Here at City Year we have Founding Stories that embody our idealistic culture. These stories represent the shared civic values that guide City Year, set the organization on course, and remind us of the most fundamental motivations for our work. Every once in a while I go into my Idealist Handbook, which is our guide to the ideas, values, programs and techniques of City Year, and read a story. Now, I have read all of the Founding Stories, but today one story in particular caught my eye and reminded me of something that happened last week.
This story is called Stone Soup. Stone Soup is an old folk story in which a hungry traveler arrives in a village exhausted after his long journey. He is in need of food so he begins knocking on the doors of the villager’s homes, but no one could provide him any food. Undeterred, the traveler goes to the village square and fills a pot with water. He places a stone in the pot and begins to boil the water. Curious, a villager passing by, asked the man what he was doing. He replied, “I am making stone soup. Would you like to join?” The villager said yes and brought carrots to add to the soup. Pretty soon more villagers joined them, each bringing their own favorite ingredient. In the end, the whole village enjoys the delicious feast that began because of one man and a stone.
The Stone Soup folktale celebrates, and provides a powerful technique for, engaging and organizing resources for the common good. Now you may be wondering why I am talking about this Founding Story, so let me explain. Last Thursday at our school, Bakersvillle Elementary, we held a “Back to School Social.” All of the teachers and staff were invited to enjoy a morning of mingling with their co-workers and the new City Year team. It was a great success! Many people attended and brought snacks to share with the group (hence the story Stone Soup). I really enjoyed seeing the teachers and staff from all of the grades, who work so closely with many of our students, taking their time in the morning to get to know the members of our team. Hearing the chatter and seeing all of the smiling faces was a great way to start off the day! It felt like we were “one” team, invested in helping these students be successful. I look forward to having more socials in the future and building stronger relationships at the school.
If you would like to read the complete Founding Story of Stone Soup or would like to read other stories please click on the link below.
Thank you for reading!