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Press Release: StoryCorps Announces Dane E. Holmes as the New Chair of its Board of Directors

Award-Winning Organization Also Appoints Vic Parker as Treasurer and Welcomes Aaron Bates, Giovanna Gray Lockhart, Miriam Hess, Gary Knell, Sarah O’Brien, James Ransom, and Jason Reynolds to the Board

StoryCorps, the nonprofit organization dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing humanity’s stories, today announces Dane E. Holmes as the new Chair of its Board of Directors, effective March 4. Holmes, the Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Eskalera, who previously held various leadership positions at Goldman Sachs, comes to the new role after serving as Vice Chair since 2017 and Treasurer since 2020. He succeeds Marta Elisa Moret, President of Urban Policy Strategies, who has been Interim Board Chair since 2021.

Dave Isay, Founder and President of StoryCorps, says, “Dane has been a steadfast supporter of StoryCorps for many years, and the organization has benefitted in countless ways from his extraordinary wisdom and deep humanity. We’re grateful to have him as an advisor and friend and thrilled to see him assume leadership of the Board. As we approach StoryCorps’ 20th anniversary next year, the organization’s future couldn’t be in better hands.”

StoryCorps has also appointed Vic Parker, a Managing Director of Spectrum Equity, as Treasurer and added seven new members to its Board: Aaron M. Bates, Head, Private Wealth Platform and Partnerships at AllianceBernstein; Giovanna Gray Lockhart, founder of the New York Women’s Collective and a Senior Advisor to Paid Leave for the United States; Miriam Hess, Partner at Siegel Strategies; Gary Knell, Senior Advisor to Boston Consulting Group and Past Chairman, National Geographic Partners; Sarah O’Brien, Vice President of Communications at Meta; James Ransom, who serves as a Board Member and the Chair of Economic Development at the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs, and who is featured in the beloved StoryCorps recording and animation “Miss Devine”; and bestselling author Jason Reynolds, who is also the Library of Congress’ National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and was once a StoryCorps interview facilitator.

StoryCorps CEO Sandra M. Clark says, “StoryCorps is an organization dedicated to seeking out, recording, preserving, and sharing the stories and insights of people of all backgrounds and beliefs and will be better able to serve its mission with the invaluable perspectives of these new Board members, a diverse group of leaders with a wide range of expertise. I’m excited to work closely with them to help StoryCorps make an even greater impact in the years ahead.”

These changes to the Board occur at a time of strength and growth for StoryCorps. The organization has recorded almost 600,000 Americans—making its archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress the largest collection of human voices ever gathered. In February 2022, StoryCorps welcomed Sandra M. Clark, previously Vice President for News and Civic Dialogue at WHYY, Inc., as CEO. StoryCorps has more than doubled its annual revenue, to $15 million, since 2014 and in January 2022 was profiled by CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

Dane Holmes, the new Chair of StoryCorps’ Board of Directors, says, “StoryCorps’ mission of creating human connection, empathy, and understanding is as critical as ever. In these challenging times, StoryCorps has both the people and the will to take on the extraordinary task of reminding us of our shared humanity. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to play a small part in this essential effort, and to continue working closely with Vic in our new roles. I also want to thank Marta for her leadership, which is just one of the numerous ventures she has undertaken in her service to others. She has our eternal gratitude, and we will carry on in a way that honors her significant contributions.”

About Dane E. Holmes, Vic Parker, and the New Board Members

Dane. E. Holmes is the Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Eskalera, Inc., an enterprise software company that builds inclusive, productive work cultures through people empowerment and data-based insights, since 2020. Prior to Eskalera, Holmes was the global head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs from 2017 to 2019 and served as a member of the firm’s Management Committee. He held many positions at Goldman Sachs from 2007 to 2017, including global head of Pine Street and global head of investor relations. During his career, he served on a variety of additional global committees, including Partnership Committee, Risk Committee, Client and Business Standards Committee, Finance Committee, and Global Diversity Committee. Holmes serves on the board of KKR & Co. Inc. Holmes also serves on several non-profit boards. He is currently the Chair of The Ron Brown Scholar Program. Holmes earned a BA in architecture from Columbia University.

