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Certified Facilitator Spotlight: Margaret Edinburgh

Aug 5, 2021

What drew you to TimeSlips?  During the 1990’s I began making African American cloth dolls.  As they evolved, they became The Order of Nzingah Doll Collection TM.  They reminded me of the many strong women that I grew up knowing in my community.  Arriving with their very own stories, it was not enough to write their stories.  I needed to tell their stories.

I became an interested storyteller, with a burning desire to learn more about it.  I began seeking opportunities to learn more about it.  I began volunteering, reading, attending workshops, had a membership in several storytelling organizations, and practicing in earnest.  It was at the city of Marietta Lin Tatum, coordination volunteer at a local hospice, asked me to be a storyteller for her organization.

After many miles and years of being a volunteer storyteller, the late Janice Butts, Past Presidents of the Southern Order of Storytellers,  told me about Prescriptive Storytelling.  This was defined as a doctor writing a prescription for one to visit a patient, on a regular basis.  This prescription is then assigned to a storyteller, giving them authorization to be paid for services rendered.  The prescription holder spends time with the assigned patient telling stories, reading stories, listening to stories, and whatever else the patient wishes to discuss.  I began my copious research at “Google University.”  It availed me nothing.  However, I found TimeSlips.  I signed up and completed the online coursework necessary to become a Certified TimeSlips Facilitator.  

After acquiring this new certification, I began the quest to hone my newly acquired skill for hire at local senior citizens facilities.  I completed what I call a practicum at a local memory care facility.  This took some time, but someone at Brookdale Chambrel Memory Care Unit, had heard of TimeSlips, and hired me to facilitate storytelling there.  We had completed one book at Chambrel, when the COVID-19 Pandemic hit, shutting down this experience with their clients.  

As Facilitator for the Cobb County Storytellers, I combined storytelling with the facilitation of storytelling.  It was a match made in heaven.  Just as it’s propagated by TimeSlips, “…the memory care patients may not be able to remember, but they can imagine…”  During the Holiday Season, we also sang Christmas carols.  This added bonus was the Pièce De Résistance of the TimeSlips.org experience.  Needless to say, the patients loved it.

Along my TimeSlips journey, I headed toward the founding of The Yellow Rose-Strong Oak Society.  A 501c3, dedicated to helping families celebrate milestones of their elderly relatives, alleviating some of the mental stressors senior citizens face that cause them mental illness, and bringing families together.  Since receiving our 501c3 Determination Letter, it seemed only natural that we would incorporate some of our storytelling, writing, and communication skills in this venture.

How are the elders you work with affected? From my view as a Certified TimeSlips Facilliator the residents of several facilities looked forward to my visits.  There was one who asked,  “..hasn’t she been here before…?”  Those who remembered me looked forward to participating, and they liked the end.  At this point of each session, they liked it when I told them a story.