This volume of stories, poems and art was conceived after Crow Wing Energized participated in an initiative developed by Minnesota Department of Health and Familywise entitled 100 Cups of Coffee. We renamed our project 100 Community Conversations. The research design was by Melissa Adolphson of Wilder Research. The idea of this initiative is that too often people who make policies and design programs are out of touch with the people they are supposed to serve. The full report of this initiative is on our website.

The broad criteria for interviewing people were those who are closest to the problems but furthest removed from organizational decision making. We operationally defined that as those people with lived experience of mental illness, addiction, disability, incarceration, black or brown skins and LGBTQ+ folks. In some cases we interviewed the parents, grandparents, or caretakers of these people.

Among the interviewers, we had an experience of “empathy stretch”. To sit down with someone with life experiences different from our own gave us insight into and compassion for people who are often stereotyped and seen as less than “normal” or “good” people. It was decided that we may be able to improve the mental and social-emotional health of our community by telling the stories of these marginalized people.

All contributors to this work have had a connection to Crow Wing County at some time. They may not presently reside in the county, but all have spent portions of their lives inside our geographic boundaries. Some of the experiences referred to did not actually happen in Crow Wing County, but none the less have affected the lives of the contributors.

Some portions of this volume may be hard to process for some readers, as the content can be raw and unfiltered at times. Readers should try to remember that the authors are voicing their personal perspectives and memories, and that perception and memory are real for these contributors.

Bold Yet Seldom Told is our book and video series where we hope to create a more compassionate and belonging community. We hope readers’ thinking and emotions are stimulated by these stories, poems and artwork. We encourage readers to talk about their reactions with family, friends, and co-workers. Together we can create healthier connections and communities by honestly sharing what is the same and different in our lives.

Available to purchase online or in store at CatTale’s Books and Gifts
609 Laurel St, Brainerd  •  218-825-8611