They Affirmed That My Voice Was Worthy

Posted by Ashley on November 18, 2019

As an eight year old immigrant navigating a new country, one of my favorite memories is when I would brave the frigid cold weather and take the bus to the Barrel of Monkey’s program at Loyola Park. With numb fingers I would walk into a warm room full of people excited to create stories together. The teachers in that program affirmed that my voice was worthy and that I could take risks.

Seeing my story performed at Celebration of Authors with my family in the audience helped us feel like we belonged to Chicago a little more and ultimately gave me the confidence to pursue my dream career as an adult. At 20 years old I started work as a stand-up comedian and I was thrilled to stumble on an audition call for Barrel of Monkeys, the company that meant so much to me as a young student. Today, as a full company member, I still get emotional standing behind the curtains and seeing kids experience their stories being brought to life. I know firsthand the magic and powerful transformation that brings.

Stuti COA


Stuti Sharma, Former Student and Current Company Member

We are proud to have a lasting impact on the students we teach in classrooms throughout Chicago. Many of our partner schools have worked with us for over 10 years, so we are able to build on the unique relationships our teachers form with students as we return to schools year after year. 

Your dollars sustain these long-term partnerships, allowing us to nurture student/teacher relationships and, like in Stuti’s story, start a life-changing journey. Please donate today to open new doors of possibility for our students throughout Chicago. 

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