Bringing the folktale to life
Once upon a time…
There was a great war that went on for many years, everyone suffered. Many crops were destroyed, and people began to hoard what food they had left. At last, the war was over and the soldiers were sent home. One soldier walked for three days over mountains and through valleys. He was tired and very hungry. He stopped in a village and knocked on the door of every house, but was turned away time after time. The villagers had needs of their own. They had nothing to share. Still the soldier persisted. He began a fire in the middle of the village square. He took his ration pot, filled it with clean, cold water, and placed a perfectly round, smooth stone into it. He began to stir and added imaginary seasonings, tasting it from time to time. Curiosity overcame the villagers as they peeked through their curtains and watched the strange even. Finally a woman came out of her home with the skin of an onion and offered it to the pot. “Soup is better with onion,” she said. She was promptly followed by others who offered the tip of a carrot, bone marrow for flavor, and much more! The soup was plentiful and very delicious! It was shared with everyone.
Moral: Everyone has something to share. Sharing benefits the community and yourself.
For many years…
The foursquare block of Fresno’s El Dorado Park neighborhood was known as Sin City. People lived in fear. Children hid behind locked doors and peered through windows to a world of gangs, drugs, and violence. One day, a young Cambodian boy, just eight years old, walked into a resettlement office on the campus of Wesley United Methodist Church. He carried a loaded gun and placed it squarely on the desk of Kathy Garabed. He was recruited by a local gang to carry out their next hit, he had come in search of help and hope. Kathy was determined to gain support on behalf of this courageous young man. With the help of many others and Kathy’s vision, she saw to cultivate good will and to bring about change through action. Many doors, in the community, were closed at first, but she persisted approaching a fewed citizens who stepped forward to offer their ow time, skills and talents. With imagination and real vision, they became the cornerstone for prevention a friends and role models to children through programs offering a replacement to violent activities. Stone Soup Fresno became a source of hope to young and old alike as a beautiful change was taking place.
For more than a decade, curiosity has overcome individuals and organizations as they peek into the neighborhood to see the progress of a dramatic drop in crime, children learning, growing and leading a successful life. Generations and cultures have come together; they will continue to do so as the future progresses.