Volunteering at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is something that I look forward to every year. I love being part of a team of over 100 volunteers who help pull this thing off.

This year the Montana Film Office ad near front of the program made me smile. “Stories…unlimited”.

The idea of unlimited stories is why I’ve been volunteering at Tell Us Something for 5 years now–for the past year, volunteering full time.

Recently I asked myself the question why I do it. I thought for a long time about the question. The answer, I realized, is that when I shared my story on the then MissoulaMoth stage, it was the first time that I felt heard.

My friends? Of course they listen to me, to my stories. Being up on stage having strangers listen to me share of myself was different. I felt valued. I felt empowered. I felt confident.

When the opportunity came for me to facilitate that feeling for others I felt that something bigger than me was at work. Only recently have I begin thinking about the work that I do at Tell Us Something as a vocation. And it really is.

Tell Us Something is all about the storytellers and their stories. My job is sometimes to help them figure out what that story is. Sometimes my job is to help them figure out how to tell their story. My job is always to help them get their story heard. At the events, on the podcast, on YouTube and soon on Montana Public Radio (I’ll talk more about that soon).

Everyone has a story. Everyone’s story matters.