Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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September 27, 2012

Taking literacy to the streets

Storyteller pitches idea, gets hit at business competition

(Continued)

Successfully pitching her idea to an audience of 100 business people was not a bit intimidating for Heavey, who calls herself “pretty competitive.” The audience voted on their favorite pitch from their seats and votes were tallied on a big screen at the event, held at Chester’s at the Bell Tower in Lawrence.

Heavey will use her winnings to run a summer camp in Lawrence for students who want to be storytellers. She expects a dozen kids to take part.

“It’s an art form,” she said of storytelling, and it’s a passion she has pursued through performance for the past 10 years.

Heavey, who has a business and marketing background and lived in Belgium and London before attending college in the United States, is hoping to get grants so her “Stories in the Streets” program can grow. Lawrence is her pilot site. She has also performed in Lynn.

The Greater Lawrence Community Action Council is hoping to give her more grant money from the federal grant program, Race to the Top, which is promoting literacy development across the country.

“I’ve been so well-received in Lawrence and I want to keep Stories in the Streets going,” Heavey said. “The program meets a critical literacy need in Lawrence, where about 60 percent of third-graders are reading below grade level.”

Competing for $10,000 in the Sandbox final pitch contest next month is Heavey’s next step. That money would certainly help her literacy program grow. Contestants have just one minute each to pitch their new businesses.

“I had two and a half minutes before, so I’m just editing,” she said. “I’ll do it.”

Check out mvsandbox.org to learn more about the effort.

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