Vic Parker joined Spectrum Equity in 1998 and is a Managing Director in San Francisco. His investment experience includes both consumer facing and vertical saas software businesses in industry segments such as edtech, healthcare IT, logistics, and internet information services. He has led Spectrum’s efforts with companies including Ancestry, TeachersPayTeachers, Lynda.com, SurveyMonkey, GoodRx, NetQuote, ExamSoft, DispatchTrack, and NetScreen. Parker previously served on the Board of the NVCA and is a member of the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund. He holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and an AB, magna cum laude, from Dartmouth College.

Aaron M. Bates is Head, Private Wealth Platform and Partnerships at AllianceBernstein, overseeing the firm’s content creation and distribution, marketing strategy, and third-party product and service partnerships. Prior to his current position, Bates was head of Bernstein’s Wealth Strategies team and served as senior managing director. Previously, from Boston, he led Bernstein’s Northeast Private Wealth practice. From 2005 to 2010, he worked in London on the launch of the firm’s global private client practice in Europe; he was appointed Principal in 2008. Prior to that, Bates was based in New York, where he oversaw the Northeast U.S. Private Wealth Management Services Group and served as an analyst in the Private Wealth Management Executive Group. He previously served in the Executive Office of the President of the United States, Office of the US Trade Representative. He has twice been selected to represent the U.S. at the German Marshall Fund’s Conference on Transatlantic Relations. Bates holds a BA in international affairs from George Washington University. He holds Board positions at WGBH Boston, the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, and the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

Giovanna Gray Lockhart’s career has spanned politics, media, entrepreneurship, and gender equity. She served as a senior aide to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from 2010 to 2014 and was the Washington Editor of Glamour Magazine from 2014 to 2017. She currently serves as Senior Advisor to Paid Leave for the US (PL+US), advocating for the passage of federal paid family leave. Prior to the pandemic, Lockhart held senior roles at venture-backed coworking companies, first as the Senior Director of Impact at The Wing and then as Chief Strategy Officer at The Riveter. She is on the Board of Republic Restoratives, a woman-owned spirits company in Washington, D.C. Lockhart co-chairs the New York Women’s Collective, a political giving group she founded in 2017 that has contributed over $1,000,000 for Democratic women candidates.

Miriam Hess is a principal at Siegel Strategies, a political communications firm representing clients nationwide. She is a graduate of George Washington University and Saint Louis University schools of Law and Public Health. She began her career focusing on access to healthcare including critical services with the New York Department of Homeless Services under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, where she worked to reform the NYC Shelter system. Hess is also a volunteer with Ubuntu Africa, which delivers critical services to children and teens living with HIV/AIDS in Khayelitsha, South Africa, and she serves on the Board of Basic Health International.

Gary Knell has led some of the world’s most iconic organizations at the intersection of media, education, and social impact. He has served as President and CEO of National Geographic, NPR, and Sesame Workshop. He achieved a breakthrough restructuring of National Geographic, fully endowing the not-for-profit, now providing grants and resources for individuals working on climate, wildlife, oceans, and other critical global challenges, and creating a historic partnership with The Walt Disney Company. Knell led NPR through its digital transformation and expansion into the podcasting space and built bipartisan support for its critical work. Today, he serves as a Senior Advisor to the Boston Consulting Group in its Media and Social Impact practices, as Executive Chairman of Common Sense Classroom, as Special Advisor to Esri on consumer applications for its StoryMaps products, and Advisor to HonorEd Technologies. As the former Chairman of National Geographic Partners, Knell is a sought-after board member and counselor to organizations including the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the US Global Leadership Coalition, the Economic Club of Washington, WAMU, and the University of California Berkeley School of Journalism.

