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'Story slam' event has a donation twist

Words by Tess Becker

Something Smiley News likes to do is tell stories with a purpose, highlighting organizations and individuals trying to do good in the world or their communities.

PWPVideo is very similar in that they try to tell stories that have a purpose.  

“At PWPvideo we tell stories for a living,” they write. “We’re ‘Video with a Mission’ and we specialize in telling the stories of people on a mission to make the world a better place. It is part of our DNA to give back to the community in which we live and work.”

It's a for-profit corporation, working as a certified B Corp, but its main focus is on organizations doing good, non-profit or otherwise.

“Our primary focus has, for many years, been nonprofits but as we entered the B Corp world, we also started to focus on other sustainable organizations,” PWP Founder, Michael Schweisheimer tells Smiley News. “And we create all video-based communication pieces for organizations like that, but depending on what they need they tend to range from educational videos to PSAs.”

PWPVideo also works to give back to the community helping tell their stories. One of the biggest ways they do that is with their event, Mission Story Slam.

Mission Story Slam – what is it?

Mission Story Slam is an event they host an event where they invite people to come and tell their stories. Storytellers compete by telling a 5-minute true story on a theme. A panel of 3 judges selects the best story to win a $250 donation to their favorite nonprofit. The audience also votes for the crowd favorite story to win a $100 donation.

Storytelling events became very popular in the area around PWPVideo in Philadelphia through organizations like First Person Arts and they wanted to use the popularity and bring people together.

“So we just combined the two things and we go out to a bar that has really good beer and tell stories with friends,” PWPVideo producer and Mission Story Slam co-founder, Dave Winston, tells Smiley News.

“As human beings, we have done that around the campfire since we crawled down out of the trees, so that was kind of like combining the commerce of what we do with the desire to really build community among people we share values with.”

They hold the event twice a year and they view it as a bonding event for community members and people that are part of a non-profit to come together. They also record the stories that people tell and post them online for them to share hopefully bringing some spotlight to the causes they’re trying to cover. 

“Sometimes we need to take a break and, and share in our successes or maybe even talk a little bit about our challenges and failures sometimes and it's really energizing,” Michael says. “It's a very energizing night.”

They’ve since expanded their offerings to something like a Mission Story Salon, inspired by Jeffersonian Dinners where people get together and discuss a specific guest of honor or topic. 

They also have a podcast where they try to cover people who have been through the Story Slam.

“That was something where we were looking for more shareable content,” Dave says. “To give everybody who comes out an opportunity to tell their story, taking a five-minute story you're telling and here's a half an hour to go deeper into it.”

Michael is happy to be where he’s at today.

“At PWP we're very lucky that well, we also create our own luck, we do good work, I'm very proud of the work that we do and the team that we've put together in our 20 years,” he says.

Check out First Person Arts and Mission Story Slam more if you’re interested and maybe look to start a storytelling night in your community.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partners of the Goals.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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