Local community leaders with a unique connection to the power of storytelling were on hand at Atria Bay Spring Village on Jan. 11 to share personal stories of the people, events and challenges that shaped their lives.
The stories of the community leaders and residents were celebrated at Better Together, a story-sharing event that is part of Atria Senior Living’s ongoing effort to create a wiser, more connected world.
Author Mai Donohue recounted "The Long Road" from her beginnings in Vietnam to her life in Barrington. Barrington Town Manager Jim Cunha spoke fondly of lessons he learned from his grandfather and the importance of his stories and the appreciation of history. Barrington Community Services Librarian Jessica D'Avanza shared her grandmother's story of "Miss Kay and the Snowstorm." Police Chief John LaCross described the constant support and encouragement and sense of hope that his father has instilled in him throughout his life, especially in times of adversity. Barrington Library Director Kris Chin talked about the ways that she is exactly like her parents. Josh Bickford, editor of the Barrington Times, told stories of growing up in Barrington and an adventure that he and his father shared while woodcutting. Resident Betty L. shared her experiences in human resources and as a volunteer for the Braille Press and the John F. Kennedy Library. And finally, resident Walter T. described a "Small World" experience during his sabbatical year from Brown University in Borneo when the McVay family of Barrington happen to sail into the harbor he was also visiting.
Better Together was the first in a series of events Atria Bay Spring Village will host to celebrate the importance of storytelling, as a means of human connection. Atria Bay Spring Village is one of nearly 200 senior living communities across the U.S. and Canada operated by Atria Senior Living, each of which will host similar events throughout the year.
The event series is inspired by Atria StoryWise, Atria’s latest intentionally crafted gift for its residents and their families. Atria StoryWise is a collection of thoughtfully curated topics and cues designed to spark memories, tap into personal experiences and help people everywhere connect more deeply through the power of storytelling. It was given as a boxed set of cards to Atria residents and families, and is available to everyone as a free iPhone app.
The local story-telling event doubled as a fund-raiser to benefit libraries. Until Jan. 31, Atria will donate $1 for every story shared through the wisdom library in the Atria StoryWise app to the American Library Association.
“Storytelling is a simple and meaningful way to connect and pass wisdom from one generation to the next,” said Margaret Shand, Engage Life Director at Atria Bay Spring Village. “Our residents, their families, and our staff loved the opportunity to hear and share stories with leaders in our community while contributing to the American Library Association. I’m looking forward to our future programs around Atria StoryWise.”