partners

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The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.

Because democracy demands wisdom, NEH serves and strengthens our republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The Endowment accomplishes this mission by awarding grants for top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.

Fahe is on a mission to build the American Dream.

Working with our Network of 50+ nonprofits across the Appalachian portion of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, Alabama, and Maryland, we use our expertise in finance, collaboration, innovation, advocacy, and communication to achieve a more prosperous Appalachian region.  With a focus on leadership, housing, education, health and social services, and economic opportunity, Fahe empowers the people and communities of Appalachia with the resources, opportunities, and tools needed to build a better life.  Our strength in numbers creates positive change in Appalachia, one of the poorest and most difficult regions of the country to serve.

ISC has partnered with Ballad Health’s newest hospital. Unicoi County Hospital is not just a place for high quality care to treat illness, but is also a community center that fosters and encourages wellness. From storytelling-related elements embedded into the design, to community storytelling events and health literacy workshops, to specially story trained staff, Ballad is leading the charge of applied storytelling in healthcare for their patients and surrounding community.

The Niswonger Foundation was established in 2001 to make a positive and sustainable difference in education in Northeast Tennessee.

The mission of the Niswonger Foundation is to create opportunities for individual and community growth through education and other sustainable projects.

East Tennessee Foundation (ETF) is a public charity and community foundation created by and for the people of East Tennessee, where many donors join together to make the region they love a better place, today and for future generations. ETF, like other community foundations, operates as a collection of hundreds of distinct charitable funds and supporting foundations established by individuals, families, businesses, and other nonprofits. Through our work a wide variety of philanthropic objectives are achieved.

The Tennessee Arts Commission was created in 1967 by the Tennessee General Assembly with the special mandate to stimulate and encourage the presentation of the visual, literary, music and performing arts and to encourage public interest in the cultural heritage of Tennessee. 

The mission of the Tennessee Arts Commission is to cultivate the arts for the benefit of all Tennesseans and their communities. Our vision is a Tennessee where the arts inspire, connect and enhance everyday lives.