Community Members Invited for C.H.A.T.S.(Connecting Humans and Telling Stories)

by Monica Hoel
“The most important thing for me is perception. Not a change of heart. We just hope for a more open thought process about how we interact with the world.”

That’s how Amelia Terry, an energetic student from Oneida, Tennessee, describes her greatest hope for the C.H.A.T.S. program. It is a 3-part series of events that brings E&H students and community members together with a goal of working on healthy and effective communication.

The program was born in the Emory & Henry Appalachian Center for Civic Life, and it’s Amelia’s Bonner Scholar project. Amelia says the program brings together a raft of ideas and skills from two of her Appalachian Center mentors, Leah Wilson and Megan Hamilton, and even though the program only launched in January of 2022 she has already seen a positive impact.

Each of the three sections has a particular goal in mind. Titles for the events are: “A Beginner’s Mindset,” “Challenging Assumptions,” and “A Third Chair Perspective.” Amelia says a person doesn’t have to attend all three sessions to learn from the process, but it helps. And she finds that most people who attend one gathering are eager to attend subsequent sessions.

Participants don’t just listen to a passive presentation; Amelia says each session is aimed at learning skills for better interactions with others. “We learn and practice how to talk with others who feel differently from us. And we develop skills for learning from each other.”

Each event has activities to give participants a chance to challenge their own assumptions, consider how they speak to each other, exercise empathy, and practice being better listeners. It’s a little like a workshop, and Amelia recounts an interaction with two students who asked if they were going to just get to sit and listen. “I told them ‘Absolutely not!’ They were terrified! But they ended up talking, responding, being involved, and really enjoying the session.”

Amelia Terry all decked out for fierce competition in the E&H Psychology Department's annual ... Amelia Terry all decked out for fierce competition in the E&H Psychology Department's annual “Rat Olympics.” (That's her buddy and lab rat on her shoulder!)Amelia serves as the mediator for each session, and she says she spends a lot of time in preparation to make sure she gets the tone just right. “I use my studies as a psychology major to ensure that I don’t phrase things in a way that would accidentally influence someone’s reaction or response during an activity.” She has loved seeing the transformation people go through during the activities. “We see people paying attention to each other, speaking differently to each other, and being thoughtful about their words. This program has completely changed how I interact with people.”

They debuted the series in the spring semester of 2022 in Marion, Virginia, using the Lincoln Theatre for their location. Amelia says the response was great in part because they worked with a lot of community partners like Mount Rogers Community Services and Southwest Virginia Mental Health Institute. They did the series again on campus in the fall of 2022. They’re now building a curriculum so it can be done in other communities.

Amelia says she hopes to have more community members involved when they do C.H.A.T.S. on campus in the 2023 spring semester. If you’d like to get more information and participate in the next event, be in touch with the E&H Alumni Office (alumni@emoryhenry.edu). You can enjoy a great conversation with Amelia on the Duck Pond Wall podcast.

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1647-eamph-alumni-association-announced-2021"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1440,871/3825_EHCITY_RICHMOND.rev.1522164015.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1440,871/3825_EHCITY_RICHMOND.rev.1522164015.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1440,871/3825_EHCITY_RICHMOND.rev.1522164015.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1440,871/3825_EHCITY_RICHMOND.rev.1522164015.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1440,871/3825_EHCITY_RICHMOND.rev.1522164015.jpg" alt="E&H in the City in Richmond" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1440,871/3825_EHCITY_RICHMOND.rev.1522164015.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1440,871/3825_EHCITY_RICHMOND.rev.1522164015.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1440" data-max-h="871" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1647-eamph-alumni-association-announced-2021">E&H Alumni Association Announced 2021 Outstanding Alumni Awards Honorees</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Congratulations to our 2021 honorees! Watch for presentations which will be available online soon. Click the hyperlinks to read more about each honoree. <a href="/live/news/1647-eamph-alumni-association-announced-2021" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/788-trollinger-named-citizen-of-the-year"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/38,0,514,475/6285_Richard_Trollinger.rev.1554994277.webp 1x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/38,0,514,475/6285_Richard_Trollinger.rev.1554994277.jpg 1x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/38,0,514,475/6285_Richard_Trollinger.rev.1554994277.jpg" alt="Richard Trollinger, E&H Class of 1971." width="345" height="225" data-max-w="476" data-max-h="475" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/788-trollinger-named-citizen-of-the-year">Trollinger Named Citizen of the Year</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Richard Trollinger (E&H ’71) has been named Danville, Kentucky, citizen of the year. <a href="/live/news/788-trollinger-named-citizen-of-the-year" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2031-linda-coutant-is-being-mindful"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,166,2133,2297/3317_LindaCoutant2018.rev.1519076778.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,166,2133,2297/3317_LindaCoutant2018.rev.1519076778.webp 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,166,2133,2297/3317_LindaCoutant2018.rev.1519076778.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,166,2133,2297/3317_LindaCoutant2018.rev.1519076778.jpg 3x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,166,2133,2297/3317_LindaCoutant2018.rev.1519076778.jpg" alt=" Dr. Linda Coutant Emory & Henry Class of 1989 " width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,166,2133,2297/3317_LindaCoutant2018.rev.1519076778.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,166,2133,2297/3317_LindaCoutant2018.rev.1519076778.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2133" data-max-h="2131" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2031-linda-coutant-is-being-mindful">Linda Coutant is Being Mindful</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><span style="font-weight: 400;">When Linda Coutant, Class of 1989, heard that Appalachian State University (ASU) was aiming to be a “mindful campus,” she felt an electrical jolt go through her whole body. “I felt it on a cellular level.”</span> <a href="/live/news/2031-linda-coutant-is-being-mindful" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>