Last month, StoryCorps Facilitator Mitra Bonshahi and I went to Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY, to visit El Puente, a community organization that – through the engagement in the arts, education, scientific research, wellness, and environmental action – promotes leadership for peace and justice. There, we set up a Door-to-Door recording day, where youth from the El Puente Scholars program had the opportunity to talk with El Puente founders, leaders, and artists about their experiences in the community and their visions for the future. The El Puente Scholars program is a holistic internship program for high school, college, and out of school youth that builds leadership skills in addressing social justice issues within their community while gaining life management skills and self-empowerment through arts and culture.
The scholars present couldn’t have been more excited. Recording during an off-week for NYC Schools, they arrived early and some were just hanging out with their shoes off, comfortable to slide silently in the offices’ hardwood floors. Scholars Alex and Emmanuel had the chance to speak with one of El Puente’s founders, Eugenio “Gino” Maldonado, and eagerly listened to Gino speak of his first impression of Brooklyn after moving there at the age of 9 from Puerto Rico, and of how he became involved with El Puente. (more…)
In November 2010 my co-Facilitator, Matt Herman, and I set up a Door-to-Door recording day at Youth Insights at the Whitney Museum of Art. Danielle Linzer (L) and Diane Exavier (R), associates at the Whitney, successfully planned 5 interviews for youth members to record visiting artists, their peers or parents.
They also booked the last day’s slot to interview one another. Although Danielle and Diane had then shared an office and desk space for over a year, they told each other some stories of their mischievous childhoods for the first time. (more…)
The San Francisco StoryCorps team has now had the privilege of doing two recording days with families at the Mission Asset Fund (MAF), an innovative nonprofit financial services organization in San Francisco’s Mission District. They are committed to the local community’s economic vitality and self-sufficiency. Known by its primarily Spanish-speaking client base as El Fondo Popular de la Misión, their mission is to “expand access to financial services, savings and investment opportunities for work-poor families,” so that low-income and immigrant families are able to build credit, and remain and thrive in the ever-gentrifying area. (more…)
Atlernativas, or alternatives in English, is what StoryCorps frequently provides for many of its tens-of-thousands of participants. Since its founding, StoryCorps has provided an opportunity to have voices heard that might otherwise be missed.
On Saturday, January 8, StoryCorps Atlanta spent the day with the Alterna Community in LaGrange, GA, (just 70 miles southwest of Atlanta) to record the stories of Mexican immigrants and their families. Many of the individuals who came to share their stories spoke of facing incredible personal odds and overcoming family crisis for the opportunity to work and create family in the United States. (more…)
Eric Wiberg walked into the New York StoryBooth without an interview partner. Looking back on it, I’m not sure anyone could have kept up with him.
A former captain of vessels who has literally been around the world four times over, Eric shared hard-won memories of his life out at sea. There was the time he made $59 for six months’ out at sea. And the time he was stuck on the same boat as a septuagenarian nudist and an out-of-control captain. Nothing however could top the time a shark nearly ate him alive. (more…)
Kian Goh (L) and her girlfriend and life partner Tamiko Beyer (R) visited StoryCorps’s Brooklyn office for a National Day of Listening community recording day in November 2010. Tamiko, a writer, wanted to record Kian’s impressions of her happiest moments and reflections on their relationship. (more…)
First created almost 25 years ago, the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and it’s parent organization, The Names Project, have come to symbolize not only this country’s efforts to find a cure for HIV/AIDS, but also humanity’s tendency to move toward healing and wholeness even in the face of unspeakable tragedy. The AIDS Memorial Quilt, now made up of more than 40,000 individual panels, is the largest public art project in the world. And, in the spirit of the centuries-old tradition of quilting, it has brought together rich and poor, black and white, male and female, straight and gay, and every possible human demographic and iteration possible. In mid-November 2010, StoryCorps Atlanta set up shop at The Names Project/AIDS Memorial Quilt National Headquarters for a day of recording.
Executive Director Julie Rhoad and Director of Communications Janece Shaffer organized a very successful day of on-site recordings. Ms. Rhoad gave her staff the day off so that the daily grind of the small, not-so-sound-proof office space would not interfere with the recording quality. When asked why this partnership with StoryCorps was so important to her she said, “… like the stories found on The AIDS Memorial Quilt, the stories StoryCorps has recorded ask us to consider how the truth of a life is reflected in the larger permanent truths of existence that we all share.” (more…)
Former StoryCorps Facilitator and Pat Estess and her husband Gene Estess came to the StoryBooth in Foley Square to talk about Gene’s remarkable metamorphosis over the years.
“Early on I was a very spoiled child. I grew up with a mother and father who were very generous. My father was orphaned at a young age and wanted to give me everything that he never had. My mother came from opulence – opulent for Iowa. Which gave me a slanted view of what life should be. I went (to school) with sort of an attitude. An attitude that I was better than, that I could get away with anything – and did.” (more…)