Save Our Stories ®

 

YOU ARE LIVING HISTORY

   Elderhostel Site Posts SOS
   Ideas for Lifelong Learners

By MARY ELLEN CORBETT and LEW LITTLE
© 2007 Save Our Stories News Service

SILVER CITY, N.M., Jan. 9--Welcome to the under-construction Web site of the fledgling Save Our Stories News Service. We cordially invite you to read how our 20-year “SOS” project has evolved. Details appear in our bylined story posted Jan. 5 in the monthly online newsletter published by the Elderhostel Institute Network (EIN) (www.elderhostel.org/ein/intro.asp)

We are grateful to the non-profit organization, Elderhostel, Inc., and to Nancy Merz Nordstrom, EIN Director, for enabling us to share our vision with the folks who are best positioned to help make it a reality: you and all other Living Historians. We eagerly accepted Merz Nordstrom’s kind offer to showcase our story, especially after we realized that EIN connects Lifelong Learning Institutes (called “LLIs”) at hundreds of institutions of higher learning throughout North America. Since its 1988 inception, Merz Nordstrom says, EIN has helped more than 200 new LLIs become established. She adds that 10 to 20 LLI start-ups are organized each year. She says the first known LLI was called the Institute for Retired Professionals, created in 1962 in New York City under sponsorship of the New School for Social Research.

Today, among the more than 360 lifelong learning programs affiliated with EIN are the prestigious Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLI) funded by the Bernard Osher Foundation. OLLI programs exist at 93 universities scattered from Hawaii to Maine and from San Diego to Miami. OLLI’s National Resource Center is at the University of Southern Maine (www.usm.maine.edu/olli/national), where E. Michael Brady, OLLI Professor of Adult Education and Senior Research Fellow, serves as editor of The LLI Review (www.usm.maine.edu/olli/national/pdf/LLI-Review.pdf). We thank Brady for his encouraging words about SOS, and we also thank Merz Nordstrom for the following introduction to our piece in EIN’s January Newsletter:


For 20 of their 32 years of marriage and life partnership, journalists Lew Little, 73, and Mary Ellen Corbett, 65, have been fine-tuning a writing project they now call Save Our Stories (SOS). They want to see as much national emphasis placed on the gathering and preservation of life stories as there is on rehabilitation of historic structures. They believe the time is right for the 2007 introduction of their Save Our Stories News Service, an ink-on-paper and online supplemental service that can be successful only with the blessing and participation of America’s elders -- the folks the couple identifies as ‘our nation’s endangered historians.’ The secret to success, Corbett and Little say, lies in the amazing synergy that grows out of interaction linking seniors with students and teachers. Their news service hopes to initially recruit scores of volunteer stringers (part-time correspondents) from all 50 states and, eventually, from throughout the world.

The couple’s concept is a product of their extensive backgrounds. Little was instrumental in the 1972 introduction of The Christian Science Monitor News Service (CSMNS), and he was CSMNS national sales manager from 2002-04. He began his career in 1952 as a sportswriter and then as a California newspaper editor who entered the syndication field 10 years later. His best-known ‘discovery’ for major syndicates is the world’s most widely-distributed comic strip, Cartoonist Jim Davis’s Garfield, launched in 1978. Corbett had her first piece published at the ripe old age of 9. She has experience in weekly and daily newspapers, magazines, and teaching college level journalism. She and her husband published an award-winning Arizona weekly for five years in the 1990s. They began their SOS project in 1986.

Be sure to read their introductory story about SOS on the EIN web site under the MANAGING YOUR LLI section, and check out their new, under-construction website, (www.saveourstories.com). This project would make an excellent course for all types of LLI writing courses, especially those that deal with life stories, memoirs, etc., so be sure to visit their web site soon to learn how your program can participate.”


To access our story on the Elderhostel site, click on: (www.elderhostel.org/ein/010107_newsletter.asp) At the top of the newsletter page is a hyperlink, “Introducing SOS – Save Our Stories,” which tracks to the headline, “Journalists Envision a Global Network of Volunteer Stringers.” We hope you will ask us about becoming a voluntary SOS stringer. Please note in our story that May 1 is the deadline for entries in our Aug. 1 back-to-school premier editions of the Save Our Stories sections. Please snail-mail entries, including a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you want the material returned, to: Save Our Stories, Box 2854, Silver City, NM 88062. Email contact for queries only (no stories by email at this time, please): lew@saveourstories.com Check our website for future installments of our column, “You Are Living History,” and for a questionnaire that will be based, in part, on your feedback about our project.

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