7 Days of Giving: Storytelling

By Keya Tollossa

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Keya Tollossa has been a member of the Union community for years now. She has preached, told stories, and helped shape our community in valuable ways. This is her Union story.

My journey with Union started with an impactful story about marshlands: a place where two lands and various creatures meet. When I first heard the story, I was a transfer student attending SMU orientation: scared, apprehensive, and overall uncertain about my future. The story of finding a sanctuary where a diverse group of people meet, where love and acceptance abounded, and where faith was discovered appealed to me. It was a story which helped me fall in love with Union. I was hooked. After the storyteller finished his stage time, I internally determined that I had to connect with this unique marshland of Church and Coffee Shop.

I became a barista, began leading and sharing my own stories for the Naked Stage, and joined the board in the span of 2-3 years. What is interesting about my journey at Union has been my personal growth. Reflectively looking back, I can see points in my personal story where I transitioned from being a shy listener to a bold storyteller. It was through Union that I discovered my unique story, my ability to speak to and persuade an audience from the stage, and my capacity to facilitate an environment where others can share their stories. While I no longer work as a barista or lead the Naked Stages, one of my most cherished gifts from Union has been storytelling. Everyone has a story: a unique and wonderful story that is worthy of being told and heard. Union was the place which helped me discover mine.