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We Belong to Each Other: New StoryCorps Animated Shorts

The ties that bind us, the stories that remind us. This May, we’re releasing our new animated season: “We Belong to Each Other,” a collection of stories that show how we care for one another through word and deed.

Check in each Thursday to watch a new StoryCorps animated short about family, community, and love.

Lola’s Work

Crescenciana “Lola” Tan, originally from the Philippines, came to California to help raise her grandkids. Her daughter Olivia and grandson Kenneth came to StoryCorps to share some of the lessons she imparted and the memories they cherish from Lola’s storied life.

Read the full transcript here.

Coming Soon:

Watch our new animated short on Thursday, May 13.

An uncle and his nephew with stars in their eyes.

Want to watch more? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to discover new voices every day and engage with our wonderful community. Or sign up for our Story of the Week newsletter to discover a new voice every week!

Teacher Appreciation Week #GoogleDoodle Featuring StoryCorps Stories

We are kicking off Teacher Appreciation Week 2021 in partnership with Google to honor educators and highlight the voices of teachers and students.

You can find five StoryCorps stories in an interactive, animated Google Doodle here. These stories feature voices from across the country, and touch on everything from the struggles a young man faced as one of the first Black students to integrate his high school to two teachers reflecting on how COVID-19 has affected their work. The common thread across all of them is the incredible and lasting impact that these educators have had on their students’ lives. 

Listen to all five original stories below.

"There was nothing more that I wanted to do than to protect you."
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“I didn’t know what a good teacher was until I saw the way you taught.”

In the second of two stories in this audio clip, 19-year-old Jose Catalan, who is studying to become a math teacher, sat down with his former high school teacher Carlos Vizcarra to talk about how they became friends. Read the full transcript here.
“I think you should get half my diploma.”
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“I think you should get half my diploma.”

Cole Phillips, who had recently become blind, started high school with an adult following him from class to class. Rugenia Keefe, or Miss Ru, was a paraprofessional who assisted Cole with many of his most difficult subjects — and over time became a friend and confidant.  Read the full transcript here.
“I realized, wow, somebody else has these feelings. This isn’t just me.”
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“You probably had no idea the impact you were making.”

Russ King, a cabaret performer, talks with his elementary school music teacher, Paige Macklin, about a choice she made 50 years ago, and how it changed his life. Read the full transcript here.
"You have this unique ability to — even in the darkest times — just tell people it's going to be okay."
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“I don’t think, without your energy, I could have made it teaching through this whole pandemic.”

High school English teacher Alexia Dukes speaks with her mentor and colleague, Maria Rivera, about teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full transcript here.

Lessons Learned

From the first roll call of the 1964 school year, Dr. William Lynn Weaver was targeted and harassed by the faculty of his previously all-white high school. Then a former teacher stepped in and saved his life. Read the full transcript here.

#ThankAnEducator this May and June

This Doodle kicks off our #ThankAnEducator effort. This May and June, StoryCorps wants to spark a moment of gratitude for the educators who have been working tirelessly to adapt to our collective new normal while supporting and teaching students of all ages and needs.
It hasn’t been easy, but educators have continued to change millions of lives every day in virtual and in-person classrooms. Honor an educator in your life with a StoryCorps interview and show them just how much they mean to you. You can record a conversation remotely using StoryCorps Connect, or record in person with the free StoryCorps App. Find out more about our Thank an Educator effort here.

To discover more stories featuring teachers and students, explore a collection of interviews from the 2021 State Teachers of the Year. You can also read reflections on recording by Tabatha Rosproy, 2020 National Teacher of the Year, and listen to her conversation with her best friend about one of their favorite teachers here.

Thank you

Thank you to the participants for sharing your stories with us, and thank you to teachers across the country for the tireless work and support over the past year.

Thank you to our partners at Google for celebrating teachers during a time when their work and dedication has never been more important.

StoryCorps is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

My One Small Step Experience

Since StoryCorps began piloting One Small Step in 2018, more than 1,500 people in 40 cities have taken part in the project. What is it like to have a conversation with a stranger? Sara Coffman, who recorded with Sarah Nadeau in Shreveport, Louisiana, in December 2020 recounted her experience.

When I first sat down in Shreveport, LA to have a One Small Step conversation, I had no idea what to expect. Other than having the same first name, my conversation partner and I seemed very different and had starkly different views.

Sarah and I were asked what moment in our life defined our political views. When we each told our story, it became clear that our different backgrounds and life experiences informed how we think and see the world.

