By Paulette Aniskoff, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Engagement
Stories form the fabric of who we are — they inspire us to be better people, help us find common ground through shared experience, and remind us where we came from. Storytelling is an art that connects generations. That’s why the White House Conference on Aging and StoryCorps are working together to help older Americans document and share their stories.
To get things started, StoryCorps pulled together an inspiring set of interviews featuring older Americans from their archives. The stories are those of sweetness and sorrow, laughter and tears.
- Sisters Priya Morganstern and Bhavani Jaroff interview their father, Ken Morganstern, about what it’s like to live with Alzheimer's disease.
- Frank Curre recalls the attack on Pearl Harbor, memories he says are tattooed on his soul.
- Bobbi Cote-Whitacre tells the story of the joyous day she was finally able to marry her wife, Sandi.
- Betty Jenkins, 94, tells a story about the early days of commercial air travel and a wardrobe malfunction at 30,000 feet.
Stories are timeless and can be enjoyed by generations to come.
In celebration of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, I encourage you to interview somebody from a different generation. Interview an older adult, or somebody who is making a difference for older Americans in your community. This year, we are celebrating the 50th anniversaries of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security. Tell us about the difference these programs have made in your life or the lives of your family, friends and neighbors. All of these stories together are patches in the quilt that is the great American story.
You can use the StoryCorps app to record your interview, then post it on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #WHCOA.
To record an interview using the StoryCorps app:
- Visit https://storycorps.me/ and download the free public beta mobile app from the iTunes store (Apple users) or Google Play store (Android users).
- Choose your interview partner.
- Use the question generator in the app to plan your interview. The generator contains questions on a variety of topics – including grandparents, family heritage, remembering a loved one, love and relationships. It also allows you to write your own questions.
- Record the interview using the app on your phone, which serves as a digital facilitator that will guide you through the process of preparation, recording, and archiving your conversation.
- Tag recordings with general keyword “WHCOA” (for White House Conference on Aging).
- Upload your recording to StoryCorps to be archived in the Library of Congress.
- Share your recording on Twitter and Facebook using the #WHCOA hashtag.
For more information about recording your interview, visit the StoryCorps.me website. To listen to stories of older Americans selected from the StoryCorps archives, visit http://StoryCorps.org/WHCOA.
You can also share your story on the White House Conference on Aging website. We look forward to hearing from you!
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