In the summer of ’96, thirteen-year-old Max Depaula, an ASTEP Alum, was asked by one of his summer camp counselors what it was like to walk in his shoes. In response, Max took off his shoes and tossed them at the counselor. The counselor tossed the shoes back and said, “You know that’s not what I mean. What’s your story, Max?”
Although Max didn’t respond initially, he went home later that day and free-wrote a six-page narrative about his journey. When he finished, he was surprised to realize that sharing his story felt good and wondered, what will happen next in my story?
Over the span of four weeks this fall, the ASTEP student and volunteer community participated in the A Story per Step Campaign by responding to different prompts and questions, including: What’s it like to walk in my shoes?
We appreciate everyone who participated, and we invite you to watch the final video from Alejandro Rodriquez, an ASTEP Volunteer. It includes a compilation of the voices and stories shared by the ASTEP community.
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Below are several stories from volunteers and students who participated in the A Story Per Step Campaign. They were responding to certain questions and prompts, such as “When is the first time art rocked your life?” or “Tell us a super funny ASTEP story”. More stories and accompanying videos will be posted in the weeks to come!
The first time art rocked my life was, well, always. I do remember a specific moment, when I was about three, that I got a new pair of dress shoes. I remember they were very shiny, but more importantly that they made noise whenever I walked. I wore these new shoes to church one day, and the church had wooden planks on the floor. I’m not sure how I made my way there, but I ended up standing in the center row between the pews during the service, and I just tapped for all I was worth. I was so excited that my shoes made noise that I would not stop, and my aunt had to scoop me up and run out of the church with me under her arm. My mom always tells me that this was the day she realized she’d have to pay for me to take dance lessons so that I would stop ruining new shoes and church floors. — Elisabeth Rainer, ASTEP Volunteer
When art rocked my world it was literally my first day of Art in Action 2006. I remember like if it was yesterday. I was put in a group with four other students and a facilitator (Johnny). Our group had to come up with a group name and a dance (mind you, as a child I loved coming up with my own songs and dances), but the song and dance my group came up with was a silly one: we named our group “tiki bananas” inspired by the “Traketeo” and the bananas sitting on the Traketeo. Our dance was a mixture of air guitar (Manny’s idea) and monkey arms…LOL. At first I thought it was all wrong and that we would be made fun of when we shared it with the camp. Turned out I was wrong. Everyone loved it, and I then realized we made art. — Erica Morillo, ASTEP Art-in-Action student
It was 8 pm, and we had dancing class. Allie and Ashley were teaching us. We started our class with practicing and getting funky. We were going to dance to “Thriller.” Babu, the eldest member of the class, was just too excited to dance. He thought to himself that he could become the next M.J. He had high hopes that he would master this dance. We started learning the dance. Babu was in the first row. Allie and Ashley lifted one leg straight up in the air and told us to do it. Babu forgot that his pants were too tight for him and were made of very thin material. He lifted his leg as high as he could. Suddenly something tore! Everyone looked down to see Babu’s pant torn, and Babu lying flat on the ground groaning in pain! For the rest of that class, Babu had to sit and look at everyone else dancing, and we could see the sadness on Babu’s face. — Vijay Kumar, ASTEP student at Shanti Bhavan, 10th grade