StoryCorps has dubbed it the Great Thanksgiving Listen, an effort to turn family gatherings over the holiday into an opportunity for kids to ask their elders about the lives they’ve lived. “Together we will collect the wisdom of a generation and archive it for the future, while at the same time reminding our grandparents how much their lives and stories matter,” StoryCorps founder Dave Isay said in a statement.
There’s a teacher’s guide to help teachers incorporate the project into their classrooms, and school districts in at least five cities have signed on to participate: Atlanta, Chicago, D.C., Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
The guide offers a list of “great questions” that show how the Great Thanksgiving Listen is hoping to help families get past small talk and share things that they might otherwise never talk about: Tell me about the love of your life, one question says. Tell me about when you found out you were going to be a parent. If you could go back and relive your teenage years, would you? Why?
The project is open to everyone, not just young people, and the aim is to gather more interviews over the holiday weekend than the 65,000 interviews that StoryCorps has collected in its entire 12 years of existence.
Isay and his team built the app with the help of the $1 million TED Prize. In March 2015, Isay gave a TED talk outlining his vision for putting StoryCorps into the hands of young people nationwide. “At this moment, when so much of how we communicate is fleeting and inconsequential, join us in creating this digital archive of conversations that are enduring,” he said at the time. “Help us create this gift to our children. This testament to who we are as human beings.”
For more information, visit StoryCorp’s new Web site, storycorps.me.