Story Corps Legacy
Is your organization a Partner Organization in the StoryCorps Legacy project (http://storycorps.org/legacy/)? “StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to broadcasts on NPR’s [National Public Radio’s] Morning Edition and at www.storycorps.org” (StoryCorps, 2011, p. 1). Many mornings on my drive into work, I hear snippets from StoryCorps recordings that move me in unexpected ways; and I never thought that I would have a story that was worthy of being recorded for StoryCorps.
However, that perception recently changed. My husband, Lev, who is also a hospice and palliative care nurse, works at Hospice Austin in Austin, TX. Their organization is a Partner Organization with StoryCorps and they were recruiting staff, volunteers, and patients/families for stories to record for the StoryCorps Legacy project.
StoryCorps Legacy encourages and supports the act of reminiscence for people with serious illness and their families. The program offers participants a way to celebrate the lives of loved ones with generations to come. StoryCorps partners with a variety of organizations including hospice care, palliative care, and disease-specific organizations. Legacy staff trains and prepares Partner Organizations to incorporate the interview experience into their existing services and to conduct and record interviews using equipment provided by StoryCorps. (StoryCorps, 2011, p. 1)
Lev completed the StoryCorps Legacy application to record both of us with our end of life care stories and his application was approved to move forward. The trained StoryCorps Facilitator came to our home one evening with her recording equipment. She explained her role and the recording process and completed some initial, basic, personal information paperwork. I was surprised to learn that the StoryCorps Facilitator would not be the interviewer; Lev would be interviewing me. We had not prepared any material for the recording in advance. However, the timed 40-minute interview flew by and the unprepared, stream-of-conscious dialog between Lev and me was recorded for future generations. Following the recording, the Facilitator took our photos and completed the release form that allows StoryCorps to keep one copy of the interview and archive another at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. I, as the person being interviewed, will receive a copy of the recording and the Partner Organization, Hospice Austin, may also receive a copy for their library.
Thinking back on the experience, my StoryCorps Legacy recording went in many directions; some paths described my life, growing up, love, spirituality, hospice work, caregiving for a partner who died from complications of AIDS in the 1990s, the final days of parents and honoring their advance directives, remembrances of working with hospice patients and families, and the importance of leaving a legacy. That brief overview of topics is all the content of the 40-minute interview that I will share with you in this blog; if you are interested in hearing more, you should be able to soon search for it at www.storycorps.org, or perhaps it might be one of the few StoryCorps remembrances excerpted for future broadcast on NPR’s Morning Edition.
If your organization is not familiar with StoryCorps, and you might be considering becoming a Partner Organization, I encourage you to investigate this wonderful tool for documenting the legacy of your staff, volunteers, and patients/families. It appears that there are not many Partner Organizations currently participating in the Legacy project; in my newly adopted home state of Texas, there are only two Partner Organizations listed on the StoryCorps website: Hospice Austin (Austin) and International AIDS Empowerment (El Paso). If you have personally participated in StoryCorps, I would love to have you share your experiences in this blog!