Last week, Adobe Books hosted My Life, My Stories for a moving event that organizer Brittany Bare recaps in this post. Their mission of fostering a more connected and empathetic San Francisco through oral history and storytelling is one we absolutely dig.
Hi readers! My name is Brittany Bare and I’m the Founder & Executive Director of a non-profit organization based in San Francisco called My Life, My Stories. Our mission is to preserve and share the life legacies of vulnerable seniors in our community.
Adobe Books was so gracious in lending us their space on Sunday, November 11 to host our very first senior storytelling event! We asked five unique and diverse seniors to share a story about what San Francisco means to them.
The idea to start My Life, My Stories came to me after reading autobiographies written by my great grandparents. I truthfully didn’t know much about my family’s history but I was so fascinated by the stories they had written. In his own words, I read about how my great grandfather fought in WWII and started the first Women’s Army Corps and I read about how my great grandmother managed to move around the country, raise her children, and keep the family afloat while her husband was fighting in the war.
If these stories weren’t written down, I would have never really known who my great grandparents were and their amazing accomplishments. So that got me thinking, “How can I help other people and families preserve their history?” and that’s how My Life, My Stories was born.
We pair one volunteer with one senior and they simply get to know each other. Over time, conversations are recorded and they get transcribed and edited. After about 2-3 months, enough stories are collected to create what we call a mini memoir and three copies are given to the author for free.
Over the past year and a half, we’ve heard incredible stories that just need to be shared! Our goal through events like the one on November 11 is to build a more connected and empathetic San Francisco. We want to create a safe space where people of all ages can learn from one another.
On Sunday, we heard stories about love, loss, and triumph:
Karen told us about how she became a prayer counselor in a gay ministry during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Even during a terrible time in SF history filled with death and grief, Karen said she never felt more loved and accepted
Leslie, a retired world-famous opera singer, shared her beautiful story about how she met her husband, Alex. He was sitting behind her in a theater and passed down a handwritten note asking her out. The rest is history.
Michael, a veteran who traveled to San Francisco in search of new opportunities after leaving the service, found himself homeless and addicted to crack soon after moving to the West Coast. He opened up about his difficult journey to sobriety. Now with two college degrees, Michael helps other vulnerable adults overcome adversity.
If you want to get involved or learn more about My Life, My Stories, visit mylifemystories.org.
// brittany b.