As I felt the conversation open up, any defensiveness melted away, and we were able to truly share our life experiences with one another. And, though we didn’t suddenly agree on everything, we were both able to look at the world and one another’s opinions with fresh eyes.

Over the years I have met so many different people in different places, and I have relished the opportunity to share my experience and hear from others about theirs.

That day and conversation helped me see that when we listen to one another, no matter how different we may seem to be, we realize that we are all human. The One Small Step experience helped to cultivate the sense of the joy and wonder that happens when we sit down face-to-face, and look each other in the eye — no yelling, no distraction, just a wide-open heart.

Conversations like this are a courageous act, and it can be easy to feel defensive or frightened of being judged. But, this one step — this one conversation — helps us grow, learn to be more open and mindful, and brings into focus just how amazing our world really is once we see just how connected we all are.

When you walk away from a One Small Step interview, you will be changed. And there is a good chance you will be open to having many more conversations just like this.

I encourage you to take the next step.

Listen to Sara and Sarah’s One Small Step Interview

Recorded by Red River Radio in Shreveport, LA

We’re matching strangers from different points of view for conversations about who they are. Anyone, anywhere can sign up for our email list and complete our matching questionnaire to have the opportunity to be paired with a stranger for a One Small Step conversation.

Announcing the 2021 Military Voices Virtual Tour

This year, StoryCorps is partnering with Veteran Service Organizations across the country as part of our 2021 Military Voices Initiative Virtual tour, made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Through virtual tour stops, community listening events online, and other activities, we are honoring veterans and members of the military community across the country by recording and preserving their stories.

Millions of men and women have served in the armed services, while millions more family members have stood behind them at home. The military community knows well the challenges of multiple deployments, combat-injuries, and long-awaited homecomings. Yet few civilians truly understand the complex realities faced by our troops and their loved ones.

The Military Voices Initiative acknowledges this notion and contributes to StoryCorps’ diverse collection by recording and preserving the stories of veterans of all wars, service members, and military families. The tour offers an opportunity for them to share their experiences in their own words, which may be preserved for posterity in the StoryCorps Archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Since its launch in 2012, the Military Voices Initiative has preserved 2,800 of these stories, some of which are available to listen to here.

“Public media honors and supports those who serve our country by telling their stories of commitment, courage and leadership,” said Pat Harrison, CPB president and CEO. “CPB is proud to be a longtime supporter of StoryCorps and their work to ensure that these stories are recorded and made accessible to future generations.”

The Military Voices Tour, which, due to COVID-19 safety precautions will be entirely virtual this year, will record with residents in three U.S. cities, including Columbia, SC (April 12–23), Seattle, WA (May 10–21), and Austin, TX (June 14–25). Reservations are free and available to the public, and can be booked online at storycorps.org/military-voices. The Initiative also provides an opportunity for civilians to engage with veterans and service members in their communities through virtual listening events in each city. The event in Columbia, SC took place on April 6, and events will follow in Seattle, WA on April 29 and Austin, TX on June 8.

LocationPartnerRecording Dates
Columbia, SCSouth Carolina Public RadioApril 12 – 23, 2021
Seattle, WAKUOWMay 10 – 21, 2021
Austin, TXKUTJune 14 – 25, 2021

StoryCorps fosters an environment of comfort and intimacy for its interviews, with a trained facilitator guiding participants throughout the process. For the virtual tour, the interview process and experience are conducted via StoryCorps Virtual, a browser-based platform that allows both participants to see and hear one another during their conversation. Participants are joined and guided remotely by a facilitator. After each 40-minute recording session, participants receive a complimentary copy of their interview, and a second copy is archived at the Library of Congress with the participant’s permission.

Founded in 2003 by award-winning documentary producer and MacArthur Fellow Dave Isay, StoryCorps has traveled to every corner of the country to record interviews in the organization’s effort to create a world where we listen closely to each other and recognize the beauty, grace and poetry in the lives and stories we find all around us. 

“Throughout a turbulent year, our military veterans and their families’ courage and sacrifice remain constant. We honor their lives by recording and amplifying these stories and preserving them for generations to come,” said Dave Isay, Founder and President of StoryCorps. 

In each city on the tour, StoryCorps partners with the local public radio station, which will air a selection of the interviews recorded and, in many cases, create special programs around the project. StoryCorps may also share edited versions of select interviews collected throughout the tour via its NPR broadcasts, podcast, animated shorts, and digital platforms

Learn more about StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative.

