Girls in Stem

StoryPress attends the GirlStart “Girls in STEM” Conference

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On April 12th, the Founder and CEO of StoryPress, Michael Davis, and his wife, Erika Davis, attended the Girls in STEM conference hosted by GirlStart. GirlStart is a non-profit organization in Austin, Texas dedicated to increasing girls’ engagement and interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) through innovative, nationally-recognized informal STEM education programs. At this conference, there were close to 500 elementary and middle school girls who participated in hands-on workshops led by women in STEM careers.

      girlstart1    girlstart2

Mike and Erika were invited to take a VIP tour of the facility during the conference. Erika is an aerospace engineer and took a very keen interest in the mission of GirlStart and helping young women discover science and technology. During the conference, girls were doing DNA tests, designing perfumes, and making casts for broken arms. StoryPress supports the progression and advancement of girls and women in all fields, especially where they are underrepresented. We are very happy to have partnered with this amazing organization; we can’t wait until they start using StoryPress to collect and preserve their amazing success stories, and the incredible experiences they are providing for these girls.

NGO Community Outreach: Creative Action & GirlStart

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This week, we met with two possible early adoption partners for StoryPress 2.0: Creative Action and GirlStart. Both organizations were eager to jump on board with us, and we are equally excited to start working with them and collecting their stories.

creative action

The mission of Creative Action is to inspire kids through the arts and to support their academic, social, and emotional development. They accomplish this with a professional team of Teaching Artists through interactive classroom performances, after school arts residencies and community-based programs.

girlstart

GirlStart exists to introduce, increase interest, and encourage more girls to get involved inSTEM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). They achieve this by implementing STEM-based education and mentorship programs to girls from K-16, as well as low-income or at-risk girls.

Both organizations have many moving stories they yearn to share with friends, family, and the world, and StoryPress is excited to help them achieve that. As we inch closer to version 2.0’s soft launch date, our main goal is to have a handful of great organizations with inspiring stories so that when the platform is up and running, users will already have a plethora of libraries to explore. We are confident that these partnerships will blossom to produce many inspiring, unique stories that will be saved and shared, and which will touch the lives of others for years to come.

 

Getting Creative: Stories as Gifts

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Sometimes the most valuable gifts we receive are genuine expressions of affection, appreciation, or good will from the people who care about us. With StoryPress, you can create a story to share these meaningful thoughts with someone for a variety of occasions and in a variety of ways. The possibilities only stop where our collective creativity does; here are a couple of ideas to get those gears turning:

1. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day

Tell a story including your mother or father (using story guides such as Family Vacation, Family Reunion, or Growing Up), and share this story with them so that they can re-live those moments through your unique perspective. Add pictures and videos of the two of you together, of places that you have visited as a family, or  a favorite song, for an extra layer of meaningfulness.

Lifetime Connection: My Dad helped me moved to Austin in the summer of 2013, and we made a three day drive of it from North Carolina to Texas. For Father’s Day, I am going to fill out a story about our epic commute using the “Road Trip” or “Moving to a New Home” guide, adding pictures we took along the way and incorporating our inside jokes and lifetime talks. I plan to share it on Facebook and tag him, so that all of my and his friends can share in that great father-daughter memory with us.

2. Graduation

Know someone who is graduating? Whether it is a sibling or child graduating from high school, a close friend finishing up college, or a family member completing basic training, fill out a story that will inspire and encourage them as they move on to their next step. It can be the Siblings story guide, the guide about Growing Up, a travel story, a vacation story, or any other guide you want to use. Add pictures of this person in the years leading up to their graduation, chronicling their journey and reminding them how far they have come.

Lifetime Connection: My younger sister is graduating from high school this year (when did those eighteen years go by?), and I am looking forward to making a library of stories for her that centers around the College Advice guide and includes others such as Friendship, Siblings, Family Vacations, and Internships so that there are both personal memories and forward-thinking advice for her as she moves on to a new chapter. I’ll share the library with her via email or Facebook so she can listen, and hopefully be pleasantly surprised, to all the love wrapped up in my stories about the two of us and all of the life ahead of her.

