Talking Service Program Launches in New York

The New York Council for the Humanities will partner with the Great Books Foundation to launch Serving: Standing Down in New York State. This reading and discussion program is based on Talking Service, and all readings will be selected from Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian.

Serving: Standing Down
A New Reading & Discussion Program for New York’s Veterans

Serving: Standing Down is a new reading and discussion program for veterans, providing a space for them to reflect on their service as well as the challenges and opportunities of transitioning from active duty to civilian life. In the program, veterans read and discuss a series of thematically related works of literature over the course of four, five, or six sessions. At each discussion session, they come together with other veterans and are led by a local facilitator. All readings are selected from the Great Books Foundation’s new anthology, Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian.

Any tax-exempt organization in New York State is welcome to apply to host Serving: Standing Down, but veterans service organizations will be given special consideration. Host organizations should identify a local scholar to facilitate their series and commit, as well as designate a host-site coordinator on the staff to handle all logistical aspects of implementing the program. The New York Council for the Humanities directly pays the scholar-facilitator an honorarium of $150 per session; host organizations also have the option of borrowing books for the series from the Council.

Program Partners

The Great Books Foundation and the New York Council for the Humanities share a desire to provide opportunities for veterans to reflect on their service and prepare for the next phase of their lives. We both believe that reading and talking about literature opens up conversations and minds, and can transform lives and communities. That’s why we’ve partnered on a pilot program, Serving: Standing Down, to make available opportunities for this kind of discussion in New York State and nationally to the men and women who have served our country.

We are currently testing this program in New York State, while actively pursuing funders and partnerships that will enable us to take it nationwide. The Great Books Foundation brings years of experience training facilitators and publishing anthologies of literature that prompt discussion of fundamental human issues, recently focusing on military experience and the transition back to civilian life. The New York Council for the Humanities is a nationally recognized leader in developing discussion-based humanities programs that serve the general public in the places where the live, work, and learn. Further, we can leverage our relationships with state humanities councils and the National Endowment for the Humanities to scale such programs nationwide.

Leah Nahmias, Program Officer, NY Council for the Humanities