Celebrating AAPI Voices

Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities encompass a wide range of cultures and lived experiences, and each one is an important part of the American narrative. Their stories are American stories, and their voices deserve to be heard. That’s why we’re highlighting a few of the stories from our AAPI participants, to help people find connection and understanding by amplifying their words.

Whose voices do you want to see included in the narratives of Asian American and Pacific Islander history? By sitting down with someone you love for a StoryCorps conversation, you’re showing them that their stories matter and preserving them for generations.

StoryCorps Connect makes it possible to interview a loved one remotely and then upload it to the StoryCorps archive at the Library of Congress.

No More Questions!

Strong-willed Kay Wang allowed her son and granddaughter to ask her a few brief questions about her adventures in life — from disobeying her mother and rebuffing suitors while growing up in China to late-life escapades as a detective for Bloomingdale’s.

“When I buy a new book, I don’t start reading the first page. I smell it.”
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A Love Story in 10,000 Books

Alagappa Rammohan has amassed enough books over the course of his life to fill a small library. He shares his love of the written word with his daughter, Paru Venkat, and his plans to donate all of his books to his hometown in India.

"It was not so much of hugging or saying I love you. But it was all the things she did."
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Lola’s Work

Kenneth Tan celebrates the life of grandmother, Crescenciana Tan, whom he called Lola. He remembers Lola’s hard work and unwavering commitment to her family. 

Driving Lessons

Muhammad Faridi talks to his father about what it was like to grow up as the son of a NYC cab driver. Although he used to be embarrassed to talk about his family, Muhammad learned to be proud of his father’s work.

“If I’m in front of a blank sheet of paper with a pencil, I find such solace.”
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From Internment to Disney

Willie Ito dreamed of becoming an animator, but his dreams were put on hold when his family was sent to a Japanese American internment camp. At StoryCorps, Willie reflects on his internment and his career as an animator at Disney

“I decided to adopt that magpie, which I called Maggie.”
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The “Heart” of Heart Mountain

When he was 10 years old, Shig Yabu and his family were evacuated from their home and relocated to an internment camp. He remembers what defined his experience as an internee — adopting and caring for a bird named Maggie.

“We had even stronger bonds because we had survived this together.”
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Reunited after 50 years: Friends from the Vietnam War

Kay Lee and John Nordeen became fast friends while serving together in the same Army platoon in Vietnam. After losing touch, they reconnected to reflect on the early days of their friendship.

“Because she was Asian, they wouldn’t accept her. Mom said she didn’t care; she enlisted anyway.”
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Remembering One Tough Veteran: Lieutenant Susan Ahn Cuddy

Susan Ahn Cuddy was the first Asian American woman in the Navy and the first woman gunnery officer teaching air combat tactics. Her children, Flip and Christine, remember her as a tough, yet loving mother.

Your support helps StoryCorps create opportunities for connection, until we can meet again in person — and beyond. Please give today.

As seen on ABC News: Take One Small Step

If you are worried about the divides and the chaos in the country, if you are tired of the shouting, if you are asking “What can I do to help?” here is one answer: Take One Small Step with StoryCorps.

Join our email list to record with StoryCorps, receive project updates, and a matching questionnaire.
One Small Step is an effort to remind the country of the humanity in all of us—even those we disagree with politically.

Since 2018, more than 1,500 Americans in 40 cities have taken part. Now, we’re expanding our effort: anyone anywhere can record.

Conversations recorded for One Small Step are not about politics, but rather about who we are as people: what we care about, and our dreams for the future. And just as with every StoryCorps conversation we’ve recorded since 2003, the interview becomes part of American history at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress (with participant permission).

By bringing together strangers across political divides to have courageous and meaningful conversations about their lives, One Small Step helps to decrease feelings of contempt, allowing people in America to see one another as human beings.

Stories to Lift Your Spirit for Spring

Spring means fresh starts, clean slates, and if you’re anything like us, a whole new positive outlook. This season, let’s shake off the winter cobwebs with some of our favorite uplifting, funny, and inspiring stories.

Who in your life would you like to share a laugh with? By sitting down with someone you love for a StoryCorps conversation, you’re showing them that their stories matter and preserving them for generations. You can record in person using the StoryCorps App, or remotely using StoryCorps Connect.



Marking the Distance

Gweneviere Mann lost her short-term memory following surgery to remove a brain tumor. She and her supportive boyfriend, Yasir, have learned to navigate life in a new way, together.
Read the full transcript here.