Sarah O’Brien has been the Vice President, Communications for Meta (previously Facebook) since 2019. From 2016-2018, O’Brien was the Vice President of Global Communications for Tesla, reporting directly to CEO Elon Musk, launching Model 3, Solar Roof, and Tesla’s Semi Truck. For eight years prior to that, she worked at Apple, leading comms for Apple Watch, in addition to global launches for iPhone, iPad, App Store, and the iTunes music festival. Originally from Ireland (via the UK), O’Brien launched her career in the music industry, first as PR Manager for the UK music industry association PPL, and then at EMI Music Publishing. She has a BA in Entertainment Management from LIPA (the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts) and a Mini-MBA in Business Management from the University of London and studied music and performance at the BRIT School for performing arts and technology. She currently lives in Oakland, California.

James Ransom is a civic leader in Tampa, Florida. He is a Board member of the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs and serves on the Board of Visit Tampa Bay. He recruited a number of other men in the community to formalize a mentoring and leadership program with Black youth and young professionals. Its goal is to help develop and nurture future leaders who will represent all people. Ransom and his cousin Cherie Johnson are featured in the beloved StoryCorps recording “Miss Devine,” in which they recall their formidable Sunday school teacher, Miss Lizzie Devine. “Miss Devine” is part of StoryCorps’ first-ever half-hour animated special, Listening Is an Act of Love.

Jason Reynolds is the author of more than a dozen books for young people, including Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, a National Book Award finalist that was named a Best Book of 2019 by NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and TIME. A native of Washington, D.C., Reynolds began writing poetry at age nine and is the recipient of a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, an NAACP Image Award and multiple Coretta Scott King Award honors. His most recent book (with Ibram X. Kendi), Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Reynolds is the Library of Congress’s National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and has appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and CBS This Morning. He is on faculty at Lesley University, for the Writing for Young People MFA Program.

About StoryCorps

Founded in 2003, StoryCorps has given nearly 600,000 people, in all 50 states, the chance to record interviews about their lives. The award-winning organization preserves the recordings in its archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered, and shares select stories with the public through StoryCorps’ podcast, NPR broadcasts, animated shorts, digital platforms, and best-selling books. These powerful human stories reflect the vast range of American experiences, engender empathy and connection, and remind us how much more we have in common than what divides us. StoryCorps is especially committed to capturing and amplifying voices least heard in the media. The StoryCorps MobileBooth, an Airstream trailer that has been transformed into a traveling recording booth, crisscrosses the country year-round gathering the stories of people nationwide. Learn more at storycorps.org.

StoryCorps on “60 Minutes”

Photo by Giovanna Lockhart

Photo by Giovanna Lockhart

We hope you were able to tune into 60 Minutes” on Sunday, January 9, 2022. StoryCorps—a nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs—was honored to be the subject of a feature on the premier newsmagazine program. But, if you missed it, you’re in luck–we’ve included it below. You can also watch StoryCorps on “60 Minutes” Overtime here.

Watch the full “60 Minutes” segment here.

The segment, hosted by correspondent Norah O’Donnell, profiles the growth of StoryCorps from its inception in 2003, when founder and award-winning journalist Dave Isay established a single recording booth in Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal, to today. As of 2021, more than 600,000 Americans have participated in a StoryCorps interview, preserving a piece of personal history in the archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and contributing to the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered. 

Norah interviews a number of people associated with the organization, including Dave, Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden, and award-winning author and former StoryCorps facilitator Jason Reynolds. “60 Minutes” also visited StoryCorps’ headquarters in Brooklyn, where they filmed Dave leading an advisory meeting and a StoryCorps facilitator training, among other activities.

The feature also spotlights one of StoryCorps’ more recent and ambitious projects, One Small Step. Piloted in 2018, One Small Step brings people with different political views together to record a 50-minute conversation with each other about their lives, not politics and to date, more than 2,000 people in 40 cities have participated. 

One Small Step is anchored in four U.S. cities, with an aim to connect people and reinforce the notion that we have much more in common than what divides us. StoryCorps gave “60 Minutes” unprecedented access to One Small Step conversations as they unfolded in Richmond, Virginia this fall and they also caught up with Dave in Charlottesville, Virginia, as he gave a speech at a kick-off event for the organization’s partnership with the UVA Democracy Initiative.


One Small Step is made possible by the generous support of The Hearthland Foundation, the Fetzer Institute, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Charles Koch Institute.

