Ode is a storytelling series where community members tell true stories on stage to promote positive impact through empathy.

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Ode: Finding my family

Oct 4, 2017
Ally Karsyn

A 20-year-old college student has to make a life or death decision for her mom.

Ty Rushing
Ally Karsyn

A Kansas City native ignores his family's advice and moves to a mostly-white community in a state that he doesn't know much about.

Bertha Iniguez
Ally Karsyn


I wanted him to be happy, and I didn’t think it was with me… even though he assured me that it was.

Kassie Henderson
Ally Karsyn


I stepped off the ledge and discovered: life is not like a movie.

Ryan Dowell Baum
Ally Karsyn

It was a crisp, cool evening in the fall of 2004. I stared up at the night sky, smiling at the dazzling city lights of New York that made it one of the few places in the world where even at night, the clouds were more visible than the stars. As I looked up, I noted that there was no moon tonight—and that that was no coincidence. It was the new moon that marked the beginning of the month of Ramadan, when Muslims believe the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

Ally Karsyn
Jordan Edens Photography

"You must have babies so the Muslims don’t take over!”

The residential care facility fades from the rearview mirror. My 24-year-old son, sitting in the passenger seat, turns to me. With a straight face, he says, “If I would have known hitting someone would free me, Pam-e-la, I would have manned up and hit someone long ago. I knew I was being a pussy.”

Ines Cervantes
Ally Karsyn

A story of two strangers searching for strength.  

Shelby Pierce
Ally Karsyn

When I think about my experience growing up here in Sioux City, I think about my five older brothers and sisters and my parents like this umbrella over the top of me that took some hits by the rain that I didn’t.

Mark Scheffer
Ally Karsyn

I was in kindergarten the day my parents came to school with a pan full of cupcakes spelling out “Happy Ayyám-i-Há,” dashes, diacritical marks and all. My classmates loved it, of course. Frosting and sprinkles were all they knew or cared about.