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The Legacies Project- Part 2

Published November 11, 2009 3:36 PM by Jason Marketti
Based in Ann Arbor, MI, The Legacies Project archives self selected memories from the elderly population and categorizes it into videotaped histories. 

It began as Jimmy Rhoades recounts a personal experience. 

"My dad was diagnosed with cancer and we were told he had six months to a year to live.  I was in my 20s and still hadn't formed a real adult relationship with my dad, so it was now or never.  I actually started talking to him about his life, and his stories were incredible. He grew up in the Great Depression, served an apprenticeship, served in WWII and started up his own business. In some ways I got to know my dad more in the last six months of his life than I had during the preceding 26 years. After my dad told me about his life, it dawned on me that everyday thousands of people die and their stories die with them. If I hadn't sat and talked with my dad while I had the chance, his stories would have been lost to me too."

When asked about funding for The Legacies Project, Jimmy stated, "We have largely financed the project out of our own pockets. As we amass more stories, we'll get more first person narratives that overlap by topic or theme, and it's important for historians to multi-resource events. And the only way we'll grow is by growing our funding.  So expanding the project's support is our critical challenge right now."

Jay Nelson further explained, "We've received funding for five new Legacies implementations in schools in Southeastern Michigan with more to come. The good thing for us is that The Legacies Project hits many different areas of interest, so there are multiple points of entry for funders - education, American folklore, history, eldercare, archiving...just to name a few." 

He went on to say, "We have our official nonprofit status from the IRS so we no longer have to have other nonprofits as fiduciaries for contributions. The good news is that we're growing and we have every reason to believe that we'll continue to do so."

Both Jay and Jimmy believe that the hidden goal in all this is to improve America's attitude toward aging and elders by building intergenerational connections. 

They can be contacted through http://www.legaciesproject.org/

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    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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