 3.      Wedding

Right before the big day, surprise your spouse-to-be with a library of stories about the two of you using story guides such as First Date, Engagement, and any other relevant guides such as Moving to a New Home, Friendship, Gratitude, or Significant Moments. Share the library full of these stories with your loved one before the ceremony, and afterward you can add to it by completing the Wedding Ceremony and Honeymoon story guides together.

Lifetime Connection: An additional, alternate use case in a wedding context comes into play when you have a friend or family member about to be married. For my friends from college who have a wedding coming up, I am looking forward to using StoryPress’s “blank” story guide (a free-form template with no pre-set questions) to reminisce about my memories of their journey together and to send them all of my affection and best wishes. This strikes me as really similar to the Maid of Honor or Best Man’s toast, except… anyone can do it, save it, and share with the happy couple so that they always have it.

There are endless other life moments where you could use stories as gifts. Send a story to someone you care for on a day that is special to them, and you can be sure that hearing those good memories and well wishes in your voice will make them smile.

Letter from StoryPress CEO: On the Cusp

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Mike Davis, CEO & Founder of StoryPress

Mike Davis, CEO & Founder of StoryPress

Today is Thursday March 13, 2014 and we now count down the days to “beta” (4 days to be exact).  This is a major milestone and accomplishment for the team who have been working hard for months and even years for some of us.  A tremendous amount of thought, listening to customers, design, and development has gone into this and I can not wait to show it to everyone.

Now I can not promise the beta will be smooth…by definition its intent is to get feedback that allows us to modify and improve prior to launch.  If you’re not happy with something or have an idea to make the app better, use this as an opportunity to let us know.  We’re a company of 5 so I can guarantee you all feedback and suggestions will reach me and your voice will be heard.

Most of you probably think of StoryPress as an iPad app, but one of the big changes you’ll see in 2.0 is our web presence.  In fact the entire beta experience will be on the web.  This will allow us to reach a bigger market quicker for feedback and react to changes quickly.  For those of you that don’t know, making updates in iOS can be a multi-week process since they review every app and every update personally, and there can be a week long queue.

It’s time to start showing the world StoryPress 2.0 and I welcome all your feedback, the good, bad and ugly.

 

Mike Davis

Storytelling – An Ancient Art Form

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Photo credit: MyModernMet.com

Photo credit: MyModernMet.com

We use stories every day to relay information, share funny moments, and express ourselves. These stories are integral yet often taken for granted, and it can be easy to forget that oral storytelling was the foundational form of communication before writing came along. As the StoryPress team has been testing out our new 2.0 version, we have been reminded anew of this meaningful and enjoyable component of storytelling. This excerpt from the UK’s Society for Storytelling emphasizes the oral tradition of storytelling, which StoryPress seeks to carry on:

“Oral storytelling is one of the most ancient art-forms and has a long and honourable history. Stories have been passed on by word of mouth, since long before reading and writing became commonplace. In the past these stories served as a means of communicating news, teaching moral principles and tribal law, and explaining the origins of Life, the Universe, and all that therein lies.

When we speak of storytelling we are encompassing a vast heritage of lore, myths, epic tales, folk tales, travelers’ tales; tales of the creation of the world, tales of its destruction; sagas of Gods and men; all the great traditional legends from around the world. These stories are not learned by rote or read from books but retold by the tellers, making each interpretation unique. Storytelling is more than just performance or entertainment; it can also educate, heal, lead to better practice in business, inspire and change lives.”

Teaching and explaining; entertaining and educating; healing and changing. Spoken stories are an art form and have power when shared. Look for the launch of StoryPress 2.0 in April, and share your own stories with the world.

Community Outreach: Austin Habitat for Humanity

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habforhumaustin

As we press on into March, we are getting more and more involved in our community outreach initiative. We have heard back from many organizations locally here in Austin, TX, that want to collaborate with us and share their stories to their families, friends, and the world using StoryPress.

