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Release: Dec. 1, 1999

UI groups host holiday storytelling afternoon to restore spirit of the season

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Anyone who has grown weary of holiday commercialism will find respite in "Stories of Giving to Celebrate the Season," an afternoon of seasonal storytelling sponsored by several University of Iowa groups. The event is open to children and adults of all ages, and takes place Sunday, Dec. 12 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Old Brick, 26 E. Market St. in Iowa City. Cocoa and cookies will be served.

Organizers say the goal is to "offer a means to promote the upcoming season as a time of giving -- experiencing the joys and satisfactions that come from giving."

Steve Thunder-McGuire, an associate professor in the UI College of Education and a nationally known storyteller, will provide entertainment with stories of the holiday season. He will be joined by Rabbi Jeffrey Portman; Tom Walz, a UI emeritus professor of social work; Stuart Zisman, director of the Extend the Dream Foundation; Sangeetha Kumar, a UI master's student in social work; and Tom Gilsenen, manager of Wild Bill's Cafe. Kate Kemp, a program associate in the UI School of Social Work, will provide musical entertainment.

There is no admission cost, but those who attend are encouraged to bring a gift of food, clothing, or toys to give to local families in need. Clothing and toys may be new or used, but if used, should be in good condition. Students in the Undergraduate Social Work Student Association will coordinate the distribution of these gifts to local agencies serving needy families.

Families may also choose to make a monetary donation, which will be directed to the Extend the Dream Foundation, a new local non-profit group serving at-risk children and adults with disabilities.

"We want to emphasize and restore the true meaning of the season, which is giving," said Zisman, a UI adjunct assistant professor of social work and one of the event's organizers.

The event is co-sponsored by the UI Social Work Student Association, the department of art education, Lutheran and Episcopal Campus Ministries, the Hillel Student Foundation, the Wesley Foundation and the Newman Catholic Student Center.

For more information contact Zisman or Walz by phone, (319) 335-1273 or email, or

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Stu Zisman or Tom Walz in advance at (319) 335-1273.