 

A Daily Dose of Humanity

Whether you are new to StoryCorps or have been with us since the beginning, take a few minutes to explore some of our favorite uplifting, inspiring, and laugh-out-loud stories.


 

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"Do you have any different take on that story?"
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A Family That Knows How to Laugh at Itself

Laura Greenberg grew up as part of a gregarious family in Queens, New York. Her upbringing that couldn’t be more different than that of her husband, Carl. At StoryCorps, they told their daughter about those early days — terrible first kiss and all.
Read the full transcript here.


 

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"If you need me to hold your hand, I'm there."
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A Good Day on NYC Public Transit

Subway conductor Paquita Williams brings extra TLC to the line she runs on New York City transit. Laura Lane, one of her passengers, took her to StoryCorps to remember the day they met.
Read the full transcript here.


 


Two by Two

Two identical brides. Two identical grooms. Two unique love stories. Hunny and Elliot Reiken reflect on 61 years of marriage.
Read the full transcript here.


 

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"When I first bought the building, everybody thought that I was crazy."
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Making a Comeback, Brick by Brick, After Katrina

Burnell Cotlon remembers taking a chance: opening a grocery store in New Orlean’s Lower Ninth Ward, where food was not available to local residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Read the full transcript here.


 


The Temple of Knowledge

For avid readers, spending a night in a library might be a dream come true. Growing up, Ronald Clark lived in one — a branch of the New York Public Library, to be exact.
Read the full transcript here.


 

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"We see each other every day, every minute of every day."
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A Three-in-One Package

Sometimes it takes a kid’s perspective to brighten your day, so today we’re bringing you three. These triplets have spent their entire lives together, and shared everything from a birthday to a bedroom.
Read the full transcript here.


 

To R.P. Salazar, With Love

Rachel P. Salazar and Ruben P. Salazar were living 9,000 miles apart and completely unaware of each other. Then a typo brought them together, and their love story began.
Read the full transcript here.


 

Clean Streets

Sanitation workers Angelo Bruno and Eddie Nieves worked together for nearly 10 years on the same garbage route in Manhattan’s West Village and became fixtures in the community.
Read the full transcript here.


 

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"By the time I was in the second grade, everyone was calling me Raymond."
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Facundo the Great

Ramón  “Chunky” Sanchez remembers how teachers at his local elementary school Anglicized the Mexican American students’ names. One classmate proved to be the exception to the rule.
Read the full transcript here.


 

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"Why are you asking these questions?"
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Why Can’t We Own A Rollercoaster?

Nine-year-old Isaiah Fredericks and his younger brother, Josiah, used their StoryCorps interview to ask their dad, Kevin, some hard-hitting questions.
Read the full transcript here.

Celebrating the Stories of Chicago

Goodbyes are bittersweet. After more than eight years — and many wonderful interviews — in the region, StoryCorps is closing its operations and recording booth in Chicago in September 2021.

We’re proud to have had a booth and exhibition space at the Chicago Cultural Center and to have partnered with WBEZ 91.5 FM to preserve, share, and broadcast this city’s stories.

We want to especially thank our Chicago-based staff for their thoughtfulness, care, and excellence throughout the years.

Listen to the voices of Chicago

Since we first opened the recording booth, we’ve been bowled over by the heart of our Chicago storytellers. We’ve rounded up a few favorites below, but there are so many more to listen to in the Chicago Collection. 

Gloria Allen and Charlene Carruthers

Charlene and Gloria talk about growing up in Chicago, their sexual orientations and gender identities, and how LGBTQ terminology has changed over the years. Gloria shares stories about being gay and then transitioning, and living an out life in both Chicago and New York.

Alaa Basatneh and Zainab Khan

Zainab interviews Syrian human rights activist Alaa about her experience using social media to aid protesters on the ground in Syria, a passion that resulted in a death threat from the Syrian regime. Alaa’s parents taught her that even though she was living in Chicago, she should never forget the people in Syria.

