Saving Stories a project to collect and ‘save stories’ from refugee community members in the suburban Pittsburgh boroughs of Baldwin and Whitehall. The Saving Stories project has united a broad range of community contributors who share a common commitment to enhance native and English literacy, archive native culture, and increase public awareness of their community’s unique diversity.

A Native Literacy and Cultural Preservation Community Project

The Saving Stories initiative evolved out of two significant concerns. First, young English Language Learners were either losing or had never attained the ability to read in their native languages. Second, ESL teachers in the Baldwin-Whitehall School District and librarians in the Baldwin and Whitehall Public Libraries involved with the refugee community expressed a common desire to preserve and archive native cultures of the refugees for future generations.

The ultimate goal of the Saving Stories project is to see the stories preserved in the form of bilingual picture books. Both English and the refugee’s native language will be represented in each finished product, thus reaching a wider audience and promoting both native and English literacy. Illustrations created by district students accompany the text. The stories will then be professionally published, bound and made available on library shelves in both the public and school libraries, thus reaching every ELL community member and untold members of the community-at-large.

Our Community Impacts


Strengthens first language literacy which aids in the development of second language literacy for students.

Cultural Traditions

Helps families of English Language Learners maintain their cultural traditions.

Native Literacy

Helps maintain first language literacy for the whole family.


Promotes multigenerational and multicultural understanding.


Creates a supportive, caring environment for new refugees.


Promotes the American tradition of reading aloud to children.