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Sidewalk Talk:  Free Listening on the Streets of Stockton
Caravan News 5564

Sidewalk Talk: Free Listening on the Streets of Stockton

Sidewalk Talk is a community listening project started in 2014 by two San Francisco psychotherapists.  It's a non-profit entity with volunteer listeners who believe that everyone needs to be heard. This Saturday, October 22, 2016, Katie Turner and Dr. Diane Carnahan will be launching the first Sidewalk Talk event in downtown Stockton. Stockton will be among the 15 US cities and 3 international cities to have Sidewalk Talk volunteers in their town. On Saturday, volunteer listeners in Stockton will meet at the downtown bus stop at 12pm, with chairs, ready to listen to anyone about anything.

“We believe that one way for people to feel loved and valued is to help others feel that they are worth being listened to. I am so excited to get this going in our city!” Katie Turner, Co-leader, Sidewalk Talk-Stockton.

Traci Ruble, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sidewalk Talk and CEO of Psyched in San Francisco believes that in this turbulent time socially and politically, listening is the purest form of activism.  She says, “When we are listened to and met with human empathy we calm inside and feel a sense of belonging.  Belonging and mattering are at the root of mental wellness and at the root of effective problem solving the problems we are facing in our world today. In this political and social climate we need empathic listening more than ever.”

Brooke Dooley, Film Producer for the feature length film, Listen, and LA City Leader says, "I really thought I knew what it meant to listen to others.  But, it wasn’t until I mustered up the courage to go out on the sidewalk and listen to strangers that I realized I had so much to learn.  Listening takes awareness and practice. I’m grateful to have found Sidewalk Talk because it’s teaching me how to truly listen.”

Esther Boykin, CEO of Virginia based Group Therapy Associates and Sidewalk Talk DC leader says, “Listening is like magic fairy dust.  It's so simple that anyone can do it and yet it has the power to profoundly change someone else's day, or even their life, for the better. ”

Dr. Candice Ackerman, CEO of Austin, TX based Flourish Counseling Center and Sidewalk Talk Austin City leader says, “Compassion starts with listening.”

Lisa Abdilova, CEO of Well Connected Now and a proud Sidewalk Talk sponsor says, “Sidewalk Talk creates these cleverly integrated safe spaces for people to talk through their stressors privately with trained listeners and therapists on their way to work.”

Sidewalk Talk wants to change hearts and minds and spread the idea that belonging and human connection make us well through empathic listening.  Our volunteers listen monthly in cities across the world.  We are always recruiting more cities and volunteers to grow this project.

Sidewalk Talk is a 100% volunteer based non-profit. To date, we have over 600 volunteers and 1000 people have been heard and 100 have been referred to mental health support services.  You can find out more about volunteering or donate online at our website:

For more information about the event on Saturday, October 22, contact Katie Turner at (916) 216-1762 or [email protected].

Sidewalk Talk Community Listening Project - Footage from Oakland, CA

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