Yvonne Orr-El and Kimberley Rudd

Yvonne talks to her friend Kimberley about the impact that her revolutionary parents have had on her life. She talks about finding truth under layers of family secrets, what her activism looks like today, and the importance of “thriving instead of just surviving life.”

Nancy Faust Jenkins and Beth Finke

Nancy talks to her friend Beth about her career as an organist for the Chicago White Sox. They talk about how Nancy’s music helped Beth follow baseball games after she lost her sight, and how they met and became friends.

Raymundo Gomez Hernandez and Alexander Ewers

Raymundo talks to his husband Alexander about growing up in Mexico City knowing at an early age that he was gay, even before he knew there was a word for it. He talks about heroes, his experience at a “church camp” (actually conversion therapy) in Mexico, his religious beliefs, and how their first date ended with Alexander uttering, “Bye, I love you,” which they laugh about now.

Vishal Bhuva and Parag Bhuva

Brothers Vishal and Parag talk about their family role models and the cultural principles that influenced their career choices in public service. They discuss the challenges and fulfilling aspects of their work, and how they balance work, family, and personal growth. Vishal reads a poem he wrote after a 30 hour shift at the ER at Cook County Hospital.

Ashley Galvan Ramos and Christian Diaz

Christian interviews his friend Ashley about her activism in the Logan Square community. She also shares her family’s story of displacement, and talks about carrying on with the Chinelos’ traditions.

Wanda Bridgeforth and Beth Finke

Wanda Bridgeforth is interviewed by her friend Beth Finke about growing up in Bronzeville, Chicago, her time at DuSable High School, and her love of writing.

Cindy Alvarado and Astrid Tamer

Cindy and Astrid are friends and fellow advocates at Mujeres Latinas En Acción. They have a conversation about their work as volunteers in the Sexual Assault Program, and they also talk about the friendship they have forged.

Tania Cordova and Emmanuel Garcia

Emmanuel interviews his best friend Tania about the challenges as a Trans Latinx woman. Tania also talks about her new project called “SER el cambio,” a transitional housing center for the Trans community of Chicago.
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"Mauricio was able to teach us to live in the moment... life is a party. Enjoy it."
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Jessica Valdivia and Jorge Valdivia

Jorge Valdivia and his sister Jessica Valdivia honor the memory of their older brother Mauricio Valdivia who died in Chicago of COVID-19. They reminisce about their favorite memories growing up with someone full of life who “went out of their way for their family.” They also discuss their experience with grief and loss during the pandemic. Read the full transcript here.

 

From the Archive: More Voices of Chicago

Our partner WBEZ celebrated years of powerful conversation by putting together a weeklong tribute to commemorate the closing of the Chicago booth. Here is a selection of the stories that highlight the participants’ voices who opened up and shared their stories.
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“A lot of kids don’t have a crazy dad to keep pushing them”

Garry Scott Mitchell Junior, better known as Scottie, is currently attending Harvard for his doctorate in Education. His father, Garry Scott Mitchell Senior, was there every step of the way, guiding his son through his journey. Scottie and Garry sit down and reflect on the moments that forged his path today.
 
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“Being able to forgive makes more life possible”

Lisa Daniels’ son Darren was killed in a drug deal gone wrong. Lisa sits down with her friend Sherri Allen-Reaves to discuss the violent circumstances of her son’s death. She revisits the events of the night when she lost her son in hopes of redefining his legacy.

 


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“We hope we do a good job”

Meg and Bobby Hart met in the Peace Corps when they both were serving in West Africa. They fell in love and got married. Bobby and Meg come to StoryCorps as they share their journey of becoming parents. They discuss their hopes and fears of their unfolding future.

 


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“Nobody else does what you do”

Ellen Hughes feared for the life of her son Walker, who has autism, after he had an adverse reaction to a new medication. Then they met Public Safety Sergeant Keith Miller in the ER, who helped Ellen’s son — and herself — get the care they needed.

 


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“Know that they are seen”

Sonia Wang was a child of immigrants who had hopes of their daughter living the American dream as a doctor or a lawyer. Instead, she became a teacher on the south side of Chicago. Through her passions and dedication to work that supported a community she loved, Sonia was able to share the joy that her work brought her with her parents. She comes to StoryCorps to share how her parents handled her career choice.

