Thursday, September 25, 2014

What Our Story Pop Up Campaign Means to Me

September 2009, in a borrowed room in the basement
Lifelong friends I made along the way, young and old
September 2014, Best Day of My Life So Far groups across the country
And a new storybook and plans for an event series
Exactly 5 years ago yesterday, Best Day started in a basement.

No, not a meeting room or classroom in a basement. Vicky, the director at Philadelphia Senior Center at the time, wanted to give me a chance to try out the idea of "a senior storytelling group with a blog" but told me that there was no room or budget. I told her, "No prob, I don't need a budget, I will bring in pen and paper, and I can just borrow a staff's office for just an hour a week–we can make the group's meeting time lunchtime to make this work." And so, Jay started leaving his office unlocked for me every Thursday 1pm when he stepped out for lunch, and every week between these Thursday sessions I would reflect right here on this blog about the stories I heard and my personal experience.

The office even housed a mechanical closet so you would hear loud mechanical noise throughout the sessions. It wasn't exactly in top condition–since then, the whole basement has been gutted and renovated. But you know what, the seniors and I didn't care about the conditions of the room. We were so happy. The borrowed basement office and this blog were our oasis.

I want to paint a picture of how we started because I want to show you the true measure of what our Story Pop Up Campaign means to me.

If you are a Best Day Facebook and Twitter fan, and a Story Letter subscriber (a) you are the best!!, and (b) you know that yesterday in celebration of our 5th anniversary, we launched our Story Pop Up Campaign. The goal of the campaign is to bring our seniors stories' out in the open, for more people to enjoy. Now that we have groups, venues and volunteers all across the country, we are launching this campaign to print and distribute 100 copies of our brand new storybook for use in 10 unique storytelling events.

Picture A, 5 years ago: just four seniors and me in that noisy basement office.

Picture B, a reality that will happen with your help: armed with storybooks, Best Day seniors all around the country stepping outside traditional settings and into the open, entering with dignity and purpose places where seniors’ voices aren’t typically heard. Passerbys, friends, family, people in the neighborhood like you and me, gathering around, just to listen.

The road that we have been traveling together via this blog, from A to B, is why this campaign means so much to me.

Make a donation and share our campaign page, so we can continue this amazing journey!