“When I heard the lyrics I just imagined in my head...Grandpa and I."
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A Grandfather’s Musical Legacy

William Salter, 84, helped write one of America’s most iconic love songs, ‘Just the Two of Us’ — made famous by Grover Washington Jr. in 1981. Salter’s granddaughter sat down with him to learn how he found his sound and made his life musical.
Read the full transcript here.

“In the kitchen, we’re like poetry in motion.”
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“We Mesh Together Like One”: A Miami Love Story

Nearly 50 years after they first met in Miami, George Ju and Angela Rivas come together to tell their love story.
Read the full transcript here.

Clean Streets

Sanitation workers Angelo Bruno and Eddie Nieve worked together for nearly 10 years on the same garbage route in Manhattan’s West Village. The partners remember the neighborhood and friendships that made their time together meaningful.
Read the full transcript here.

“Ice cream has given me a name, like a Ted Williams or a Babe Ruth or a Larry Bird.”
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Life Through the Window of an Ice Cream Truck

Allan Ganz and his wife Rosalyn reminisce about his seven-decade-long career as an ice cream man in Peabody, Massachusetts.
Read the full transcript here.

“When I took you home, I didn’t know how to feel.”
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A Mother on the Challenges of Becoming a Teenage Parent

April Gibson speaks with her son Gregory about having a baby at sixteen, battling the expectations of others, and finding a sense of self.
Read the full transcript here.

Double Major

Wil Smith enrolled in college at age 27, baby daughter in tow. He shares with Olivia, now grown up, all about how he got by in those early years.
Read the full transcript here.

"Farming...is about life over death rather than death over life."
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How Sheep Farming Helped an Army Vet Overcome PTSD

Mickey Willenbring came back from deployment injured and with severe PTSD. She found some peace taking care of animals and now owns and operates the Dot Ranch Navajo-Churro sheep farm in rural Oregon.
Read the full transcript here.

Want even more stories? Follow us on YouTube to watch even more, and sign up for our Story of the Week newsletter to discover a new voice every week.

StoryCorps Mobile Tour: A Look Back on 2020

Before we close the door on 2020 (something many of us are quite anxious to do!), the StoryCorps Mobile Tour would like to take a moment to reflect on the 2020 tour, which was certainly challenging but also full of wonderful people, important stories, and valuable work. After our second stop of the year, in response to the pandemic, the Mobile Tour took all its operations to the virtual space and began recording stories using a newly developed online platform that mirrored our in-person recording process in an exciting and innovative way. While we missed visiting with people on the ground, we were humbled and honored by the willingness of our participants and the continued commitment of our public radio station and local community partners to join us on this new adventure.

Over the course of the year we heard many heart and mind expanding stories. Across all our stops people reflected on the fear, anxiety, and sense of loss brought about by the pandemic, they gave voice to the frustrations and hope embedded in the Black Lives Matter movement, and celebrated the people and connections that inspired them. Pain and anxiety were prevalent, but so was joy and love. Through all the conversations we were privileged to witness wove a remarkable theme of resilience and a determination to simply keep at it. To keep loving, advocating, teaching, and, most importantly, to keep listening. Please join us for a brief look and listen back on 2020.

a landscape photograph of a silver airstream trailer with the red StoryCorps logo painted on the side, on a patch of asphalt surrounded by grass in front of a forested hill and bright blue skies. The door to the trailer is open, and some cabinets and recording equipment are visible inside.

Santa Monica, CA

Station Partner: KCRW
Collaborating Partner: SMC Emeritus Program
Site Partner: Downtown Santa Monica – 3rd Street Promenade
Standout Community Partners: Las Fotos Project, the 18th Street Arts Center, and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition

Santa Monica-produced stories:

Montage of Santa Monica Stories:

*Produced by Ava Ahmadbeigi

Hear a piece from the ARC recordings here: Phu Van Huyhn & Phu Sam Huynh

*Produced by Mia Raquel

One more from the SM stop: Sara Velasco & Cristina Lash

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*Produced by Mia Raquel

San Joaquin Valley, CA

Station Partner: Valley Public Radio
Fresno Site Partner: CMAC, the Community Media Access Collaborative (learn more about them here!)
Bakersfield Field Recording Host: Beale Memorial Library
Standout Community Partners: Bakersfield College, Qistory, Yonsei Memory Project

*Produced by KQED

San Joaquin-produced stories:

Montage of SJV stories:

* Produced by Ava Ahmadbeigi

*Produced by KVPR

Diane Flowers & Marilyn Harris

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*produced by Mia Raquel

Boise, ID: Our first “virtual” stop!

