The highly participatory sessions will be conducted by About.com contributors Sue Salko and Ron Gross, authors and activists in the field, and seniors themselves, who are members of the University Seminar on Innovation in Education at Columbia University. Salko and Gross wrote Telling the Stories of Your Life for About.com about the power in sharing your life stories.
"In these workshops," says Salko, "participants will share some of their most significant life experiences, choices, and lessons they've learned."
Gross adds: "Attendees will jump-start their personal memoirs. It'll be an adventure in self-discovery – and a lovely gift for family and friends."
The program is sponsored throughout the town of North Hempstead, Long Island, by the Great Neck Senior Center under a grant from the Manhasset Community Fund's Greentree Foundation Good Neighbor Fund.
Ann Tarcher, director of the center, says, "We are privileged to take the lead in offering this extraordinary program at 10 locations throughout the town of North Hempstead. We have demonstrated at the center that seniors benefit enormously from this kind of creativity and fellowship – and have unique life experiences and wisdom to share with the community."
The Salko and Gross duo are familiar to senior audiences. Salko regularly presents programs for the National Council of Jewish Women and other organizations, and has been a senior advocate for Senator Kemp Hannon. Gross is the author of The New Old, and 20 other books. Together, they have written influential articles on Creative Aging for About.com.
Life Review has proven successful over a 35-year period at enhancing the lives of older adults, as researched by gerontologist Professor James Birren of UCLA, co-author of Telling the Stories of Life through Guided Autobiography Groups. This work is currently championed at the Birren Institute for Autobiographical Studies by Cheryl M. Svensson and Anita C. Reyes, who offer online instruction in the process at guidedautobiography.org.
The Program in Nassau County has also been inspired, according to Salko and Gross, by the call by David Brooks of The New York Times for seniors to glean and share the lessons of their lives, as well as by Professor Karl Pillemer of Cornell University, who published 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans, and by the StoryCorps project in New York City.
Workshops will also be offered in other communities on Long Island, including Manhasset and Port Washington.
For further information, or to learn how to start a life review program in your own community, contact Ron Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.