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The Graduate Hotel in Athens, Georgia, is pictured on February 8, 2018. (Photo/Chamberlain Smith, chamberlainlockett.com)

On March 7, Rabbit Box will host its “A Life Well Read” event at The Foundry. The event is held in collaboration with Books for Keeps, an organization that provides books to elementary schools in the Clarke County area, and will feature seven different storytellers as they share the impact of books on their lives.

Heidi Ferreira, the executive director at Rabbit Box, shared her past experiences with the event.

“We’ve had people come up and let us know how certain stories have touched their lives. [Past events] also encouraged them to step forward and tell their story that maybe they’ve been keeping close for fear of being alone with it, and having it resonate to a place where [they feel like] ‘It’s okay if I talk and about it and it’s safe to feel these things,’” Ferreira said.

The mission of Rabbit Box, along with their fellow collaborators, is to bring together community members who otherwise would not be recognized to create exposure and support for different nonprofit groups.

“Our goal is to create community one story at a time,” Ferreira said. “Reaching out and having the different connections and different places in the community is really our core focus.”

The “Life Well Read” event, organized by Patty Tacuri of the Rabbit box board, opens at 5 p.m. on Wednesday night. Guests are invited in for dinner and drinks before the storytelling begins at 7 p.m. The event also offers an opportunity for show-goers to become involved in the storytelling themselves.

“At intermission, people can sign in for a crackerjack story, or what we call a crackerjack story,” Ferreira said. “Anyone in the audience can submit their name if they’re feeling moved to tell a story and after intermission — we draw a name and that person comes up on stage and just wings it for four minutes and we get to hear their stories. Some of our best stories are crackerjack tellers, really. It’s pretty neat what happens.”

Rabbit Box aspires for the show to be an event accessible to all types of people and demographics. Because of this, the show ends at 9 p.m.

“We want everyone to be able to get home by 9:30,” Ferreira said. “One of the reasons we don’t start at 10:30 is because we want everyone to be there and be involved.”

Ferreira sees the event as a chance to step into someone else’s shoes and gain a new perspective.

“What’s so amazing about stories is that [they] bring people,” Ferreira said. “There are so many of us who don’t understand where someone else is coming from, and through a story, especially if it’s theme-related, you get to know a little bit more about what other people go through and how it impacts other people.”

The stories from this year’s event will be available to the public online via Mixcloud within two weeks of the show. All past stories are also available online to the public as well.

As far as the impact of literacy and books goes, Ferreira sees them as powerful tools in today’s world.

“You know, knowledge is power,” Ferreira said. “The power of a book is huge, and hearing stories about people who didn’t think they would get through a certain time without having a book really help[s] [others get] through. And also being able to escape into the world of books and take you places that you know you might not be able to travel to

Tickets for the event can be purchased on The Foundry’s website or at the door on the day of the show. Due to the nature of the event, only adults will be admitted to the program. More information on the event can be found via the Rabbit Box Facebook page.

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