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NSN Storyteller Profile ... Merna Ann Hecht

17904 Westside Hwy SW
Vashon, WA 90870

(206) 463-5653

(206) 639-3027


Email Me





Merna Ann Hecht, is a 2008 recipient of a NSN Brimstone Award for Applied Storytelling, through which she worked at BRIDGES: A Center for Grieving Children in Tacoma, WA. Based on that experience and her many years of diverse work as a storyteller and poet with young people who have experienced life-altering trauma and loss the focus of her work and her writing is on creating safe Sspace for giving voice to trauma,loss, hope and resilience. She founded and co-driects the Stories of Arrival: Refugee and Immigrant Youth Voices Poetry Project at Foster High School in Tukwila, WA, one of the most ethnically diverse high schools in the U.S. This project, now in its 7th year, is sponsored in part by the Institute for Poetic Medicine in Palo Alto, CA. Merna also teaches Creative Writing, Humanities and Social Justice courses for the University of WA, Tacoma. Her essays “How Long Peace Takes: Writing about World Issues using the Poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye;” “Stories of Arrival: A Poetry Project with Immigrant and Refugee High School Students;” and “Inside a Person's Heart: Finding Solace from Stories and Poems” appear in recent issues of Teachers & Writers Magazine. Merna offers workshops on bringing words to sorrow through poetry and on poems & stories of witness to the struggles and suffering of others. Her writing and speaking are noted for addressing the need to create communities wherein everyone's stories and voices are embraced and accepted with regard & understanding.

I am a passionate teacher who uses poetry and story to address issues related to situations in which others, especially children and teens do not have their basic human rights in place. As a poet, storyteller, teacher and writer, I do not shy away from human rights abuses or injustices. Yet, I am devoted to finding what is beautiful and whole in a world that is broken with too much suffering. I trust the ways in which stories and poetry are conduits for all people of all ages and backgrounds in finding their voices and telling their stories.

Types of stories I tell:

Stories of Hope, Reconciliation and Light; Peace-making Stories; Elegant Ghost Stories that are ultimately redemptive; Stories that support listeners in internalizing hope and courage and a will to nurture and protect the planet and each other; Stories derived from the Sephardic, Yiddish, Gypsy and other Eastern European Traditions; Multicultural Folktales.

I tell stories for:

All Ages

I provide workshops:


I am willing to travel:


My travel requirements:

cost of travel and lodging and honorarium for performances and workshops as agreed per contact

School Districts I am cleared to work in:

Seattle, WA School District Tacoma, WA School District Tukwila, WA School Distrivt Many rural schools in Idaho and also Ada County School District in Boise, ID Detroit MI School District

I am willing to mentor:


Organizations I belong to:

Healing Story Alliance Middle East Children's Alliance National Council of Teachers of English Human Rights Watch Southern Poverty Law Center Amercian Civil Liberties Union