Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Nov 14, 2023

Storytelling School with The Moth: Monthly Storytelling Activity #63

by The Moth Staff

Lesson #63: DISCOVERY:  “HARMONY SCAFFOLDS HOME” - Anaïs Cerina Irizarry Austin

This month our Storytelling School story is “Harmony Scaffolds Home” by Anaïs Cerina Irizarry Austin. Anaïs is an alum of our Story Lab program and this story will be featured on the second episode of the second season of GROWN! Grown is The Moth’s newest podcast all about what it means to grow up. You can listen to Grown wherever you listen to podcasts!

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HARMONY SCAFFOLDS HOME by Anaïs Cerina Irizarry Austin

Watch the video

You can read the transcript of Anaïs’ story here.

After you’ve watched and read the story, you can do the following activities: 

Talk to each other about Anaïs’ story. 

  • For each post, we’ll highlight a different crafting strategy for how to make your story compelling. For this post, we’ll focus on DISCOVERY.  The most compelling stories involve a teller in the midst of discovery. Discovery of self. Discovery of new ideas. Discovery of community. Anaïs takes us on such a lovely journey as she finds her people and new confidence within herself.

  • How does Anaïs use music throughout this story as an analog for belonging? 

  • How do you use music in your life to change your mood or connect with others? 

  • If you had to choose a song that defined your childhood, what would it be? Could you tell a story about how that song informed your life? 

Write or tell your own story.

At The Moth, we believe in celebrating the diversity and commonality of human experience. Often, listening to someone’s story will remind us of a story from our own lives. While you almost definitely have not had Anaïs’ exact experience, it still may have reminded you of a story from your life. Get inspired by these prompt questions to tell your own story!

Let’s Play “Have You Ever”

Raise your hand if … 

  • You’ve ever felt safe listening to your music

  • You’ve ever had a friend or family member introduce you to something ‘old school’

  • You’ve ever tried to fit into a new environment

  • You’ve ever felt like no one understood your rhythm

  • You’ve ever chosen your own company over others

  • You’ve ever met someone with whom you just ‘clicked’

  • You’ve ever felt a boost of confidence when your song comes on

  • You’ve ever decided to open up to someone new, no matter how scary

  • You’ve ever found harmony 


  • What’s one of your favorite songs? Grab a sheet of paper and write out the lyrics. Using your favorite pens, markers, crayons, or colored pencils, underline, circle or draw images that represent how each line/lyric/word makes you feel. Share this activity with a friend and discuss what the songs means to each of you - where you were when you first heard it, how it makes you feel when it first comes on, and what it’s gotten you through.

  • Let’s go on a discovery of self - using this wheel, pick a number on a scale of 1-10 to indicate how you’re feeling about each aspect of your life. For the sections that are below 5, come up with one small goal to help you get closer to your ideal number. Just like Anaïs, there are times when we need to find community, or friends to feel more content. 

Share this post with a friend!

And check back the second Tuesday of every month for another story.

Storyteller bio

Anaïs Cerina Irizarry Austin is currently a college student at the University at Buffalo. She has been acting in theatre settings since she was six years old, and she plans on minoring her postsecondary studies in Theatre. Considering this, it makes sense why Anaïs enjoys storytelling and the process of crafting a great story so much. She is an alum of The Moth's Story Lab program, and has performed in the Education Showcase, Moth Teacher Institute, and promotional events since graduating from Story Lab. She is also a Moth Teaching Intern with the Education Program! Anaïs loves to read new scientific fiction novels, bake, knit, write poetry, and to sing while doing these things.

The Moth Education Program works with young people and educators to build community through storytelling workshops, performances and innovative resources.

We are always looking for more young people and educators to join our storytelling workshops!  To learn more, apply for a workshop, or refer someone you know, please go to themoth.org/education

The Moth Education Program is made possible by generous support from Unlikely Collaborators.

Additional program support is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Alice Gottesman, The Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation and Con Edison.