My name is Will Acuff and I’m the co-founder of Corner to Corner, a nonprofit that focuses on economic equity through entrepreneurship with Black neighbors in Nashville, TN. Curt and I originally connected through mutual friends here in the US, and we got excited to learn about each other’s work. Curt visited us in November 2022, and in his own words “had never seen anything like it…and yet felt right at home because it felt just like what I have been doing my whole life.” A work full of unique joy that comes when neighbors have a chance to thrive on their own terms. After attending a graduation of “new” entrepreneurs, celebrating with 1000 others, he asked me and our exec director, Shana Berkley, to visit Questscope in the Middle East.
After an 11-hour flight in mid-February of this year, we landed in Amman, and were whisked off to a trendy neighborhood atop one of the 7 hills spread throughout the city. Curt is one of those teachers who believes things are better “caught than taught!” Off we went to the Zaatari refugee camp in the north of Jordan, now home to 80,000 people since 2012. We were hosted in the Questscope Youth Center within the camp.
We met with amazing refugees, like Omar. He told us that he had been a typical teenager in Syria, planning out some big dreams and ambitions when the civil conflict started in 2011. His whole life was suddenly flipped upside down. In his sorrow and depression, he isolated himself in his tent in Zaatari for an entire year. He described to us his trauma and what it did to his heart and his mind. A year in a tent for a teen does get boring and he eventually got news about the Questscope youth center.
What he found was a safe space carved out by trauma-trained refugee “experts” who had been through the same experience. They were able to take him through a trauma-informed curriculum for “barefoot psychology,” designed for lay persons to heal and help heal others.
As he spoke to us, his body language changed, his shoulders relaxed, his smile expanded across his whole face. “The tools they gave me enabled me to understand the science behind the trauma I felt. I was able to return me to me. And now I am a trained leader in the Barefoot program… I want everyone to get what I got… I got myself back!” Omar is a man with a mission to get his friends and family to the healing that takes place in Questscope.
What led Questscope to create such an incredible tool that community members can use for healing right in the heart of the need? A very simple idea - they believe their community is amazing and that it is their right to understand the science of trauma. They believe their community is able to heal. There are no victims here, there are only neighbors. The heartbeat of the work of Questscope is the same as the heartbeat of Corner to Corner. What we found all the way across the world was what we’ve experienced here at home - the joy that comes when we walk alongside our neighbors in life-giving work. We came away from our time there inspired, equipped, and encouraged to stay the path.
Co-Founder of Corner to Corner