Friday, September 5, 2014

A Powerful Testimonial and a Heartfelt Thankyou

An older adult writes and speaks, and a young person transcribes the heartfelt words into typed text. It’s a beautiful partnership across time.

The words of these stories bring back the past, but more important than that, they fulfill our common human need to be heard, to be listened to, to connect. This inspired program, represented so movingly in this storybook, provides a safe environment for older adults to tell their stories, and the benefits are myriad. Knowing that their memories will live forever means so much to the older participants, and we’ve seen them flourish as a result; and for the young adult scribes, every session is an opportunity that teaches about giving and sharing and connecting, and how being of service is enriching on so many levels.

Long live the words of these Best Day stories, and may the voices represented know that someone out there is listening.

- Lisa Marsh Ryerson, AARP Foundation President

A personal word of encouragement from just the right person can make the earth quiver and make our seniors truly realize the power of their voices. This testimonial, which I just received, from AARP Foundation President Lisa Marsh Ryerson, has done just that. The timing was perfect–my weekly session with my senior buds was the next day. I couldn't wait to surprise them.

"She is what you'd call 'a big deal'," Norman says, nodding with pride. "This is kind of like…" Norman, a veteran, places his hand on his heart, "a giant badge of honor."

On behalf of senior storytellers and young volunteers in growing Best Day groups across the country, some of the original members of our original group made this little video to say thank you. Lisa, a word from you just means so much. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you also to the entire AARP Mentor Up Team, especially Aiyshen and Lina, for connecting us with Lisa.

Readers: if you caught the word, "Storybook," yup, you heard/read right! We will be launching our first ever storybook at the end of this month, on our 5th Anniversary… and that's not the only thing we will be announcing…. Want the scoop? Get it first on Facebook/ Twitter/ our Story Letter. I can't wait to surprise… you :)