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Stories a slam dunk

"For five years, teenagers from different faith communities have gotten together and learned how to tell stories from their own faith traditions," said Dudding. "At the end of each year's activities, there's a performance and what I enjoy even more than the stories and food everyone brings to share, is how the kids interact before and after the program. They're just teenagers, grouped together, talking, gesturing and clearly friends."

Dudding said her experience with Children at the Well is an honor and has made a lasting impression.

"I really believe it is the path to world peace. Storytelling has been used in the reconciliation process in norther Ireland and South Africa for years. It's a very powerful tool that can bring people of diverse backgrounds together," said Dudding. "Once you've heard someone's story you can no longer hate them; you may not like them, but you can't hate them as the unknown other."

She said she makes it a point to attend as many storytelling gatherings as possible.

"Since 2000, IU've gone to every National Storytelling Conference there's been. I go to the New England Storytelling Conference every year and take weekend workshops with various storytellers," said Dudding.

To make storytelling a life, Dudding has taken on the role of an organizer, running various programs for adults, families and schools, like a storytelling dinner series at Glen Sander Mansion which is entering its 12th season. She also has a storytelling series at Proctor's in September, going into its 4th season. A full list of her programs is available at www.katedudding.com.

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