by Jarod Deegan

The International Institute of New England’s traveling live performance series is coming to Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) and its main topic, immigration, is coming with it. Suitcase Stories will be coming to 4Cs twice this month to bring the topic of immigration center stage through the art of storytelling.

Suitcase Stories is a program that’s run by the International Institute of New England (IINE) that travels around New England to connect with immigrants and teach them how they can tell their own story.

Cindy Pavlos, an Administrative assistant at 4Cs, was the person that discovered the program when she went to a session in Wellfleet and talked with the trainer about coming to 4Cs to host a couple events.

“We have a very diverse student population,” said Pavlos. “We want people to come learn the art of storytelling and tell their own stories”.

There are two workshops happening this month. The first will be on March 11 and the second is on March 25, both running from 2-5PM in Wilkens North, room 118. The workshops are open to anyone in the 4C’s community that wants to attend and entry is free. There is a maximum of 30 people that can sign up for the sessions and it is mandatory to those that do that both sessions are attended.

Telling a good story, or being able to, has become a lost art. In the old days before writing, the only way to pass a story or information along was by word of mouth. Now, information can be spread instantaneously with a push of a button. A lot is sacrificed in the impact of a story though when simply reading it off of your device.

“There a progression to how a story is being told,” said Pavlos. “There’s a building of events and a sense of intimacy that can grab your attention.”

Funding for these workshops came through fundraising that Pavlos did herself. She received donations from clubs and departments within the 4Cs community such as the Honors Program, Office of Student Activities, the Wilkens Library and more.

These workshops are an extension of the One College One Book program which is currently focusing on the novel Enrique’s Journey which shares the workshop’s theme of immigration. A national bestselling novel, Enrique’s Journey is based on a news series that ran in the Los Angeles Times and was then revised into a book by Sonia Nazario. This book focuses on the journey of a Honduran boy whose mission was to find his mother, years after she moved to the United States in search for better work.

The English department has been making the book apart of their curriculum this semester to advocate the One College One Book program to their students and to give them a different perspective on immigration in the United States. Some Professors took their students to a reading of the book in the cafeteria so they could have the experience of hearing a story live.

“I took one of my classes to an open reading,” said Patricia Allen, a professor at 4Cs. “In that class I have a few students that are immigrants and they really appreciated the reading because they related to the story and it was a chance for their classmates to understand their perspectives.”

These workshops are specifically designed to help people tell their story. If you wish to sign you contact Cindy Pavlos at cpavlos@capecod.edu. Share your story today!