Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The best two years so far. Help make the next two years even better!

Dear Participants and Friends of 
The Best Day of My Life (So Far),
Last Monday, I was greeted by this subject line in my inbox –

"Please Thank Isadora for Me"

The last story on our blog, written by Isadora, was dedicated to her daughter and was written one week before Isadora's daughter passed away. Isadora's story prompted Christine, a blog reader from all the way up in Montreal, to reach out to her mom and to email us. The title of the story is "You are My Sunshine".

Isadora’s story and Christine’s email, along with hundreds of others that I have received, remind me of why I started The Best Day of My Life (So Far). At the same time, they surprise me with how deep, and how big, this project has grown.

Two years ago, my grandma's friendship inspired me to start a class and a blog. Since then, our class has become a true family, joining together 100 seniors with ages from mid-60s to 90s, 20 teens, and 40 international volunteers with ages ranging from 16 to 78.  Our blog, which streams stories directly to Facebook and Twitter, have become our extended family, surpassing 16,000 hits by readers from over 60 countries.

In two years, we have hosted and participated in 10 events, bringing our seniors’ stories to the stage and the screen for 900 audience members. We are regularly featured in the press, on radio programs and at public conferences. This summer, we launched a satellite class in partnership with AARP. We have received the Leeway Foundation’s Art and Change Award, and were listed as finalists for Deaconness Associations Foundation’s Innovation Award and National Center for Creative Aging and Martek Biosciences’ Beautiful Minds Award. Along this journey, a growing list of individuals and organizations from all over the world are reaching out to us requesting advice and resources to start similar classes.

We want to keep going.

We want to keep stories like Isadora's going strong.

We want to see more seniors and younger people experience our project’s diverse benefits, from quality of life, family reconnection, computer education, civic engagement, to mental health.

In the next two years, we plan to capture our storytelling methodology in a compact form, and take it worldwide – so that stories like "You are My Sunshine" can be told around the world, and so that the people who have stories to share can experience the joy and support our seniors in Philadelphia have. We want to strengthen the class that we have here, and help these seniors become the role models for a global effort.

I would like to personally ask for your help to help us accomplish our work and mission:

$10 would make possible class supplies for a senior for a full year.

$100 would make possible administrative costs for one ongoing class.
$1500 would make possible one public event.
$2500 would help us build a more sustainable and interactive website.

I believe in this project. I believe our work has just begun, and with your help we can make great changes at a much larger scale.  Donations of any size would be appreciated. To contribute, please click Here or the donation banner at the top of our blog: www.thebestdayofmylifesofar.com.

Please consider forwarding this letter to friends whom you think may be interested in contributing. And a reminder to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter – those are the easiest way to read stories as they get posted and let seniors know you are reading!

Every time Isadora writes a story in class, she begins with, “The best day of my life is today,” regardless of what that day’s story is about. Her final dedication to her daughter was no exception:
The best day of my life is today. This sun is shining. No clouds in the sky. You are the sunshine of my life. That’s why I am always hanging around you. From the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, you are my sunshine. Morning, noon, and night you are my sunshine, my only sunshine. I can’t stay away from you. You are irresistible. You are my only sunshine. You are my beautiful daughter.

Thank you so much for your support,