Last April, University of Alaska Southeast student Lyle James entered his first public speaking competition, the school's second annual Native Oratory Contest.
He shared the family story of "The Strongman," passed down to him from his father and his grandfather, Kelly James. His storytelling earned second place.
"It was a piece of my history and I got to share it," Lyle said. "I got to tell it the way that I heard it growing up."
Since then, James has enrolled in the university full-time and has tried to share his stories as often as possible. He's one of almost a dozen storytellers scheduled to appear at Arts for Kids Tell-a-thon, on Saturday in the Nugget Mall community room.
There will be free cake decorated in artistic themes and six hours of continuous stories. Other storytellers include Ishmael Hope, Lily Hudson, George Holly, Brett Dillingham, Allen Hayton, Greg Brown, Anne C. Fuller, Margie Hamburger and Becky Bear.
The event is free, but Arts for Kids is asking for donations. The group is trying to raise money to match part of a one-year $175,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. The grant would pay for two art teachers to teach lessons to elementary school teachers and students.
Juan Muñoz has donated an unlimited number of two Rie Muñoz prints for those who donate $100 or more.
Arts for Kids hosted a community arts celebration that drew hundreds of kids Jan. 29 at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School.
For more information, visit www.artsforkidsjuneau.org or e-mail the group at firstname.lastname@example.org. The public can also donate to the group by phone, at 789-4602.
Arts For Kids Tell-A-Thon
What: Six hours of continuous storytelling.
When: 12-6 p.m. Saturday.
Where: nugget mall community room, across the hall from hearthside books.
James is already preparing another story for this April's third annual oratory contest, April 1-2.
"(Storytelling) has helped me speak in public and get over that fear of speaking in front of everybody," James said. "I try speaking out in public as often as I can, and I think it will be a great help for me in the future. I might become a teacher."
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