Category Archives: About EpicCenter Stories

I Remember When the National Mall Was Made



From EpicCentering the National Mall

Contact Dr. Carolivia Herron,

I Remember When the National Mall Was Made (streamed live on  9/23/2016 10:15-11:15 AM)

On Friday, September 23, 2016 students of Shining Stars Montessori Public Charter School (DCPS) present essays and drawings as responses to people and places of the National Mall. In one essay the student imagines herself reminiscing as the Statue of Freedom on the top of the Capital dome, above the National Mall. Additional essays reflect on National Mall events, people and places such as the AIDS quilt, the 1963 March on Washington, the cherry blossoms, the Smithsonian castle, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The event is one of many EpicCentering the National Mall events welcoming the new National Museum of African American History and Culture to the National Mall. 

  • Join us on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
  • Friday September 23, 2016
  • 10:00 AM –  Noon

Why EpicCenter Stories: The Importance of Story

A disintegrated house in Anacostica, Washington, DC
A stone house in Anacostia, Washington, DC. Very recently Anacostia has undergone a revival but for many years was a forgotten neighborhood across the river.

In 1992 I shared portions of my novel, Thereafter Johnnie, in the community of Anacostia where I was born. It is an African American neighborhood in Washington, DC whose people are often perceived as neglected, poor, and outcast, even by its own residents.

My reading mentioned the neighborhood, and afterwards a little girl came up to me and asked to see the word “Anacostia” printed in my book. She said to me, “I didn’t know that Anacostia could be in a book.” She thought that I just made up the connection and that the word wasn’t really there. When I showed her the word her eyes lit up with joy.

As she looked at me with that bright smile I thought to myself, “I could teach her quantum physics right now and she would be happy to learn it. If she realized that her world is a part of everybody’s world she could draw on that connection for the inspiration necessary to learn.”

Her reaction encouraged me to develop EpicCenter Stories, a way of developing community stories to enhance education and entertainment.

 — EpicCenter Stories Director Carolivia Herron

Street to Street

Until Epic Center Stories receives its own 501c3 designation, its parent organization is Street to Street.

Street to Street is a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization incorporated in the District of Columbia whose mission is to provide employment, education, and housing opportunities for those in need. How? Street to Street provides education, housing, and job opportunities to at risk youth to foster a stable community.

Street To Street’s mission is to “generate a cycle of hope, beginning where it counts most: one person, one customer, one street at a time.

Board of Directors

Pierre Dugan, President

Pierre has been involved with community service organizations in the District of Columbia for the past 20 years. As a member of Tifereth Israel Congregation, he has participated in multiple social action programs for the homeless and disadvantaged. Pierre also served on the Board of the Emory Beacon of Light, a non-profit organization providing transitional housing, jobs, and training programs. Pierre is a graduate of Holy Cross College and works in the insurance industry.

 Lafayette (“Ronni”) Davis, Secretary/Treasurer

Ronni is a veteran of the United States Navy, an accountant and auditor. As a member of Tifereth Israel Congregation, Ronni has engaged in many charitable activities and advised multiple nonprofits in the areas of fiscal management. Ronni received an MBA from Southeastern University in Washington DC and has a Bachelor of Science degree from Regents College of New York.

Carolivia Herron, Director of Education

Professor Carolivia Herron lives in Washington, DC where she writes fiction and scholarly works, and is Founder and President of Epic Center Stories. Carolvia has established writing clubs and home school courses in creative writing. She also directs the Potomac Anacostia Ultimate Story Exchange program (PAUSE), which pairs young writers with e-mail mentors from community service organizations. In March 2010, Carolivia received the Exceptional Women in the Arts Award for Operatic Arts from Washington, DC from Council member Muriel Bowser.

Board of Advisors

 John More

John is an attorney, entrepreneur, community activist and member of the Washington Interfaith Network. John has consulted with multiple nonprofits in the DC area and is a graduate of Yale University

Buchanan Dugan, MD

Buck is a  Board Certified surgeon practicing in West Virginia. He is active in his local parish in Loudon County, Virginia and has been a consultant to Street To Street since its inception.

Alisha Jacobsen

Alisha is an attorney practicing family law in Montgomery County. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Alisha taught French.

Geremie Sawadogo

Geremie works at the World Bank as a Senior Human Resources Officer. Originally from West Africa, Geremie has his Ph.D. in International Education and has been a teacher, an associate professor, a Peace Corps Country Director, and an author.

Kassahun Teffera

Kassahun currently works  in Montgomery County. Formerly from Ethiopia, Kassahun spent much of his career overseas as an economist and diplomat.

Audrey Smith

Audrey is a longtime Washingtonian who worked on Capital Hill and operated her own business in Washington DC. Audrey’s interest and generosity in supporting Street To Street has been a bright light for us throughout our formation.

About EpicCenter Stories

EpicCenter Stories was founded in 1986 at Harvard University as the Epicenter for the Study of Epic and Oral Literature. Its goal was to use the epic stories of distinct cultures to increase knowledge and decrease prejudicial boundaries between groups by celebrating the cultural stories and connecting the academic disciplines to diverse living communities. In our inaugural year the Epicenter sponsored academic programs that brought Homeric epic poetry and contemporary hip hop onto the same stage.

The success of the program is its ability to place the learner at the center of their education as a participant, and to inspire enthusiasm about learning that produces high academic achievement. The program has been used successfully with children and adults in:

  • Special education students
  • Pre-K through college classrooms
  • Home-schooling programs
  • GED preparation
  • Community groups and organizations
  • Government agencies
  • Civic groups
  • Adults fulfilling basic education requirements and skills certification
  • Mental health treatment facilities

EpicCenter Stories has been equally successful in the lowest performing classrooms and with well-educated and economically advantaged adults.

Learning Modules

Carolivia Herron after a performance of Let Freedom Sing and her opera about Marian Anderson, part of a module on African American history in America.
Carolivia after a performance of Let Freedom Sing and her opera about Marian Anderson, part of a module on African American history in America.

EpicCenter Stories designs and publishes subject-focused learning modules to engage students in the sharing of stories, integrating their stories into an epic about their group, and connecting their epic to core curriculum subjects. Each module includes multi-media instructional materials, resources, and teaching aids from which teachers and Epic Storytellers can design a curriculum tailored to the ages and goals of their students or clients. The modules are designed so they can be used for one day workshops or programs lasting two, four, or twelve weeks.

Transferring the EpicCenter Stories Program Nationally and Internationally

Epic Center Stories extends its reach by training storytellers and publishing its learning modules. Modules developed around topics of general interest will be available to school districts, governments, and other groups nationally and internationally. The  modules  are professionally packages and will include the curriculum and supporting multi-media materials.

Epic Publishing

Since 2010 EpicCenter Stories has published the works of several novelists, story tellers, and science professionals under the imprint, Street to Street Epic Publications. About half of these works are by and about communities of African Jews in African and Israel. For more information about these publications please see Epic Publishing.

About Director  Carolivia Herron

Carolivia Herron is an author and educator, and founder and director of Epic Center Stories. Carolivia writes fiction, nonfiction, song lyrics, opera librettos, and books for children. She also directs PAUSE children’s writing clubs, and teaches and advises students for Learning Community International. She has held professorial appointments at Harvard University, Mt. Holyoke College, Chico State University, the College of William and Mary, and Arizona State University.

Click here for more information about Director Herron.