Written by: Sarah Frankfurth

The biggest innovation in history? The plot twist. Storytelling has always been a way to connect with others and inspire change, but when our stories take an unexpected turn we are given an opportunity to learn and grow. In early 2014, CCI staff engaged in an online course though Acumen to build storytelling skills. We’d like to share stories of our teaching moments to help our partners and grantees learn more about the people behind the programs and how we think. Our hope is that this will encourage you to share your stories and teaching moments with the field to strengthen our network and inspire change in the safety net.

Meet Sarah Frankfurth, Director of Operations at CCI…

Like lots of four year olds, I loved books. I couldn’t get enough of them, but I didn’t know how to read yet. And, like lots of four year olds, I wanted to do everything myself. So one morning I went to my bookshelf and got down the big, heavy book of The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales (no pictures) that my grandmother had given me for Christmas. I brought it downstairs to the kitchen table, opened it up, pointed to the first word and asked my mom, “What’s that word?” She told me. I pointed to the next word, “What’s that word?” She told me. “What’s that word?…”

This went on for a minute before my mom stopped and pointed out a few words that I could easily recognize – “a,” “I”, “it” – and asked me to find all of them on the page. As I began to pick these tiny words out, a light bulb went on, and what had previously looked meaningless suddenly started to make sense. I was excited and eager to learn more and decipher this mysterious code. The feeling of, “Aha! Now I get it!” was so strong that I remember this moment vividly. Of course I didn’t learn to read The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales that day, but my mom had shown me the first steps to take on a journey that pretty quickly led me to become the bookworm that I am today.

I’ve often been reminded of this story during my 13 years at CCI, as we’ve journeyed down the path with our partners and grantees to transform healthcare. It’s a huge challenge that can feel daunting and impenetrable; like the book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales was when I brought it downstairs. But if we reach out to those who can help us along the way, pointing out the small steps we can take, the momentum will build and eventually we’ll reach our goal. It’s this connection to others and the constant learning and exploring that has kept me at CCI for so many years. I’m inspired by the amazing work of our grantees and proud to support their success in any way I can. Changing healthcare may be a long journey, but one that’s full of excitement and lots of “Aha, now I get it!” moments. And one day we’ll look back on ourselves at this point and marvel at how far we’ve come.



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