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Storytelling Project returns to Bibb with 'Treasure Maps: Macon'

The project chronicles the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

MACON, Ga. — The newest installment of The Storytelling Project, a partnership between the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD), L'Arche Atlanta, and StoryMuse, will return to Macon this fall.

A statement released by Treasure Maps: Macon said that 10 new storytellers were coached from the Macon area to be involved in the project. 

They are featured in a collection of short films that showcase independent living, love, health, family, community volunteerism, and even a newfound career in stand-up comedy. Xerophile Studios of Atlanta will produce the films.

Shannon Turner, the lead artist on Treasure Maps: Macon and Founder and Creative Director of StoryMuse, said that the "primary objective of this project is to provide a virtual stage for the important stories of people with developmental disabilities, inviting their stories in from the margins to the center of our communities."

The film screening and community celebration will be on Saturday, September 17, at the Elaine Lucas Center.

Gates will open at 6:30 p.m., the pre-show begins at 7:00 p.m., and the film starts at 8:00 p.m.

The screening is usually held outside, but if there is inclement weather, the screening will move inside.

The screening is an opportunity for the community to learn about people with developmental disabilities and the resources that help them.

"An equally important component is to provide education and advocacy to the general population and legislators around the Medicaid waiver, a vital funding structure which supports the lives of people with developmental disabilities so they can live independently," Turner said.

The storytelling project is four years in the making and was initially created as a partnership between the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities and L'Arche Atlanta.

According to a press release, the project's purpose is to increase public awareness and motivate Georgia legislators to act for the underserved community of those with developmental disabilities.

The release also said that "by providing living portraits of individuals, some of whom have, some have not received a life-altering benefit, the project is endeavoring to expand cross-sector allies and garner voices of support outside of the developmental disabilities community."

The project has been recognized by many, and a previous version of 'Treasure Maps: The Georgia Storytelling Roadshow' traveled the state last year. 

There are currently almost 7,000 Georgia residents on the Medicaid waiver waiting list.

While they wait for their applications to go through, they can live in poverty and isolation and have emotional and physical stress. In contrast, people with developmental disabilities with a Medicaid waiver usually have jobs, their own housing, and community foundations. 

This project highlights just how vital these assets are and aims to "paint a fuller picture of the complex, beautiful lives of these Georgia citizens," the release states.

If you would like to attend the event, you can register here. Or, if you have questions, you can visit their Facebook page for the event.

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