Station Partner: Boise State Public Radio
Thank you to JUMP, who would have been our site partner
Standout Community Partner: Refugee Speakers Bureau
Refugee speakers bureau offers a platform and support services to Refugees across Idaho. They are constantly trying to use storytelling to further their mission and helped pilot our newly updated storytelling workshop.

Boise-produced stories:

Montage of Boise stories:

* Produced by Ava Ahmadbeigi

Montana: Our first statewide stop!

Station Partner: MTPR
Map of participant locations
Standout Community Partner: Missoula Art Museum
MAM does an incredible job at engaging local artists through storytelling practices. During our partnership they chose to highlight the voices of contemporary Native artists. They also took part in our storytelling workshop and have since used SC tools to record independent conversations. Listen to some of those here!

Montana-produced stories:

*Produced by MTPR

*Produced by MTPR

The Lewis Clark Valley/Pacific Northwest

Station Partner: Northwest Public Broadcasting
Map of participants
Standout Community Partner: Monastery of St. Gertrude
The Monastery at St. Gertrude added some wonderful local conversations to the archive around topics of personal faith and community engagement.

LCV-produced stories:

*Produced by NWPB

Bay Area, CA

Station Partner: KQED
Standout Community Partner: Charlotte Maxwell Clinic
Charlotte Maxwell Clinic provides integrative cancer care to low-income women. The clinic coordinated an entire recording day between caregivers and care receivers which highlighted the mission of the organization and its impact in the community.

Bay Area-produced stories:

*Produced by KQED

*Bronte Sorotsky & Eddie Huijon

Las Vegas, NV

Station Partner: Nevada Public Radio
Standout Community Partner: Forced Trajectory Project
Forced Trajectory Project is a multimedia project that examines the impact that Police Brutality has on the lives of individuals and communities. Through our partnership with them, they were able to highlight the voices of victims of police violence and their family members.

Las Vegas-produced stories:

Montage of Las Vegas Stories:

*Produced by Mia Raquel

High Plains

Station Partner: HPPR
Map of participants
Standout Community Partner: Center City of Amarillo
Center City of Amarillo is an organization that seeks to revitalize Amarillo’s historic downtown. Through our partnership they chose to highlight the voices of individuals with strong ties to Amarillo’s history and evolution.

West Texas

Station Partner: Marfa Public Radio
Map of participants
Standout Community Partner: Terlingua Community
Terlingua is considered a “ghost town” in Brewster County Texas. Storycorps Virtual allowed us to gather quite a few stories from this remote location which tackled topics from environmental activism to covid-19 to the unique experiences that led folks to settle in Terlingua proper.

Courageous Conversations

At StoryCorps, people of all backgrounds and beliefs are having conversations that are about what matters most to them in life. If you’re getting to know us and considering recording your own conversation, check out these stories recorded with us and preserved for American history.

Stories about What Matters Most

A Second Chance

While serving time for robbing a bank, Darius Clark Monroe decided to apologize to the people who were inside the bank on that day, including customer David Ned. Seventeen years later, they sat down to talk about what David’s forgiveness has meant to both of them.
Read the full transcript here.

John and Joe

John Vigiano Sr. is a retired New York City firefighter whose two sons followed him into service—John Jr. was a firefighter, too, and Joe was a police detective. On September 11, 2001, both Vigiano brothers responded to the call from the World Trade Center, and both were killed while saving others. Here, John Sr. remembers his sons and reflects on coping with his tremendous loss.
Read the full transcript here.

Miss Devine

Cousins James Ransom and Cherie Johnson recall their fearsome Sunday school teacher, Miss Lizzie Devine, the only woman who had more power than their grandmother.
Read the full transcript here.

Albert and Aidan Sykes

In 2015, 9-year-old Aidan Sykes came to StoryCorps in Jackson, Mississippi, to ask his father, Albert, a few important questions.
Read the full transcript here.

Chloe Longfellow

After her father died, Chloe Longfellow started spending more time with her grandmother Doris. A remembrance of her best friend.
Read the full transcript here.

We’re matching strangers from different points of view for conversations about who they are. Anyone, anywhere can sign up for our email list and complete our matching questionnaire to have the opportunity to be paired with a stranger for a One Small Step conversation.