 


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“My disabled body is my happy ending”

Anja Herman spends most of her time playing piano, taking Chinese classes, and doing ballet. On top of an already hectic schedule for a nine-year-old, Anja has another hurdle that most kids her age do not face—a physical disability. She opens up to her aunt Andrea Korovesis as they discuss the difficulties of juggling these challenges.

 


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“I can’t wait to build a future with you”

Arianna Hermosillo is a journalist who was covering a protest about the anti-immigration legislation when she met Irakere Picon, an undocumented immigration lawyer. The pair hit it off and went on their first date a few months later. Arianna and Irakere came to the Chicago booth to discuss their fears around Irakere’s work but left with their future in mind.

 


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“Coming out at age 12”

Carter Wagner knew he was gay from a young age but did not come out to his parents. When he was twelve years old, Carter decided that he could no longer keep such a large part of his life a secret. He and his mother Nicole sat down with StoryCorps to discuss the feelings and emotions leading up to coming out.

 


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How a Streets and San man saved the day when the Chicago River flooded the Loop

John Wahlfedt played an important role in a dramatic piece of Chicago history—the devastating flooding of underground tunnels in the Loop. His love for trains led him to learn about a forgotten train tunnel system beneath downtown Chicago. Knowing the underground tunnel, John was able to limit the damage caused by the flood. He came to StoryCorps to share his side of the story.

 


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“You believed in me when you didn’t know me”

Tiffany Baker was a troubled youth when she met Terri Treiman. Terri was one of the many social workers assigned to Tiffany. Unlike the other adults in Tiffany’s life, Terri remained patient and compassionate with the difficulties that came with their relationship. Years later, the impact of Terri’s approach inspired Tiffany to pay the kindness forward to kids in a similar position as her. They sat down with StoryCorps to reflect on the blessings that leap of faith brought them.

 


 

Our booth in Chicago may be closed, but it’s never been easier to record a StoryCorps interview with the important people in your life. Find out how to record your conversations remotely with Storycorps Connect.

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.

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"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.
story
“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.
story
“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.
story
"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.

Commemorating the Lives Lost During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In recognition of this unprecedented time and the many lives lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, StoryCorps would like to create a space for reflection and remembrance.

StoryCorps invites families and friends to record a conversation celebrating the life and legacy of loved ones who have died. Each conversation will be archived at the Library of Congress, where family members can access these memories for generations to come.

Your conversations can center around memories of the person who has died — what they mean to you, how they changed you, or anything else you’d like to share. You might describe the person’s character, what brought them joy, or the impact they had on your life. You may complete your tribute by uploading photos as well.

We hope these conversations can bring comfort and space for reflection by helping families and communities mourn. We acknowledge that people process loss in different ways and on different timetables and hope this guide can be helpful as you consider recording a memorial conversation.


Preparing Yourself for a Memorial Conversation

• There is no right or wrong way to have this conversation. All feelings are welcome.

• Be curious and open to surprises. Conversations about grief can go in unexpected directions.

• What you discuss is up to you. You don’t have to share anything that you don’t wish to talk about.

• Listen closely to one another. Repeating back what your partner says can be affirming for them and helpful in forming your next question.

• It’s okay to move on from certain questions, have moments of silence throughout your conversation or try recording another day.

• Allow your partner to talk about their experiences in their own words; try asking general, open-ended questions that don’t assume answers.

• Remember to check in with each other before, during, and after your conversation.


Suggested Questions for COVID-19 Memorial Conversations

Here are some questions to ask, though we also welcome you to make up your own. The person you record with will naturally shape the direction of the conversation.

• What advice would you offer to others who are going through this experience?

• What do you miss most about _____________?

• Do you have one or two favorite memories of _____________?

• Is there anything else you want the world to know about _____________?

Download (PDF): Access more resources for recording a COVID-19 memorial, including additional suggested questions, in this printable guide.