Today we have a meeting with Habitat for Humanity, which is an organization whose entire mission and vision are anchored around their dedication to ending the cycle of poverty housing and the deeply help belief that everyone deserves a decent, affordable place to live. We think this is a great place to collect stories because the volunteers that helped build those houses will have extraordinary experiences about the projects that they could share with us, and the staff at Habitat for Humanity will have amazing backgrounds working with the less fortunate in helping construct them a place to live.

In the near future, we will also be meeting with Rainforest Partnership, Out Youth, the Bob Bullock Museum, the Lyndon B Johnson Presidential Museum, and many more! We are going to have many awe inspiring stories for you to read when we officially soft launch our app at the end of April!

StoryPress Highlight: Daughters of the Republic of Texas

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Karen Thompson, a past President General of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, sat down with StoryPress to discuss her involvement with the DRT. She told us about the mission of the organization, the history of Texas, and key figures she met and interacted with during her time as a leader with the DRT. 

DRT PhotoStoryPress is in full swing kicking off a new community outreach initiative to collect meaningful, interesting, and diverse stories from members of groups like the DRT. We will collect stories of leaders and other movers and shakers within these organizations, as well as the people who utilize the group’s services and information, an approach which will produce a holistic collection of stories for each group.

 

If you are interested in being a part of StoryPress’s community outreach initiative and having us come collect stories from you or your members, email product manager Jamie Gray at jamie@storypress.com and we can discuss how StoryPress can help you save your valuable stories. Every story is important!

 

Community Outreach: Meals on Wheels and More

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meals-on-wheels-and-more

In our last blog post, we talked about starting a community outreach initiative by collecting local stories to share upon the launch of StoryPress 2.0. Well, yesterday (Feb 26) we had our first meeting with the director of communications at Meals on Wheels and More, Thad Rosenfeld. The meeting went wonderfully, and Meals on Wheels is very excited about the possibility of working together with us to collect many inspiring stories from their amazing clientele. Their clientele ranges from war veterans, to “cowboy poets”, and so on; the possibilities stretch on, and there are definitely some facilitating stories to be heard from that!

At the end of our meeting, we were given a tour of their whole facility and taught the ins and outs of how Meals on Wheels and More functions. It was definitely a great opportunity and experience for us, and gave us a chance to understand in-depth the who, what, when, where, and how of this organization. Meals on Wheels and More has made great strides in providing the best possible care for their clients, and it was an honor to speak with them about the possibility of collaborating to help preserve their communities extraordinary stories. We are meeting with them again in a couple of weeks, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds in store!

Stories & Community Building

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Storytelling has played a huge role in community identity and understanding, and one of our latest initiatives here at StoryPress is to facilitate that in our local scene.  We are based out of Austin, Texas, and have a wide range of communities which we believe have stories worth preserving and sharing; these include nonprofits, cultural and historic organizations, living facilities, schools, festivals, and more.  Our hope is to reach out to into these arenas and facilitate story collection within their member bases.

ATX Street Art

The Austin street artists are one local group of individuals whose stories would be fascinating and enriching to gather.

The social nature of stories has the power to connect the people within these communities and to strengthen those communities overall, and we believe that StoryPress will be a powerful facilitator of this connection. The process for community outreach will entail initial meetings with organizations to discuss the potential for story collection, how and when to conduct collection interviews, and setting times to sit and talk with their members. We are excited to have many of these meaningful stories uploaded and ready to peruse upon the launch of StoryPress 2.0 in April, with many more filing in every week.

 This community building and collection initiative is something that can be done at all organizational levels and in any thematic arena – everyone’s stories are interesting and have value, and reaching out into the community to push for story preservation emphasizes that. If you were to seek out places where StoryPress can be used in your own location, which would these places be? What groups and communities would you help preserve stories for? Let us know (we are always inspired by your ideas!), and then brainstorm on how you can make this collection initiative a reality!