Thursday, January 26, 2012

Please imagine. Please help.

Our team has the track record, vision and action plan to create an all-new, interactive website that will provide quality of life and intergenerational relationships to seniors, teens,  families, and readers like you worldwide.

But first, we need to raise $15,000 to get started with the first phase of story content management and web development. We need your help to reach this goal. Please consider donating Here and forwarding this personal letter from Benita to your friends and family.

Dear Readers and Friends of The Best Day of My Life (So Far), 

Imagine a world where storytelling classes like ours sprout up in countless senior centers, and one by one seniors become stronger and happier and begin opening up about their lives and feelings.

Imagine a world where family members spread across cities and continents can get online and search for all the stories that a senior has written about his childhood, to find out things about him and their ancestry that they had never known.

Imagine this family starting to talk – to the senior, and to one another. Imagine family relationships rekindling with each conversation.

Imagine a high school teacher sharing these seniors’ stories with a group of teenagers on a projection screen, and a teenager going home to her laptop to read on. Imagine this teenager listening, really listening, to the life lessons embedded in these stories. Imagine her posting a comment for the senior on the other side of the world who wrote her favorite story, telling the senior that he has inspired her to be a better person.

Imagine people like you and me, no matter our age, ethnicity, occupation, mood of the day, frustrations, inhibitions, popping open an easy-to-use website with all these stories whenever we just need a little more sunshine in our lives.

Imagine this world with me and please help us get there.

Since 2009, I have met every Thursday with a growing group of seniors at Philadelphia Senior Center for our storytelling class, encouraging them to tell their stories with pen and paper – and simultaneously built a digital readership and Facebook and Twitter fanbase to show the seniors that people really do care. In two years, class roster has surpassed 100; attendance has surpassed 2000; readership of has surpassed 16000 hits from over 60 countries.

In addition, our supplementary events and programming have been attended by 900 audience members; our volunteer base is 40-person strong with ages ranging from 16 to 78; and an international wait list of senior centers has formed requesting training and advice to launch similar programs. Our partners include major organizations such as AARP, Free Library of Philadelphia, and The Philadelphia Foundation. Wharton School of Business and University of South Australia are some of the institutions that have researched and documented our project’s unique methods and benefits.

I began this project because my grandma’s stories have given us a deep, life-changing friendship, and I want to share my personal experience with as many people as I can reach.  I believe my team and my work has just begun. I believe that with digital expansion, this project can reach thousands more people in every of the 60 countries where our readers live.

Thank you for reading this letter. Please consider donating using the Donation Button on our website. Any dollar amount would help. And please forward this letter to help us spread the word.


Benita Cooper
Founder and Executive Director
The Best Day of My Life (So Far)