How to Record a Memorial Conversation

  1. Find someone with whom you feel comfortable speaking about your loved one, and set aside time to record an intentional conversation. Together, review our list of memorial questions, and choose 5 to 10 to begin your conversation. Decide on a date and time to record.
  2. If you two are social distancing, record on StoryCorps Connect. If you are physically together, record with the StoryCorps App. You’ll need an account to start, so create one ahead of time.
  3. Discuss the privacy settings with your partner. Your interview may be public, private, or available only to the StoryCorps online community. You can agree ahead of time; you can also choose after finishing your conversation. Additionally, you’ll be able to change your privacy settings at any time.
  4. Start the memorial by sharing your names and the date. Then introduce the name of the person you’re remembering, their relationship to you and the other person recording, and when and where they died. For example, “My name is Rhonda Petrovic, and my name is Jovan Petrovic, and we’re recording on June 24, 2020. Today we are remembering our mother, Dragana Petrovic. She passed away from COVID-19 on May 19, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York.”
  5. Continue by asking questions of one another and sharing important memories. You can find additional interview tips below.
  6. After your interview, enter your summary, title, and keywords, including the keywords COVID MEMORIALS and your loved one’s name.
  7. Thank your partner for sharing this experience with you. Share your memorial with people who knew your loved one and might want to listen to the conversation. You can also share your memorial on social media, and tag #COVIDMEMORIALS and @StoryCorps.

 


Selected Stories About Loss

Watch, listen to, and share the stories below about loss and love:

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"I heard her say, 'Don’t you be no sad mama for my grandbaby!'"
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Walking in a Mother’s Legacy

Sada Jackson, who lost her mother, Ileana Watson, to breast cancer, just before becoming a mother herself, sits down with her mother’s best friend to look back.
Read the full transcript here.

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“I thought “you know if you don't try, you’ll always regret it”. So I wrote her a letter…”
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The Risk That Led Him To The Love Of His Life

Eddie Chang talks to his youngest daughter, Tria, about the week that sparked a romance that would last four decades, and about all that he still loves about his late wife, E. F. Wen.
Read the full transcript here.

 

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"His hands were those of someone who worked since the age of six."
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His Grandfather, the Gardener

Santiago Arredondo honors his grandfather, Jose Guadalupe Enrique Sanchez, whose portrait he has tattooed on his arm.
Read the full transcript here.

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“It’s really surprising the amount of life lessons you can learn in a kitchen if you have the right teacher.”
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A Grandmother’s Wisdom

Chloe Longfellow remembers the happy memories and life lessons taught to her by her grandmother, many of which took place in the kitchen.
Read the full transcript here.

 

Reflecting on the Murder of George Floyd & the Spring 2020 Black Lives Matter Demonstrations

StoryCorps has created a space for reflections about the murder of George Floyd and the demonstrations that followed. We invite you to record a conversation which can be archived at the Library of Congress, where future generations can listen to and learn from this moment in the struggle for racial justice.

We each process events in different ways and on different timetables. People may feel energized, activated, angry, cynical, or every shade in between. We welcome the entire constellation of emotion and perspective. Regardless of circumstance, StoryCorps strives to provide a safe environment to share your stories.

We encourage you to talk with a loved one or friend, recording your perspective about how race has informed your life and your feelings about the events of Spring 2020. We honor the opportunity to hold, preserve, and share your story.

Overview of the Interview Process

Here are the steps to record. You can also access them, along with suggested questions, recording pairings, and framing for your conversation in this downloadable document.

  1. Choose a person in your life with whom you’d like to share a reflective discussion on the topic.
  2. Familiarize yourself with StoryCorps Connect or with our App. On each platform, you can review our question list and hoped-for outcomes, and decide on which questions you’ll ask one another. Feel free to create your own questions as well.
  3. Agree on a time when you will meet for your interview and enjoy your conversation.
  4. When filling out your post-interview information form, tag the interview with the keyword “George Floyd Protests 2020
  5. Share your interview with friends and family or on social media.

