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Storytelling Services

Word Up: Youth Storytelling Program

Building kid’s confidence, creativity and literacy through storytelling.

Word Up is Centre for Stories’ signature youth oral storytelling program.

We believe that storytelling empowers young people to be the vest versions of themselves. Our workshops are designed to support young people to improve literacy, build confidence, and embrace creativity. We do this by providing young people with the skills and platform to share true stories about who they are and what matters to them.

We work primarily with young people aged 12-18 from under-resourced communities and culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds.

Claudia Mancini Jay Anderson and Sisonke Msimang with Aranmore Catholic College students
Photo: Aranmore Catholic College students at Centre for Stories after sharing their stories to a live audience in 2021. Photo by Logan Griffiths.
Who can participate in the program?

We work with high schools, youth groups, and community programs to deliver Word Up to specific groups of young people. We have worked with young people through Intensive English Centres, leadership programs, creative arts programs, and CARE schools.

Previous schools we’ve provided story training for include Communicare Academy, Aranmore Catholic College, Yule Brook College and Cecil Andrews College.

What does the program look like?

Word Up is designed as ten weekly 50-minute workshops. Less than 25 participants per group is preferable. This is to ensure that every young person has the opportunity to work directly with the facilitator and develop their story.

The ten workshops take participants through Centre for Stories’ storytelling methodology. This is our framework for understanding how to most effectively share oral stories, and the foundational theory that supports and aligns with school curriculum objectives. We have developed a suite of short animations to help illustrate this content, which are used throughout the workshops. We also have a collection of video stories from other young storytellers that are used as references.

Alongside the theoretical content, participants are guided through a series of exercises to transform their real-life experiences into structured and impactful stories. Over the ten weeks, the aim is for each young person to craft one personal experience into a considered and thoughtful oral story that they can share with others.

If desired, we can also collate student’s stories into written forms and publish in a print anthology – something the students can hold onto forever and feel proud of to be acknowledged as published authors. Examples of previous print anthologies we have published with students include We Know Who We Are, Life Is Beautiful & Other Stories, and Seventeen Daydreams.

What kind of stories do our kids share?

Young people are encouraged to share a true, first-person story. That is, something that really happened to them – not their mum or their dad, a sibling or a friend. We aren’t looking necessarily for big and dramatic stories. Instead, we want everyday, relatable stories about something wonderful, surprising or memorable that happened. We work on the principle of telling stories from our scars, not our wounds, and use strength-based prompts to help participants choose a story.

Testimonials from past participants

  • Thanks for being here with us! We enjoyed having a new concept to learning English, and all that you brought with it. We loved how you came with a great mind to teach us and how much we learnt during the process! – Anonymous student, Yule Brook Independent College
  • When I started I was so nervous and shy to stand in front of people and talk but when Centre for Stories people came and taught us how to speak, I got confident so now I can talk in front of anyone. – Anonymous student, Aranmore Catholic College
  • The classroom radiated with so much joy, laughter, and curiosity when you taught. You pushed them just enough whilst taking care of their feelings and encouraging them to explore their creativity. You nurtured them while they developed wings to soar confidently in their writing. I am forever grateful. – Adeline Nair, Year 9/10 English Teacher, Yule Brook Independent College
  • The program demonstrates that the students’ voices are valid and that people want to hear their stories. I enjoyed seeing some of their strengths that I hadn’t been able to get from them during the year. – Annie, Teacher at Aranmore Catholic College

How to work with us


Our facilitators are specially trained to deliver the program. They are knowledgeable in Centre for Stories’ storytelling methodology, as well as trauma-informed principles for working with young people. Our trainers come from a variety of professional backgrounds, and include social workers, counsellors, youth workers, performers, and writers.

Program cost

Program cost is calculated based on the number of participants, the host organisation’s financial capacity, and the level of support required. Please get in touch for a customised quote, and to discuss further the possibility of delivering Word Up in your community.

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A student publication

We Know Who We Are

We Know Who We Are is a collection of writing from students at Yule Brook College, located in the south east metropolitan region of Perth, Western Australia. Our youth writing project provided students a chance to share stories that matter to them. We Know Who We Are brings intergenerational and multi-voiced communities together through storytelling.

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