Professional reports of on-the-ground impact:
- United Methodist Communities’ Success Story, Pitman, NJ
- Center in the Park’s Success Story, Philadelphia, PA
- The Renaissance Collaborative’s Success Story, Chicago, IL
- Sherwood Park Nursing and Rehab Center’s Success Story, Salem, OR
Examples of transformation
A grandmother has a reason to get out of bed after years of being homebound.
This was the first story that Linda C. wrote, the first time she attended a session: “Today, being here in this group, I am realizing for the first time that: I AM a senior now. I have two kids – a son and a daughter – and 9 grandchildren. They are concerned that I am always hanging around at home. Today I decided to get out of my bed and come here. I heard this was a jumping place. Everyone in this group has made me feel so welcome. I am just starting to adjust to the fact that I am a senior citizen.” The title of the story was: “I am a Senior Citizen.”
A grandfather begins taking his medicine again and getting his life back on track.
The entire family was so concerned about Robert L.’s wellbeing that his daughter Dorothy helped him move from California to Philadelphia where she lives. He had become despondent and reclusive – he even stopped taking his medicine, putting his life in jeopardy. A few months after the move, she noticed that he had started taking his medicine again and regained a visible drive and purpose for life. He told her it was because of all the new friends he was making in his storytelling group. “I don’t always know how my dad keeps busy on most days, but I never have to worry about where he is on Thursdays,” Dorothy shared. “ I love being able to log onto the blog and see his smiling face… These stories are ones I will surely not take for granted.” Robert shared, “I’m very, very happy to come to this writing and reading group. I have met a lot of wonderful people. I love them all.”
Long lost mother and daughter reconnect through Facebook and Youtube.
“I’m glad you read my stories,” 69-year-old Loretta G. tells her long lost daughter on a Youtube video. Drifting in and out of homeless shelters when she first joined our group, Loretta couldn’t remember how many decades it had been since she saw her family. Everything changed when the Best Day team received an unexpected Facebook message. A woman named Michelle was looking for her mother, and believed she had found her—through the stories we share on the group’s blog. Just two weeks later, Loretta saw Michelle and the rest of her family, and they helped her settle into a new apartment. She described it as nothing less than a miracle.
A mother discovers that her son has been reading her stories for years, after his passing.
At her son’s memorial, senior Hattie L. was surprised to learn from his secretary that he had been an avid follower of her stories online. She had told him that the storytelling group is a big part of her life, but never knew he took the time to read all her stories – he was a very busy man with a demanding career. She never knew that every time a new story was posted on the group’s blog, Keith would tell his secretary, “See what my mother wrote!” In her grief, this simple sentence gave Hattie the strength to carry on.
A young woman finds lessons on humanity that are not taught at school.
At age 15, Madi G. began visiting our seniors at the original Best Day group in Philadelphia, and has returned every school break since, even as a college student. She credits Loretta, a senior who struggles with homelessness, for teaching her lessons about the human spirit. “Hearing about Loretta’s misfortune with the Philadelphia Housing Authority and how she coped and kept positive without having a place to live was truly inspirational and heart wrenching at the same time. This particular experience, and all of my time spent with the seniors, has gotten me thinking about things differently. It has taught me a real lesson on humanity and how the human spirit can heal even some of the worst situations.” Madi went on to become a facilitator at the next Philadelphia group and an associate editor for the first Best Day storybook. Madi’s experience, and the smart and kind woman she has become, has inspired both of her parents to join the team as volunteers as well.