Photo Courtesy of ISE

By: Lydia Simmons / Staff Writer

In a world where people are feeling more distant than ever, especially in the age of Covid-19, there is a growing need to connect with others in our communities and beyond. Each person has their own individual stories, a series of key moments that have shaped them into the people they are today.

It’s impossible to know the story of an entire book by only reading the title, just as it is impossible to know the story of a person’s life with just a passing glance on the street. A unique way that a group of people are making connections in a time where it is needed the most is through the launch of a podcast called ‘Stories Untold’.

For Will Johnson, the director of Intercultural Student Engagement at USM, the idea was born from a long standing passion for writing and storytelling mixed with a need for remedying the divides between people and the lack of communication felt between different groups. 

‘Stories Untold’ is a collective of stories from multiple individuals highlighting the important moments and memories in their lives that contributed in crafting the people they are today. Each person’s story arc is encompassed in three episodes which will be released jointly with one another.

When talking about the initiative Johnson stated, “It’s recognizing that human beings, one of the main ways that we connect with each other is through narratives, whether it’s through sharing stories, or watching movies, or music, or art, or theater, we are surrounded by narratives.” The goal of the podcast is to dive deep into the lives and experiences of real people and the major events in their lives that have influenced them as a person, as well as a sharing of the lessons that they have learned along the way.

For Evan Manois, a graduate assistant for community engagement, he sees the podcast as a way to connect during these times. He said, “During covid it has seemed like a pretty lonely time, not being able to be around other people, so to hear about the struggles and the lessons that other students have learned is a great opportunity for others to connect and think, wow I’m not alone.’’ Whether in listening to the podcast a person finds solitude through shared experiences or they gain a new perspective, ‘Stories Untold’ is a catalyst for connection.

Set to release at the beginning of February, ‘Stories Untold’ will share weekly episodes and will be available to anyone interested in listening. As an intimate inquiry into the lives of its storytellers this podcast will allow listeners a looking glass through which they can view the narratives of people they may not have otherwise known. This project will allow for people to find a connection with others in a time when it is greatly needed, helping to instill a sense of community and togetherness even though we find ourselves distanced at the moment. The power of the narrative in bringing people together is a mighty one, and is just what we need to help stay connected. 

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