 

 

Download (PDF): More Resources for Talking About the Murder of George Floyd & the Spring 2020 Black Lives Matter Demonstrations

Suggested Questions To Start Your Conversation

Here are some questions to ask, though we also welcome you to make up your own. The person you record with will naturally shape the direction of the conversation. We encourage intergenerational pairings: someone who is older and has had experiences that they are willing to share with someone who is younger. We also invite you to have a conversation with a peer or friend with whom you have shared experiences that impacted you both.

Click here for even more question suggestions.

Selected Stories

Watch, listen to, and share stories about racism experienced by Black Americans in these animations:

Traffic Stop

Note: The audio contains graphic descriptions of violence and the web post with the transcript contains a graphic photograph.
Alex Landau, an African American man, was raised by his adoptive white parents to believe that skin color didn’t matter. When Alex was pulled over by Denver police officers one night in 2009, he lost his belief in a color-blind world—and nearly lost his life.
Read the full transcript here.

A More Perfect Union

When Theresa Burroughs came of voting age, she was ready to cast her ballot—but she had a long fight ahead of her. During the Jim Crow era, the board of registrars at Alabama’s Hale County Courthouse prevented African American people from registering to vote. Undeterred, Theresa remembers venturing to the courthouse on the first and third Monday of each month, in pursuit of her right to vote.
Read the full transcript here.

Lessons Learned

From the first roll call of the 1964 school year, William Lynn Weaver was targeted by white teachers at the Tennessee high school he and thirteen other black students integrated. A few weeks later, Weaver, a former high achiever, brought home a failing report card. What happened next still moves him.
Read the full transcript here.

School’s Out

Reverend James Seawood grew up in the 1950s in Sheridan, Arkansas, and attended an all-black school. The town’s main employer and landlord was a lumber mill. Following the federal mandate to integrate the public schools, the mill forced its African American employees and tenants out of town. As the population diminished, James’ mother became his school’s principal, janitor, and whatever else was needed.
Read the full transcript here.

Silvia’s Legacy

Ellaraino experienced a common teenage reaction when she learned she’d have to leave Los Angeles to spend the summer in Louisiana with her great-grandmother, Silvia. Less common was Ellaraino’s realization that Silvia had lived through the Civil War, and had a lot to teach her great-granddaughter about the true meaning of freedom.
Read the full transcript here.

 

Celebrate Graduation with StoryCorps

Who were you when you started school?
Who are you now?
Who helped you get there?

Graduation is going to look a little different this year. As a way to help celebrate the achievements of students everywhere, StoryCorps is encouraging them to record a StoryCorps conversation with one of the people who helped them reach this exciting milestone.

Record their stories

Invite the students in your life to record a StoryCorps story with one of the people who helped them reach this exciting milestone.

Students’ interviews will be archived at the Library of Congress, becoming part of American history. Hundreds of years from now, future generations will listen in.

Great Questions Are a Great Place To Start

Not sure where to start? Here are some Great Questions to ask. You can download the full list here, use one of the selected questions below, or make up your own!

 

 

Stories Celebrating Milestones and the People Who Helped Along the Way

Listen and share from our selection of stories:

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.

Double Major

When Wil Smith enrolled as a freshman in college, he brought an unusual roommate with him — his infant daughter. Wil and Olivia look back together on their days as college roommates.
Read the full transcript here.


Growing up, it was rare for Raymond Blanks to have teachers who looked like him — until he walked into Sean Lloyd’s 7th grade classroom. Now a middle school math teacher, Raymond tells Sean how he influenced Raymond’s life’s work.

 

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"Everywhere we went my mother would make sure that they enrolled us in school."
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Everywhere We Went, My Mother Would Make Sure That They Enrolled Us In School

Lourdes Villanueva talks to her son Roger about growing up in a family of migrant workers, and the dedication and hard work she put in to get her GED—and her desire to graduate before her own children got their diplomas.
Read the full transcript here.

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"I told you that one day, you were going to go here to Stanford."
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I Told You That One Day, You Were Going to Go Here to Stanford

Francisco Preciado, who dreamed of one day becoming a teacher but was forced to drop out of school due to financial demands, and his son Frankie came to StoryCorps to talk about their relationship and their time together at Stanford — one as a maintenance man, the other as a student.
Read the full transcript here.