Volunteer finds new ways to tell stories

Developmentally disabled people experience stories

DENVER -  

Imagine your favorite story coming to life so you can see, smell, and touch what is going on. It happens all the time thanks to 7Everyday Hero Gwen Bonilla
 
Bonilla founded a nonprofit story telling group called Touching Stories.
 
"This is a technique that we call multisensory story telling.  The simple way to describe what we do is we bring stories to life to all five senses for special-needs audiences," said Bonilla. 
 
That means as Bonilla tells a story she uses things that can demonstrate what is going on. It may be a pine tree branch, a feather, a piece of hose, anything that better helps lure her listeners into the story. 
 
"I get this amazing energy that is in that room when I am telling the stories," said Bonilla. 
 
Bonilla has been performing Touching Stories for six years. She came up with the idea to hold the attention of kids in her son's elementary school class. Then she branched out to assist developmentally disabled kids and adults at various agencies, like at Denver’s Laradon day program. 
 
"You saw today that everybody, regardless of their abilities, could participate in the stories she tells," said Annie Green, deputy director of Laradon. 
 
The idea is to not only provide enjoyment, and increase concentration, but offer some assistance in modulating responses to new things. 
 
Bonilla loves telling stories, and she is eager to share her gift. 
 
"Gwen has also done a great thing for us in that she has trained our staff in her absence," said Green. 
 
To learn more about Touching Stories, go to www.touchingstories.org