Mark is the founding director of The Hearth: Building Community One Story at a Time a nonprofit that trusts in the power of personal stories to heal, connect, enrich, and mobilize communities for good. The Hearth has developed a variety of tested, transformative, accessible storytelling methods inviting people to write down, audio record, sing, photograph, upload, gather in circles, or stand in front of a microphone to share what they have lived. Through providing safe and welcoming spaces The Hearth is committed to transforming residents into neighbors, enemies into friends, and towns into communities. Through the work of The Hearth, Mark has worked with traumatized communities to encourage healing, small towns to foster connection, marginalized populations to increase awareness and respect, and trained hundreds of community leaders, nonprofits, pastors, teachers, and professional groups in the art of community storytelling.
A sampling of recent projects include:
- Working with The Mexican American Center in Austin, Texas to give voice to the suffering of undocumented people.
- Creating a platform for people in North Wales to hear the stories of refugees after the Brexit vote.
- Recording and presenting stories of kindness and generosity to promote healing after a shooting at Umpqua Community College.
- Partnering with the State of Oregon to help small towns address racial differences.
- Collaborating with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to explore themes of separation and inclusion.