The story of a chance meeting. The story of when you fell in love. The story of a life-changing trip. The story about the time you made a decision that changed the course of your life. Our stories are our legacy, precious and unique, and play a large part in making us who we are.
Some family stories might get passed down through the generations, but no one tells the story better than the person who lived it, which is why capturing these stories on video or documenting them on paper is a priceless family heirloom.
Last week I was invited to a special media event to experience a new program in the Fullerton school district. The fifth graders from Laguna Road School are the first to participate in the district’s new “Story Angels” program where students interview and film seniors about a life-changing event they experienced.
The 5th grade students were paired with one senior in teams of four kids at the beautiful Morningside retirement community for this very special project.
You guys, my heartstrings were tugged at every turn watching these two very different generations interact together.
The first time the kids met their senior partner, they brought only their ears and notebooks as they listened to their stories.
Stories of surviving childhood polio, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, tending to the animals on the farm and having a goat as a pet, moving to the banks of the Amazon in Brazil at the age of 11 with missionary parents. Life events, that probably sounded astonishing to the 10 and 11 year olds.
Honing their narrative writing skills, the children then worked on their own individual essays about their senior, which were fact checked via mail by the residents. One of the students showed me her essay. Can you even get over the first paragraph she wrote? I got the chills.
For the second meeting, students were armed with iPads provided by the Fullerton School District and the teams videoed their senior telling the story of this life event.
The students shared with me that they will then take the footage and learn how to edit it into one film.
The district and Morningside plan to hold an event next month in which the student projects will be screened and the final video heirlooms will be presented to the seniors and their families.
Make Your Own Story Angels Project
I was so touched by this I am completely inspired to have my girls work on a Story Angels project like this with each of their grandparents.
The obvious choice in a family would be to do interview the grandparents or a relative, but the senior could be anyone close to your family and it would make such a special gift.
These days with our aging family members are precious. I know. Now is the time to capturing their stories for generations to come.