Certificate Training

Certificate Training


We’re all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.–Jimmy Neil Smith


The Certificate in the Art of Community Storytelling

This is a practical, transformative program for persons who seek to deepen their skills in the art of community storytelling. The program is ideal for non-profit staff, business leaders, government officials, teachers, ministers, social justice activists, and anyone invested in strengthening the well-being of organizations and communities. The Certificate in the Art of Community Storytelling offers a mixture of experiential exercises, individual skill-building, practical teaching, online discussion groups, one-on-one coaching, and written and online resources. Individuals who complete the certification course will:

  • Learn how to create transformative events that deepen relationships within a local community or organization
  • Explore a variety of storytelling practices that promote individual growth and community health
  • Learn how to create a variety of public story sharing platforms
  • Gain concrete skills for community storytelling including story recruitment, event promotion, audience building, public participation, and fundraising
  • Develop the use of personal storytelling for speaking, teaching, and facilitation
  • Increase skills for coaching groups and individuals in crafting personal stories
  • Discover methods for creating deeper awareness and trust with marginalized populations
  • Learn how to apply storytelling techniques to promote positive social and environmental action

In partnership with The Ford Institute for Community Building and with support from The Oregon Community Foundation, The Hearth is offering an seven-month certification program to assist community and organizational leaders in learning a variety of skills, techniques, and processes for producing community storytelling programs. The training program begins with a three-day workshop in Fall of 2018 and ends with a closing workshop in the Spring of 2019; both workshops will take place in Ashland, Oregon. Between the fall and spring workshops, participants will gather online for training, troubleshooting, and discussion and receive individual coaching with The Hearth founder, Mark Yaconelli.


What is The Hearth?

The Hearth is a non-profit organization that uses transformational storytelling to help communities and organizations deepen trust, celebrate individual courage, address social problems, and strengthen group identity and purpose. The Hearth  has produced a number of events and projects designed to bring people together to raise awareness, encourage healing, and inspire action around difficult social issues. A sampling of recent projects include:

The Hearth has produced public events in Oregon, North Carolina, Texas, California, and the United Kingdom– raising awareness of hundreds of social and environmental issues. In the process, The Hearth has raised funds and volunteers for countless non-profits within the United States and United Kingdom. In addition to producing events, The Hearth has led numerous workshops and retreats for community leaders, religious workers, and community and environmental activists across the United States and United Kingdom. Through all of our work we’ve helped hundreds of people experience compassion, public acceptance, personal empowerment, and the pure joy of neighborliness by providing safe and transformative spaces for people to share their journey with others.

Qualifications and Application Process

Entrance into the certificate program is by application and interview. All applicants must apply as a team from the same community (minimum of two and maximum of three people). Selected teams will be invited to be interviewed. Teams must be able to pay $600 (for first two members, additional team members are $400 per person). This fee includes all training resources and supplies. Housing, travel, and meals are not included. To be accepted into The Certificate in the Art of Community Storytelling, each applying group must have (combining all skills and experiences within the group) the following qualifications:
*Experience in teaching, social service, or comparable community work.
*Experience in storytelling, public speaking, or community performance.
*Experience in event organizing, production or management.

All applying teams must be able to attend training workshops October, 25-27 2018 and April 2018 (date TBA) in Ashland, Oregon.

To apply, or for inquiries and questions, email mark@thehearthcommunity.com.




11 thoughts on “Certificate Training

  • December 6, 2014 at 7:45 am

    I’ve always been a storyteller. I’ve also always assumed everyone else was too.

  • December 9, 2014 at 6:21 am

    Hi Mark,
    It’s Judy from Playback Theatre here interested in this program. Sounds wonderful and congrats on getting the grant to make it happen.
    I was at the last Hearth gathering and blown away at the following the Hearth has generated, as well as the touching stories of course. Much to be proud of and I know you’ve worked hard for it, too.
    I am writing to express my interest in applying and am hoping to assemble a diverse team that includes a man and a young person. Let me know what’s next and if there are other folks seeking a team that would fit that.
    Thanks. Happy holidays.
    PS. The website I included is a creativity project I brought about with two other women several years ago that was great, deep fun. Although we aren’t offering these camps now, I thought you might want to take a look.

  • December 30, 2014 at 6:34 am

    Gold Valley Fellowship has bought a bar in Gold Hill, Or. And we are converting it into a community center. We own the land and the building but due to zoning restrictions we can’t have a “Church” so we currently converting it. Gold Hill is a unique town that host the annual SPAM parade. I have heard great things about the hearth. And this could be a great fit I think for Gold Hill. Thanks Dave

  • January 6, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    I would like to create a Hearth in my community in Washington State. How do I get training?

  • January 7, 2015 at 12:52 am

    The power of story to individuals and community is vital to us all. So grateful you are doing this and will be emailing you with my desire to do this….Donna May (Etna, Siskiyou Co, CA)

  • January 7, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Hi ~ Donna May and I live in Scott Valley, west of Yreka. I have been on the board of the Scott Valley Theatre Company which oversees productions at the Avery Theatre in Etna. In the past 10 years I have produced over 100 productions including Etna High School plays, PoetryOutLoud, all kinds of music shows, Cowboy Poetry~ the list is long and varied and makes me sweat just to recall it all. I know the power of story telling, having shared it with my Etna High students in English and Drama and really enjoy listening to This American Life, The Moth and the guy in the next booth at the local coffee shop. I would really like to explore your workshops because I would like to bring something like what you do to the Avery. We have a lot of stories in the valley and I’ve been looking for a structure with which to showcase them. Thanks for offering this! Madeleine Ayres: 530 598 9157

  • January 11, 2015 at 12:14 am

    Training in developing a community-storytelling program for your town will be open to the public beginning in March. This is a grant funded program designated for Southern Oregon communities but we do have permission to include other participants for a fee. The fee has not yet been set. To read about the training program go to: http://thehearthcommunity.com/community-training/

  • January 11, 2015 at 12:16 am

    Thanks for the inquiry Dave. Take a look at the training program and see if you can find a couple of folks to join you in applying. Would love to work with Gold Hill. The information is here:http://thehearthcommunity.com/community-training/

  • January 11, 2015 at 12:19 am

    Hey Judy,

    Would love to have you involved. Is there a particularly community (town) that you would apply from? The hope of the grantor is that the training would help establish a “Hearth-like” program in other Southern Oregon communities. If you are not applying from a community, you can still do the training but there will be a fee. I’ll email you directly to set up a time to talk. Thanks Judy. I value your skills and wisdom.–Mark

  • January 21, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Hello, Mark!

    I’m currently finishing up an MA in narrative and social change, and I’m preparing to launch a radically inclusive regional storytelling program in June. Pomona Valley Story Network will draw on the methodologies of oral history interviewing, and seek and create publication avenues for the stories of our unique region. I’mean incredibly excited about the possibility of attending the Hearth Community Storytelling Project, and I’m still seeking a partner who can attend both sessions. I was wondering about the timeline for application– is there a deadline?


  • January 28, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    Hello, this is really exciting and a great opportunity for support in such a necessary endeavor. How can storytelling be so ancient and seem so new? I am an artist and art teacher in Mt Shasta, CA and involved in the local land trust. My husband Neil teaches and is the Theater Director at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed, CA. I’d be interested in joining a team in the northern CA region!

Leave a Reply